As part of my stay at Hidden Valley Yurts with a few other lovely bloggers for its 10 year anniversary, we were lucky enough to have been invited to take part in various activities around Wye Valley which were hosted by a few local businesses. One of which was a storytelling session with Strolls ‘n’ Stories. I’ll be honest I didn’t really know what to expect I thought it was going to be a case that we were taken to various locations and just told the history of it just like you would on a sightseeing tour, but what I got was something much more fun and enjoyable.
Arriving To Meet Jan from Strolls ‘n’ Stories
As myself and 6 other bloggers pulled up into a car park in Trellech, Monmouthshire we were greeted by Jan the owner of Strolls ‘n’ Stories who immediately gave us a very warm welcome, she then went onto explain to us a little bit about the concept of Strolls ‘n’ Stories and that she started the business, because she loved history and that she enjoyed the theatrical side of things, now this immediately made me curious because being from an entertainments and performance background anything theatrical immediately sparks my interest, but Jan didn’t give too much away about what we were about to experience.
Strolls ‘n’ Stories Stop One: The Tump
Our first stop was literally less than a minutes walk from the car park and as we approached the big green 40ft mound which had a medieval/Game of Thrones Weirwood looking tree on it. Jan explained to us that this mound dates back to Norman times and once had a castle on top known as the Castle of Trellech or Tump Trellech Castle.
Once we all got comfortable and seated on the mats provided, Jan began telling us the story of the Black Death plague, which had hit Trellech in the 1300s. But Jan brought the story to life as she told us the story of Old Nell. A monologue as told through the eyes of Old Nell a healer and elder in the village and how she survived the plague to meet a strange twist of fate. At this point, Jan had got us all hooked and we couldn’t wait to go to the next location and hear the next story to be told.
Strolls ‘n’ Stories Stop Two: The Standing Stones
Our next stop was also a short walk and this time it was to the mysterious standing stones which are sometimes known as Harold’s Stones. Like many stones sights across Britain such as Stone Henge, these stones are a mystery but there are many myths and legends surrounded around them.
This time Jan told us about the Local legends that surrounded the stones, the first was of how the stones were supposedly erected to commemorate a battle won by King Harold the last of the Saxon Kings, but that the issue with that is that the stones dated back long before the time of King Harold which lead to the next legend; The Legend of the Giant Jack O’Kent who had a stone-throwing competition with the Devil and flung the three stones from Skirrid mountain and where they stand is where they landed.
Jan also talked about some of the magical thoughts surrounded round the stones such they may have been used by the Druids as a conduit and how many people can feel a magnetic force through them or that each stone has a meaning and one of them is a fertility stone and if you touch it, it’s thought that you might get pregnant.
Strolls ‘n’ Stories Stop Three: The Carved Sundial
Our third stop was to visit was a wooden handcrafted Sundial which as you can see from the picture above the carvings depict the three famed monuments of the town such as the castle on top of Tump Trellech, The standing stones and the Virtuous well.
Strolls ‘n’ Stories Stop Four: The Virtuous Well
Our final stop was my favourite stop on the walk, which was to the Virtuous well also known as the Holly Well or St Anne’s Well and although it has all dried up now, people even today come and make offerings to the well, which you can see from the ribbons on the trees behind the well, as well as within the well.
Jan had two stories to tell for this final stop the first was more of a local legend about the fairies who were thought to have danced around the well and that the farmer who owned the land destroyed the fairy garden and as a punishment was cursed and had to make it up the fairies and compromise with them.
But the most inspiring story and I would say and I think that everyone who was on the tour would agree with me, was about Bertram Russell’s mother Katharine Russell, Viscountess Amberley, who was also a Suffragette and did so many inspiring acts in which she didn’t get enough credit for. As s she did with Old Nell’s story channelled her inner Katharine Russell and told us the story as a monologue through the eyes of Katharine Russell and the way Jan performed the story was captivating, I think that everyone teared up a little I know that I got a lump in my throat and felt so inspired.
Final Thoughts About Strolls ‘n’ Stories
This was my first time going on a tour like the one Strolls ‘n’ Stories provided and I have to say even weeks after I went on this tour, it is still a memorable tour. Jan the owner of Strolls ‘n’ Stories researches the history of these walks and creates the stories as if she was really there and channels each character that she plays perfectly, so much so that she truly captures the imagination of her audience. Jan takes the time to get to know everyone on her tour and learn everyone’s names and is a very welcoming person, she is the type of person you want around the campfire at night telling campfire stories before bed.
We as a generation spend so much time glued to the tv screen and to our phones looking on social media we forget to look and see the stories around us and if it wasn’t for people like Jan we would forget the history of Great Britain that helped forge us. Whether you’re a school, corporate group, in a group of friends or family or even if you’re on your own, I recommend taking a walk with Jan on a Strolls ‘n’ Stories tour, because not only will you take a step back in time but you’ll also walk away having learned something new.
I did this tour whilst staying at Hidden Valley Yurts and you can read my review by clicking here.
[…] Strolls ‘n’ Stories: Trellech Brought to Life Review […]
This little fam trip seemed so fun! So much nature and enjoyable even more around creative people! Would love to be able to walk on the field as well! So greeeeeen and peaceful feeling it seems to be there!
Fantastic! I love the wooden handcrafted Sundial. Great photos too!
This sounds like such a fun experience! I was actually born and brought up (and still live!) in the South Wales valleys but haven’t ever been to Wye Valley! I have no excuses either, but your photos have reminded me I really need to get my act together there!
I wonder Does the fertility stone just magically get you pregnant like some sort of immaculate conception?! Or do you need to be at least half way there first..?
Wow, it’s fantastic that you had a honor to be invited at something like that. The best is to read that you didn’t have any expectations – then it’s the best. I’m glad that you had an wonderful time and the pictures are great! 🙂
Very nice! Those artifacts really tell a place’s story, history, and culture. Seeing those rock outcroppings and ruins makes me think that this is where fairy tale writers get their inspiration. 🙂
I love how bright and green everything is! I love history and performing, so I might be up for a trip to check out Strolls n Stories for myself! I love that carved wooden sundial! Do you know how old it is?
That is an interesting tour. Lucky that you were invited by Jan. I loved the idea of the tour of Strolls and Stories. The pictures are great too. I always prefer guided tours where there is history along with the sites you explore.
My husband would definitely enjoy learning about the history from this tour. He is already excited hearing it from me. This seems like a great tour and the people leading you seem to be very knowledgeable. I like when you are able to place yourself in the time they are describing. It looks like you had a great day for the tour as well.
What a beautiful tour, and I would love to see all these mysterious stone formations in person! I would definitely go on a tour instead of try to see these for myself because you got to hear so many of the myths and stories from your guide. I love that your guide told you the story about Katharine Russell, since she tends to be more forgotten. Amazing experience – thanks for sharing!
Wow! What a lovely experience! Great you were invited on such a beautiful tour. I like all these historical places and the fascinating stories associated with them. The views of the place are simply breathtaking. Sundial looks incredible – a great insight into the life of a bygone era. Thanks for sharing this lovely piece of history.
I kinda curious, how long this engravings live. I mean, they are outside, exposed to weather. Would be bad to lose something that beautiful.
I am not normally a fan of tours but Strolls ‘n’ Stories sounds interesting. I think it is nice that you learn the history of the area.
Wales is such a beautiful place. We have been just waiting for our UK visa to come through. We have heard so much about the beauty of the place. Would love to do this tour as we love history and stories.
I love stopping at quirky attractions like this. You’re such a great storyteller that I was entranced the entire time. Definitely, love the story and photos you added. Anything that has to do with elves, fairies and imps is a definite must see!