Druids & Clearings

druidWood Bridge Park has long been known for its mythical roots, talk to any of the local historians in the area and they’ll agree. The beauty of this place is one of the factors that would have been taken into consideration by these ancient holy men, but were there other details about the Park that would have drawn them there?

The Trees

Beech-pleached-2The beech trees that grow in the forest have great historical significance when we consider the purposes the druids would have been using them for.  Beech is a tree that burns very well – as you probably know, Druids were in need of fire. Just like other ancient races, they relied on burning wood as a source of heat. Most importantly, many of their sacred rituals required fire as their source of power.

Fagus sylvatica was also used for medicinal purposes. It was believed that creating a poultice from its leaves could reduce swellings – treating anything from a sore tooth to a broken leg. Of course, these Celtic methods were soon disproved with medicinal research. Still, the great beech trees of Wood Bridge could have been a significant pull when the Druids of Wales were considering a place to call home.

The River
afon reurhThe Afon Rhiwddolion is quite a small offshoot from it’s bigger brother the Affon Lluggwy. However, common sense tells us that the Druids would have preferred a river that was easier to cross, rather than a larger, more dangerous one. Once more, water would have been a vital resource for these spiritual men – providing a place to wash and drink. However, there were also deeper reasons as to why they might have been drawn to this stream.

The Afon Rhiwddolion runs righ through the Park, creating a natural dividing line between the lines of forests. The Druids would have been fascinated with this divide. In ancient times, rivers were greatly revered for their symbolism. The endless flowing of the water was seen as a symbol for time itself, never ceasing and always moving.

The Clearings

forest walesOne of the Park’s most revered natural attractions, the clearings in Wood Bridge are places of real magic. Whilst the centre of the forests can often feel a little claustrophobic, with their oppressive silences and dark green majesty, the clearings feel completely different. The chopping of trees is now illegal within Wood Bridge Park, but the ancient Druids would not have lived by these rules.

Clearing sections of woodland gave them resources to burn, but also cleared a space of sky for them to gaze at the stars at night. The Druids would have been the earliest astrologers, their records indicate that they understood much about the movement of the stars and even used them to navigate with. They used the changing positions of the constellations to predict omens and would often make important community-wide decisions based on these predictions.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of the Druids and the role they had to play in Wood Bridge, then you can contact us here for a guided tour of the Park. Local astrologers also organise weekly stargazing nights, if you’d like to take a crack at predicting your future!