Saturday, 12 April 2014

Stonehenge, Salisbury & Avebury - Medieval and Prehistoric side of England

Stonehenge from distance - panoramic view

Fully packed for my organised day trip. This doesn't happen very often but the list of the attractions was irresistible - Stonehenge, Salisbury & Avebury. Seeing the mystic ancient megaliths always fills my mind with weird emotions and strange thoughts. 
There I went on that gloomy day. Minivan with our small group of fellow enthusiast (not that many) and our driver, who balanced between his guide role and steering the wheel. He was quite capable, full of witty remarks and funny stories. One of them concerned the skeletons in the graveyard of Salisbury. I am still curious whether it was true or made up just to amaze the nosy tourists. 


Salisbury cathedral front

Salisbury Cathedral geometry roof gothic vault

Salisbury - a cosy, small town, which somehow kept the medieval spirit. Ducks occupied the river flowing right through the centre. The location is famous for its imposing cathedral and an important constitutional act that was signed by King John. Well, if you are coming from America, most likely you haven’t heard about the Magna Carta. It was issued on 1215 and regulated the liberties and limitations of power. That might be the cause for the fact that institutions have deeply rooted traditions in the UK. Wondering among the cobbled streets and bridges, you may lose track of time, but hey no time for pointless strolls we had many more attractions to visit.

Old Sarum Castle – we quickly rushed through the ruins on the lonely hill overlooking the plain, trying to combat with the windy weather.

Old Sarum Castle panoramic view

White Horse chalk hill

The White Horse hill in Wiltshire, made by chalk is worth mentioning if geoglyphs are something you are interested in.


Stonehenge close look

On the way to the Stonehenge prehistoric monument amidst the picturesque cottages the celebrities have bought their own mansions: Sting is one of them. I bet he is not coming every summer to trim his garden. Side note: Madonna and Guy Richie were there on their honeymoon trip, also. Not that it matters. 

Stonehenge eastern sideGetting to the Stonehenge from London is kind of a hassle, because if you are going with a train it doesn't have a direct link. The nearest train station is roughly 10 miles away. You can stop at Amesbury if taking the bus from centre of London. Alternatively, you can drive but it may be tiresome. 

Stonehenge. Hmm mixed emotions. On the one hand, I realised it was part of a bigger complex stretching for a wider area. It wasn’t by chance people were going on a pilgrimage in ancient times for obscure and unknown reason, trekking for thousands of miles. But when you unveil the curtain, you see the other side of the coin. The site is lying between two highways and there are some really funny sketches on the actual location. Somehow this spoils the vibe of the monument, about which you have watched hundreds of documentaries. Nevertheless, it is one of the world most known megaliths so one has to show deep respect. You cannot go to the menhirs since they are beyond the fence, unless you are a researcher with a special permission, I assume. 


Avebury, well I am fond of visiting destinations off-the beaten track. It is the largest stone circle in Europe. Many new age druids perform their solstice gatherings here. The village is within the ring of stones itself. Which reminds me that some of the stones vanished without a trace. The guide informed us about one fact that was not so pleasant to hear. In the past some of the locals used the stones for building houses (the same silly attitude towards the past and the cultural heritage can be found all over the world).

Avebury henge, Row of standing stone

You are more inclined to the occult - the book shop in the centre of the village is the must go place. Huge collection on various fascinating topics: Crop Circles, angels, UFOS, as well as gifts and precious stones. Everything you need to invoke rain in England. (Somebody had put the spell on low volume for our journey). 

Avebury village within Stone circle

Other megalithic sites around the world:  8 of the most overlooked megalithic sites

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