Mitchel’s Fold: the first visit.

It’s a warm summers day, and you have nothing to do than what pleases you – so you climb into your car, with a good map, coat (incase the weather turns) and walking stick and follow your instincts which say go where the heart wants.

You hit the road and travel south, where the flat Shropshire plane meets the soft rolling hills of the south of the county; you travel SW towards the Powys border, towards Cordon Hill and notice the strange shape of the hills close to it – you’re drawn by an equally strange desire to walk them, as if some ancient relic of a time long gone by beckons to you. You stop in a lay-by, to stretch your legs – the wind whispers to you, calling you to follow that desire…

The land is full of mystery and myth, as you would expect from an area that borders the modern day countries of England and Wales; this part of the Welsh Marches, has long been linked with legends, the truth of which have disappeared in the dark mists of time…

The range of hills that called you, you find from the OS map you carry, are known as Stapeley Hill, and there at the south-west end lies a stone circle known as Mitchel’s Fold; intrigued you find your way there, along the narrow twisting lanes that rise up to a rough car park, separated from the heath land by a cattle grid – once there, you realise you are travelling back in time some what, and as your foot falls upon the heath land, your eyes take in the surrounding area; to your left, the Longmountain which over looks Welshpool on the otherside; the valley between, where the village of Marton. nestles, now unseen – to your right, the Stipperstones, home to the Fae Queen, the Lady Goda and her human husband Wild Edric; before you the stones of Mitchel’s Fold…

As you walk along the track, nodding in greeting to the other people there, you wonder how old these ruts are – the long forgotten wheels that formed them, were surely driven not by horse power, but horses… you make a mental note to research it once home, and continue up the slight rise until you see the stone circle before you.

A gentle breeze lifts your hair eerily…

You observe: the circle is, of course incomplete and seems quite small, but one stone stands taller than the others, and it to this you walk. Expecting it to be taller than six foot or so, you are amazed that, as you walk towards it, it seems to shrink… you reach out, you hand touching cold hard rough stone, and a tingling rises in your stomach. You recoil, as if stung and check to see, if indeed some unseen insect has been squashed betwix your hand and the stone… but no, nothing.

You wipe your hand down your jeans and look around to see if anyone has been watching you; for a moment you fancy you see a young woman dressed in long dark skirts, a shawl wraped around her head, loose strands of dark hair blowing wildly in the wind that’s suddenly sprung up; spooked by this vision, you quickly realise you are alone – there is no-one else about; just you, the stones, the land, and the wind… you turn and gaze towards the East and realise the Stipperstones, with the Devils Chair and the Nip Stones are clearly visible. To the West of you runs the Longmountain and you know there are many myths and legends attached to this ancient sacred landscape and that your heart is beating faster with each moment… a tinge of fear rises in your belly; did you really see that woman?

Her image is strong in your minds eye – too strong, and is that someone wistling their dog you can hear? Or is it singing – you keen your hearing, but the wind takes the sound away and then brings it back again… you listen, transfixed at the beauty of the sound; is it the wind in the stones? If you could only hear it more clearly… you wait and listen harder…

Suddenly you come to – as if you’ve been asleep – with a jolt… for a second or two you wonder where you are – but then it was only a moment ago you walked to the circle in which you now stand!

Confused, you shake your head to clear it.

It takes a huge effort to move – your legs are stiff as if you’ve been standing there for an age – you’re cold, un-naturally so and the car now seems along way off.

Is that the sun setting?

Your short walk back to the car is hampered by an unnatural force pulling you in the other direction. You carry on, wondering if your imagination has got the better of you but by the time you get there, your head hurts from the effort and your temples hum with the cold of the wind; even though this is a balm summer, you shiver as if it were winter and pull on your coat, start the engine, put the heater on full and relax with a sigh. You head for home, wondering were the day has gone…

Sun set from Mitchel's Fold.

 

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3 thoughts on “Mitchel’s Fold: the first visit.

  1. I live just up the road from Long Meg stone circle in Cumbria. It’s one of the less-visited ones, and all the better for that. The best way to visit them is alone!

  2. Oh it is best to be alone. I used to have a wonderful fellow to visit Sacred Sites with; we’d walk for miles to find them and thankfully he was very good with a map!

    Not been to Long Meg yet… it’s on the list tho! 🙂

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