Prince Bladud lived around 800 BC and was the son of Lud Hudibras, King of the Britons. After contracting a skin disease on his travels abroad, he was banished from the tribe and found work as a swineherd in the Avon Valley. Food was scarce and his pigs became infected and diseased. In Swainswick, where a farmer advised him to look for acorns on the other side of the river, the pigs began to wallow in hot mud. To entice them out, Bladud climbed an oak tree, collected some acorns and made a trail out of the water. As the pigs came out he scraped the mud from their skin to find that it was cleansed and cured. He jumped in and emerged to find his skin clear and his disease, which was probably leprosy, healed. The Prince returned to the tribe. When Bladud became King he established a settlement in Bath and the city grew around the temple he built by the hot springs.
Signs of human activity around the springs date from c5000 BC. The Celts lived in hill forts and settlements around the valley at Little Solsbury (abandoned in 300 BC) and Bathampton Down (abandoned 450 BC).