Folklore and Fairytales: A Snapshot of Ye Olde England
By Guest Blogger George Driscoll from Atlas Footprints!
When people think of England, it’s often of the times long ago. Ye Olde England when knights roamed the realm and bandits and thieves stole from the rich to give to the poor. This snapshot of England whilst often buried in total fiction, is often the aspect that interests people most. If you ever find yourself in this tiny part of Europe, the following are some folklore hotspots that you can take a look at and enjoy some history-rich photographic experiences.
1. Sherwood Forest
We’re living in Nottingham ourselves, and Robin Hood, the man in tights, is everywhere. Sherwood Forest is actually a good 45-60 minute drive from Nottingham but when you get there you can see the famous 1000 year old ‘Major Oak’ and a whole host of storytelling at the heart of where it all began.
This place looks good all year round. In the Winter the snow covers the treetops and the forest takes on a Narnia-esque appeal, whilst the rest of the year it becomes a tourist hotspot, complete with many dog walkers and families.
The best part about this forest is its opportunity for bird photography. The British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) now looks after the land, and it’s constantly being invested so you can get a great wildlife experience as well as some Robin Hood folklore.
2. Tintagel Castle
As Camelot was sadly a totally fictional place, the historical links to King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table can be found scattered over the English isle. One of these places is on the south coast and comes in the form of Tintagel Castle.
Named as the place of King Arthur’s birth, this castle sits amongst Cornish rocks, beach and cliffs providing panoramic views alongside a rich piece of English folklore. Of course, they’ve made the most of this link to Arthur and you can learn a lot there as well as get the opportunity to take in the views of the English coast.
No matter where you’re from, most people have heard of and probably seen photos of Stonehenge. There are many theories about how it came to be, with an early folklore adaptation stating how Merlin the Wizard himself created the monument.
In terms of the practicality about visiting Stonehenge, there is a rope barrier that blocks everyone from going in too close. This is to preserve the stones but also limits the photographic opportunity you get when visiting. There are tours after hours but these obviously come at a premium. If you wanted some close ups of the marks on the stones and the formation itself, this may be an option for you!
The mystical Arthurian island, Avalon, is exactly that, a fictional place that does not exist. However, historians tend to collectively agree that Avalon may actually be based on a city in England by the name of Glastonbury. Shrouded in mysticism and magic, this is the birthplace of Excalibur too! The Abbey in Glastonbury is even home to the burial place of Arthur and Guinevere, although this is now just a sign in the ground due to the destruction of the Abbey many years ago.
The crumbling Abbey provides a stunning landscape to get some photo opportunities of the ancient structures eroded by the effects of humans and time.
Winter and Summer solstice now draw large crowds in Glastonbury as people come together to celebrate and meditate to draw the energies from the earth, Glastonbury is still very much a place in England connected to its mystical roots.
The British Isles hold many myths and legends. These are just four places you can truly feel the folklore magic when you visit. If you’re ever traveling to England, consider these places if you want to truly get involved with history and legend that runs through the blood of this country.
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