<< Our Photo Pages >> Puddock's Well - Holy Well or Sacred Spring in England in Devon

Submitted by AngieLake on Sunday, 26 April 2015  Page Views: 4571

Springs and Holy WellsSite Name: Puddock's Well Alternative Name: The Celtic Spring
Country: England County: Devon Type: Holy Well or Sacred Spring
Nearest Town: North Tawton  Nearest Village: Bow/Nymet Tracey
Map Ref: SS731006
Latitude: 50.791036N  Longitude: 3.801774W
4Almost Perfect
3Reasonable but with some damage
2Ruined but still recognisable as an ancient site
1Pretty much destroyed, possibly visible as crop marks
0No data.
-1Completely destroyed
3 Ambience:
2Not Good
0No data.
4 Access:
5Can be driven to, probably with disabled access
4Short walk on a footpath
3Requiring a bit more of a walk
2A long walk
1In the middle of nowhere, a nightmare to find
0No data.
4 Accuracy:
5co-ordinates taken by GPS or official recorded co-ordinates
4co-ordinates scaled from a detailed map
3co-ordinates scaled from a bad map
2co-ordinates of the nearest village
1co-ordinates of the nearest town
0no data

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Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : Without boots we had to go back to the road and clamber through nettles and down a bank to the other side of the stream to get this view. (Vote or comment on this photo)
Angie Lake and friend Peter Green, who instigated the search in Oct. 2010, visited this well on 22nd April 2015 as part of their investigations into the site of a possible major Celtic Sanctuary in the mid-Devon area around the 'nymet' villages.

(As mentioned previously on Megalithic Portal pages [Copplestone Cross, for instance], ‘nymet’ comes from the word ‘nemeton’, ‘a sacred grove’, and there are many villages or hamlets in this area whose names include ‘nymet’. Bishop Putta is referred to on the Copplestone Cross site page info, too.)

Terry Faull writes in his book ‘Secrets of the Hidden Source. In Search of Devon’s Ancient and Holy Wells.’ [Pub. by Halsgrove, 2004]:
“Puddock’s Well. Grid Reference: SS731006.

Good public access; the well is in a depression below where the road widens slightly and near the parish church towards Walson Barton. The spring is underneath an ancient oak tree [I think] below the level of the road, and the cistern which catches the water is concealed by a flimsy corrugated iron cover (beware and do not stand on it as it is often covered by leaves).

The name of the well is a mystery; possibly a Celtic priest Puttoc or even Petroc; puttock in Old English meant marshy ground, or a buzzard. The road broadens here to take account of the site of the well and it is most likely that this place has some connection with the sacred grove tradition of the area.” “Traditional uses: Lost.”

In her book, ‘Exploring Green Lanes and the stories they tell, North & North-West Devon’, (Route 50, Bow) Valerie Belsey writes:
“This walk contains just two short sections of green lane, but the history surrounding them is turbulent. They have survived despite all the clashes between early Romans, Christians and Celts in the area. The main direction of communications is in an east-west direction.”

Itemising places en route, she adds:
“… (4) Back on the minor road, seek out the holy well of Puddock, named after Bishop Putta of Devon who was murdered at Copplestone in 974. You will find it at the foot of a gnarled ash tree at SS731006. A Roman garrison was kept in the fort in this district to keep an eye on the insurgent tribes of Dumnonia living in their sacred ‘nymets’ and guarding their holy wells.”

Personal communication from a well-known Westcountry dowser and published author on the subject [regarding his dowsed Iron Age trade route]:
“Interestingly enough, this is the site of the well that I told you about, known locally as the "Celtic Spring" (the road widens here)” ….

“I was told of, and saw for myself, the Celtic Spring (SS732006) by the Church Warden who lived at Nymet Barton then. This looked rather neglected at the time, and also had a covering of corrugated iron.”

Angie adds: Regarding the ancient tree above it, I took it for granted it was an Oak tree after reading Terry Faull's article, but Valerie Belsey says it is an Ash. Someone might be able to confirm this from photos. When we were there recently the leaves weren't out properly and I didn't think to check it. A lot of Holly around, and also creeping Ivy.

'Condition' was a hard one to judge as it was covered over, but am assuming it isn't 'destroyed'.
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Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : It is a lovely old tree but one author calls it an Oak and another calls it an Ash. Maybe someone can tell which? (Vote or comment on this photo)

Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : A small stream trickles away from the well through the red Devon soil (from upper centre right here to bottom left of photo). (Vote or comment on this photo)

Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : This is how close the well is to the road, with the tree above it right on the bend (see previous photo). (Vote or comment on this photo)

Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : A rather sad sight confronts the visitor, where one might have found such an atmospheric site amongst the trees. It was still rather lovely with the sunlight shafting through the branches. The old tree is top right of photo. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : A short track leads down to the well. You might glimpse the corrugated iron covering.

Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : The tall old tree at whose roots, below the road level, lies the ancient well. Peter stands near a sharp bend in the lane. (looking east).

Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : Coming from Nymet Tracey towards Walson Barton (i.e. W to E) you'd notice this bench by the well (which is down the shady area between the trees).

Puddock's Well
Puddock's Well submitted by AngieLake : To help one find this site, this shows a car in the layby, with Nymet Tracey church tower in the distance. The large tree over the well is leaning over the road here.

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"Puddock's Well" | Login/Create an Account | 4 News and Comments
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Re: Puddock''s Well by Anonymous on Tuesday, 16 April 2024
I used to live at Walson Barton, my family always knew it as “paddocks well”
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Re: Puddock's Well by Acorneater on Monday, 11 May 2015
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Might come from the country word for toad,,,,,,"paddock"
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Re: Puddock's Well by Anonymous on Monday, 11 May 2015
I am now puzzeled about the tree over this well as my notes say oak and in photos the bark looks like oak rather than ash I will visit again as I do know the difference between the species!
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