This area is littered with legends about the two great giants, Wade and his wife, Bell. They are credited not only with the construction of both Pickering and Mulgrave castles, but also with the laying of Wheeldale Roman Road (also known as Wade’s Causeway) in just one day!
It is said that Wade laid the stones whilst Bell carried them in her apron, occasionally dropping one or two, leaving heaps of rock by the roadside.
Another local legend about Wade and Bell says that Bell once angered him so much that he scooped up a handful of earth and hurled it at her. Bell ducked and the earth landed a couple of miles away forming what came to be known as Blakey Topping. Meanwhile, the hole left behind became known as the Hole of Horcum.
I can’t help wondering how these legends came to be. Did people really believe in them? Were they created to entertain? Or maybe they were simply children’s stories which got carried forwards? And if so, will people in hundreds of years time think that we really believed in the Gruffalo?