Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Ancient Britain

Sunday was one of the few pleasant days off of the summer weather-wise (did I really say summer?) and having just received my annual membership of English Heritage (courtesy of Tesco Clubcard) we took a trip to Avebury.

(all pictures my own - click for larger versions)

I remember visiting Stonehenge a long time ago feeling nothing bt disappointment. The stones looked a quarter of the size I imagined and right next to a very busy road and visitors were kept well away from them.

Avebury on the other hand is certainly worth a visit. Here you can actually walk amongst - and touch - the standing stones that are much much older than even Stonehenge. Although not as complete - thanks to local fielders and farmers in bygone days not realising the story behind there neighbourhood collection of standing stones - but enough has been restored to give you a feel for the place. The sheer size and scale of the site is awesome, not to mention the "feeling" of history. Mrs Wurzel - who understands these things - when touching the stones could also get a "feeling" for something more "mystic".

From Avebury itself and it's ring of standing stones we followed more stones forming an avenue (originally about a mile or so long although less than half remain) to the Sanctuary. From here we walked to the West Kennet Long Barrow, an amazing place that is well over 5000 years old but you can actually go inside. Some meditation sounds - made by real people visiting, not tourist trap audio loop through speakers- coming from somewhere in the darkness of the burial chambers added to the mystical quality.

From there, roughly half an hours walk back to Avebury, passing the mysterious and unexpectedly huge Silbury Hill rounded of a very pleasant day, which despite the plethora of information available probably left us asking more questions about the origins of the whole area than were answered. Which is just how I like my history.

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