Britain’s National Parks are home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Filled with atmospheric landscapes and dramatic views, these areas set the scene for countless myths and legends.
The scenic backdrop of Britain’s National Parks not only act as a setting for these magical tales, but have provided a source of inspiration for authors, artists and poets for centuries.
Here at Parkdean Resorts we’ve unearthed some of the myths and legends behind Britain’s National Parks, to leave you feeling inspired for your next holiday with us.
Snowdonia National Park, Wales
With its iconic landscapes, complete with sloping mountains and deep blue lakes, it’s no wonder Snowdonia National Park has inspired generations of storytellers. This region in North West Wales is known as the land of giants, dragons, wizards, and heroes, and the greatest story surrounds the legendary King Arthur, King of the Britons.
There are many tales that have been passed down in folklore which associate King Arthur with Snowdonia. The most famous of these stories is the claim that he actually fought his last battle in the region, at a pass near Cwm Dyli. Legend has it that when Arthur was mortally wounded by his enemies, his men lifted a cairn over his body - which still stands today. The cairn is known as “Carnedd Arthur” (Arthur’s Cairn), and the mountain pass where it happened is called Bwlch Y Saethau (Pass of the Arrows).
If you’re staying at Brynowen Holiday Park and would like to discover the tales of King Arthur for yourself, then Snowdonia is a truly stunning place to visit. King Arthur’s Labyrinth, under 40 minutes from the holiday park, takes you on an underground journey - travelling back in time to the days of the legendary king. You’ll discover stories of the oldest Welsh legends as expert guides take you through the passages of the Labyrinth, bringing the magic of Snowdonia to life.
Video sourced from Wiebe de Jager
North York Moors National Park, North Yorkshire
The North York Moors are shrouded in secrets, with ancient folk tales of witches, fairies and other magical creatures. The beautiful, rugged landscape of the heather covered moorland provides the perfect setting for dramatic and mysterious tales.
Local folklore tells the story of two giants who once ruled the North York Moors, Wade and his wife Belle. They are said to be the creators of many of the National Park’s iconic landmarks and features, which are still visible today.
Wade and Belle were said to be good-natured and kind, but were so strong they could move mountains and launch colossal boulders across valleys, creating the beautiful and unique landscape of the moors. They are also said to be responsible for building the castles at Mulgrave and Pickering, building one each and throwing a shared hammer across the valleys to each other, creating the rough and rugged terrain.
One of the most iconic landmarks said to be evidence of giant activity is the Hole of Horcum, or the “Devil’s Punchbowl”, under 40 minutes from Cayton Bay Holiday Park. Legend says this large gorge was created by Wade scooping up a huge fistful of earth to throw at his wife during an argument. This is now considered as one of the best walking routes to discover some of the most scenic views of the North York Moors.
For those interested in myths and legends, no visit to the area would be complete without uncovering the tale of one of the most famous vampires of all time, Dracula. Visit the dramatic ruins of the atmospheric Whitby Abbey, “Dracula’s Castle”, which is said to have inspired author Bram Stoker to create one of horror’s most infamous villains, and join in one of the local tours to discover more about Dracula’s Whitby.
Video sourced from Lew Slade
Lake District National Park, Cumbria
Cumbria’s Lake District has a history that stretches back over thousands of years, so it’s not surprising it comes with its fair share of folklore and legends.
The strangest of all the tales has to be Lake Windermere’s mini-monster, the “Tizzie Wizzie” - a small, shy creature which apparently inhabits the shores around the lake. The Tizzie Wizzie is said to have the body of a hedgehog, the tail of a squirrel and the wings of a bee. It was first allegedly spotted by a boatman, who would take visitors on a tour of the lake promising sightings of the elusive creature.
Some people even believe there may also be a lake monster, similar to the one rumoured to live in Loch Ness. Affectionally nicknamed, “Bownessie”, there have been several alleged sightings over the years - with the first reported in 2006. Said to be a 30ft snake-like beast with humps, there have been around ten reports of sightings, with witnesses saying they saw a strange, lake-dwelling creature in the waters.
On the shores of Lake Windermere, Fallbarrow Holiday Park, is the perfect location to soak up the mysterious air of the lake and enjoy beautiful scenery and stunning views.
Like Snowdonia, the Lake District is also said to have been King Arthur’s territory. King Arthur’s Round Table, found at Eamont Bridge, just under 50 minutes from Limefitt Holiday Park, is one of the most famous places named after him. Whilst this ancient monument dates back to Neolithic times, way before the times of Arthurian legend, many believe it was later used by Arthur.
As is often the case with myths and legends, there’s also another version to King Arthur’s story that states it was in Northern Cumbria, not Snowdonia, that he fought his last battle, the Battle of Camlann. One of the area’s lakes is even said to have been the resting place of the famous sword, Excalibur, which legend says was hidden at the bottom of a lake upon his death.
Video sourced from John Treasure’
Many of Britain’s other National Parks have their own myths and legends, from ghostly-goings on in Dartmoor to the mysterious Lady of the Lake in the Brecon Beacons. Do you have a favourite folk tale? We’d love to hear about it on our Twitter page.