We were blessed with an unseasonably warm and sunny day for our day out and I for one wished I’d not put on so many warm clothes! After meeting in the car park at Alderley Edge our Events Co-Ordinator Nano Skald led us off into the beautiful woodland, which looked lovely dressed in the early colours of spring. Leaves were beginning to unfurl in the sunshine and fresh young shoots were starting to emerge from the dark, rich earth. We paused by the old mine workings and learnt a little about the work that went on here in centuries past. Our next stop was at the Armada Beacon where a memorial stone commemorates the site of a beacon here which warned of the Spanish invasion in 1588. We also learned that this was probably also an ancient burial mound and in fact there were thought to be many such mounds in the area. We then continued on to Stormy Point where there was a fabulous view across the surrounding countryside of the Cheshire Plane. We paused here a while as Sally Nemesis told us the Tale of the Sleeping Knights, a magical story which relates some of the mythology associated with Alderley Edge. We continued through the woods, several times stopping to admire the wonderful trees on our path many of which we felt were deserving of a hug! Arriving at the Druids Circle Nano told us of the history of this stone circle and how it had been used by a local coven up until the early 70s but that adverse and unwanted publicity about their activities had caused them to move elsewhere to celebrate their outdoor rites. Debs then led us in a short ritual at the stones to celebrate the Equinox and the return of Spring, which culminated in us all getting a chocolate egg! As we continued on our way we soon realised how easy it is to get lost at Alderley Edge, this is a frequently reported problem hereabouts which some think is due to the earth energy lines that criss cross below our feet. However, with a bit of help from GPS we were soon back on track again and making our way to a series of natural springs – the Healing Well, the Wishing Well and the Wizard’s Well. Many of us made a wish or took the waters at the springs and they are certainly places of great power. I’m sure we all felt the nature spirits were gathered all around us.
Returning through the woods we stopped for a picnic in the sunshine before the second part of our trip – a visit to the Marton Oak. Situated in a private garden in the pretty little village of Marton we were all lost for words when we gained our first sight of this majestic tree. The mighty Marton Oak is 1,200 years old and whilst the trunk has been split by rot in the bole of the tree as it travelled downwards it still has one root system even though it now looks as if there are three separate parts to the trunk. We spent some time exploring the tree and heard from Nano about some of its history, learning that in times past the tree’s acorns, leaves and bark were used in healing remedies and that this may be why it had escaped being felled long ago. We all took the opportunity to collect fallen leaves, the remains of acorns and small bits of bark that we found on the ground around the tree – just in case we might need some of those healing properties ourselves!
As our Ostara day out drew to a close we all bade a fond farewell to the Marton Oak and to each other as we departed homewards after another wonderful Leodis Pagan Circle trip. Thank you to Debs, Nano and Sally for their hard work organising all the different aspects of the day in order to make it so enjoyable, informative and magical.
By Anna Rayner
See the photos from this trip: Ostara Trip to Alderley Edge and The Marton Oak.