of hags, worms, hollow hills, and meteorites.....................
Forge Valley is a beautiful wooded valley about 5 miles west of Scarborough, famous for its wild garlic in spring, and other wild flowers and ancient woodland, and the lovely River Derwent which flows right through the valley. Tourists flock here in summer and local people come here all year round to walk their dogs etc.
Forge Valley(my photos)
Forge Valley,by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Here are 2 stories......i dont try to explain them, just tell them as they happened.
Story no. 1.......
Two friends were travelling home to Scarborough by bus one evening just before christmas. It was about 6 p.m. and already quite dark. 5 miles outside Scarborough one of the 2 friends felt very travel sick so they decided to stop the bus and walk the rest of the way home. They decided to walk through forge valley, along the quiet country lane that winds along next to the river for a mile or so and then turns and skirts the woodland for a few miles before reaching the outskirts of Scarborough. By the time they had got to river it was completely dark, and almost impossible to see, but too late to turn back.
After about 10 minutes walking along the road down into the valley they saw a faint glow ahead. As they approached they noticed the glow was coming from the middle of the road up ahead, and as they got closer they saw the glow was surrounding a man, sitting on some kind of stool or chair, holding a fishing rod. They assumed it was someone fishing at night, with a lantern, even though to be sat in the middle of the road seemed quite dangerous, even on a quiet country road. And pointless, as the river just there was about 20 yards away. Anyway, as the 2 approached, they got to about 10 yards from the man when he simply vanished, and the glowing light disappeaed.
Feeling rather spooked to say the least, the 2 friends continued towards home, but about 20 / 30 minutes later, and one or two miles further on, they saw the same strange glow ahead. This time they approached much more carefully and as they neared they realized the glow was actually just off the road to their right, in a small clearing about 5 yards from the road. What they saw was the glowing figure of a man walking away from the road, but what really spooked them was that it was actually only half a man. It was a figure with the top half of his body moving at ground level, and no legs.
Needless to say they ran, and didnt stop running until they could run no further, and then continued home as fast as they could.
Now this may sound like something from Scoobydoo, but for those two people it was anything but funny at the time.
Was the man fishing where the line of the river had been at some time in the past ? Was the other figure walking at what used to be ground level ?
Story no. 2. (my favourite)
Four friends were travelling through forge valley late one night in a van. As they approached a corner the two friends in the front of the van both cried out together. They both told exactly the same story.......Directly in the beam from the headlights they had seen a small man about 2 feet high with curly brown hair, climbing up the grass bank at the side of the road. their descriptions matched each other perfectly. they were obviously both very surprised and certainly not lying about what they had seen. I was one of the people in the back.
This incident took place at exactly the spot where the 'half man' was seen in the story above.
The Old mans mouth.
just near the northern end of Forge Valley you can find the Old Man's Mouth, a beautiful spring where the water flows out of a carved opening into a pool below
Old Man's Mouth (photo by Romany Soup)
I have no idea how old this is, but it looks fairly ancient. Between here and the river, amongst the trees, you can just find the remains of some old buildings among the trees. I was told this was the site of the old forge from which the valleys name originates. This makes sense as its very close to the crossroads where the road turns off to scarborough in the east and hackness to the north.
Forges were in ancient times traditionally located at crossroads, outside villages, as the smithy was regarded as an otheworldly place, where the smith worked his magic.
On the eastern side of forge valley is Irton Moor.
Irton Moor is covered in ancient remains and has many local legends attatched to it. The most prominent part of the moor is the beacon hill, which can be seen from miles around in almost any direction. Hagworm Hill is its name, although the maps now mistakenly show a small barrow next to the beacon as Hagworm hill.
Hagworm Hill (my photo)
Local children often call this 'the witches hill'.
Various signs of veneration can often still be found on Hagworm hill. A clay figure of a Mother Goddess, obviously made fairly recently, and coloured rags tied in the thorn tree on the summit of the hill. Painted egg shells, and a small stick carved with runes. All these and others have been noticed left on the hill by people who still regard this as a sacred place.
Standing stone near Hagworm Hill (my photo)
I was also told by a local man that as a child he and his friends believed it was a flying saucer that had crashed many years before and become grown over with trees, and that the aliens still lived inside, though his parents told him this was not true, as it was fairies that lived inside the hill. Each generation has it's own little green men.
Excavations have shown this hill to be a man-made structure, though they were only exploratory and didnt go very deep. It is most likely a large neolithic barrow, a sacred temple of the stone age people, so somewhere under the trees and soil there probably IS a doorway.
More recently (victorian ? ) there was a round tower built on the summit called Baron Alberts Tower, which is now completely collapsed, but some signs of it can still be seen.
There are many other neolithic and bronze age remains on Irton Moor. There is also the Irton Moor government spy headqarters, an ugly mass of buildings and microwave towers etc, which spoil the view on a nice day, and add an air of menace on a foggy day.
Tom Graves in his book 'needles of stone' speculated many years ago about the frequent proximety of government installations to ancient sacred sites.
In the late 1960's what looked to observers like quite a large meteor(ite) landed here and started a fire among the trees. It was seen one night as a large ball of fire arcing across the sky and bursting into flames when it hit the ground amongst the nearby trees.
Beech trees in Forge Valley (photo by Romany Soup)
Amanita muscaria in forge valley (my photo)
Tree Roots. Forge Valley (my photo)