Mysterious Mitchells Fold
Mitchells Fold is an early Bronze Age stone circle that lies along the border with Wales near the Long Mynd and within sight of the Stiperstones. Having been bisected with a public footpath it may not appear particularly dramatic or atmospheric at first, but visit on a quiet day with nobody else around and the full energy of its location will hit you. The backdrops of the Welsh hills and valleys on one side and the cairn-topped Shropshire hills on the other are simply breath-taking
Folklore often gives us charming explanations as to the origins of such places and Mitchells Fold is no exception. It was said that two witches lived on opposite hills in the area, one good and one evil. During a hard hitting drought and resulting famine the "good" witch manifested a huge white cow which the locals could milk perpetually, with the only condition being that each person could only take one bucketful each day.
The "evil" witch decided to put a spanner in the works and set to milking the cow one night with a bucket fashioned from a sieve. Confused as to why this milking was going on all night, the cow turned its head and in the moonlight she saw the vast pool of milk that had poured through the doctored bucket. The cow kicked the bad witch across the field and ran off in a panic, never to be seen again. Some say she became the famous Dun Cow of Warwickshire but there is also a recumbent megalith near Mitchells Fold called “The Cow Stone” which in some versions of the tale is what became of her.
The good witch then seized the moment to turn her evil counterpart to stone and the locals built a circle of smaller stones around it to lock the enchantment forever. This gave us Mitchells Fold as it is today - it makes a change from the usual wedding party or dancers on the sabbath turned to stone! One of the stones is indeed the “main stone” and much taller than the others but its obvious that this little circle has been interfered with quite a lot over the centuries.
Just a few meters away is “Druid's Castle”, not as dramatic as its name suggests as it is little more than a jumble of boulders on a slope. It is thought to have once been a dolmen then before that a burial chamber, so this shows that we once had a very important sacred site here. A substantial henge and ditch around the whole site adds weight to this idea.
On a summer's day this is a simply beautiful place on the fringes of the Midlands of England, and on a misty winter's morning it takes on another more mystical energy. A great place to visit and with so many other ancient cairns and barrows close by the visitor is walking through a true sacred landscape.
If you like these posts you'll like my book The Mystery Of Mercia – available here -