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welsh myths

Wales is a county steeped in myths and legend; from Welsh werewolves to fierce dragons, you’ll find some of the most fascinating Welsh legends and stories here.

Many of which originate from the Mabinogion, a series of stories that were compiled during the 12th–13th centuries. So, what is it about Wales that has inspired so many magical tales? Perhaps it’s the dramatic landscape, or maybe some are even based on real events. Either way, you can easily spend hours reading through all the Welsh myths and legends that are out there.

We’ve compiled a list of our favourite Welsh myths and legends – including the spooky Lavender Lady and the mystical Gop Hill…

Our Top 10 Welsh Legends

welsh legends

1. The Lavender Lady

This story takes place at the Castle in Newport, Pembrokeshire. Legend has it that the spirit of a lady walks the grounds of the castle on some nights spreading the scent of lavender around as she does so. There is no visible form to the spirit – just the smell of lavender as she passes you by.

2. The Broad Haven (Pembrokeshire) Triangle

During 1977, fourteen school pupils reported seeing a UFO landing in a field behind the school at Broad Haven. A few weeks later some of the teachers and dinner ladies reported seeing the same thing once again. The pupil’s drawings of the UFO were so similar that it is hard to believe that they had not witnessed the encounter.

3. The Welsh Werewolf

the welsh werewolf

Legend tells of an enormous wolf-like animal sighted in north Wales during 1790. The first story being that of a stagecoach overturned by the creature on route to Wrexham. Another account from Gresford (outskirts of Wrexham) tells of a snow-covered field with enormous tracks which resembled those of a wolf but being considerably larger.

4. Gop Hill

A neolithic mound in Flintshire. It is believed that mystical powers emit from this man-made hill. There is also a story about Queen Boudicca being buried inside of this hill.

5. Cantre Gwaelod

Cardigan Bay

This is the story of a once busy town situated where Cardigan Bay now sits off the coast of west Wales. The story tells of how a great party was being held within the Walled Town and of how the guards who were to shut the gates to the oncoming tide had joined in with the festivities and completely forgotten to shut the gates. The town proceeded to flood and many still say that with the oncoming of a high tide, the bells of Cantre Gwaelod can be heard ringing in Cardigan Bay.

6. The Afanc

Said to take the form of a crocodile, a dwarf or a demonic creature – the story goes that The Afanc was trapped in the water of Llyn Ffynnon Las. In an attempt to escape it thrashed so wildly that it flooded and drowned all but two people in the UK. The creature was apparently slain by King Arthur.

7. Llech Lafar

This is the Welsh legend of a marble slab that bridges the River Alun at St Davids in Pembrokeshire. It is told that the slab once spoke and then cracked whilst the body of a person to be buried in the Cathedral grounds was carried over it.

8. The Welsh Dragon

welsh dragon

Dragon is from the Welsh word ‘Draig’ – used to describe (years ago) a tribal leader. Its symbolism lies in the story of the Red Dragon battling with the White Dragon or in other words the Welsh tribes fighting against the Saxon tribes.

9. The Devil Comes to Wales

A long time ago the Devil came to Wales. He met an old lady in a terrible state who told him that her cow has wandered to the far bank of the river and that she could not get it back. The Devil offered to build a bridge but only in return for gaining possession of the first living thing to cross the bridge – to this the old lady agreed.

The next day the old lady and her dog came to the river bank and there in front of them was the new bridge. Suddenly the Devil appeared and explained how he had kept to his half of the deal. The lady agreed and made her way the bridge. As she got to the bridge she took out some bread from her bag and threw it onto the bridge – her dog immediately chased across the bridge after the bread.

The Devil annoyed by the fact that he could not claim the lady as his possession promptly disappeared and has never been seen in Wales again. This is the story of how the first bridge at Devil’s Bridge in Ceredigion came into existence.

10. Cad Goddeu – The Battle of the Trees

welsh woodlands

A 14c poem refers to how a legendary enchanter by the name of Gwydion animates the trees of the forest to fight as his army. Possibly the inspiration for Tolkiens Elks in The Lord of the Rings.

Discover the magic of Wales and these Welsh myths and legends from one of our delightful West Wales holiday cottages. We have a fantastic range of cottages in Pembrokeshire and beyond – from romantic retreats to family-friendly homes, there’s something for everyone.