Maude and the Dragon

 Mordiford is a village near Hereford with two notable features: the oldest bridge in Herefordshire, dating back to 1352, and the Dragon of Mordiford legend.

Dragon Egg - papier mache by Mary

There are several versions of the story but they all start with an egg hatching in a field from which a baby dragon emerges. A local girl, Maud or Maude, finds the dragon and befriends it. As Maude's pet grew, its appetite increased and its diet changed from insects to small mammals/fish to chickens, and finally, sheep and cattle. This got it noticed and the local villagers decided it had to go.

The Mordiford Dragon - needle felt/mixed media by Mary

A reward was offered but with no takers until a man, Garstone, variously described as a dragonslayer or a convict offered a pardon if he killed the dragon, came forward to do the dirty deed. He hid in a barrel by the river and waited for the dragon...

Garstone in his Barrel - needle felt by Mary

The story has several endings: (i) Garstone kills the dragon, (ii) the dragon falls into the river and disappears downstream, or (iii) Garstone agrees to let the dragon go if it promises to only hunt for food in the woods. In some versions, Garstone lives and in others he dies, slain by dragon's breath.

In 2018, a local resident decided this story should be celebrated as part of the history of Mordiford. The Mordiford Dragon Trail was opened in May 2022. Mary & I finally got to walk its 1.4 miles a couple of weeks ago.

Board Map of the Mordiford Dragon Trail

We did get lost on the initial part of the trail and had to ask for directions from a local resident - some of the signage,  including the board map, could be clearer (and we could have been a little more observant!). Look out for dragon eggs and red waymarker signs...

Dragon Trail Waymarkers

We started near the Board Map with this sculpture of Maude and her Dragon...

Maude and her Dragon

Then followed the route passing the old mill...

Water Mill

...before coming across the young dragon by the stream...

Young Dragon drinking

...and then the Reward Poster.

Dead but not Alive

At the lime kilns...

Lime Kilns
...we meet the fully-grown dragon...

and, finally, the dragonslayer, Garstone...

Garstone hiding in his barrel

Did we spot all the dragon artifacts on the trail?  Not sure! However, a very pleasant walk with views of the wonderful Herefordshire countryside - and, at this time of year (September), cider orchards laden with apples...

Cider Orchards



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