Avebury

 

I have a passion for old stones. Not necessarily beautiful ones. Those with a story to tell. I so wish I could ask them, Tell me. From the very start. Everything. How long or short centuries feel, how the rain feels, the first ray of sunshine of the day, the seasons returning, the countryside changing around you, the fights and romance, how superficial we must sound to you. Tell me.

Wiltshire, I’m learning, has many prehistoric sites. Fascinated by Stonehenge? Drive just a little further, to Avebury, a village crossing ways with the largest circle of stones in Europe. Well, chronologically, the other way round as the menhirs date back to the Neolithic period. A large circle surrounding two smaller ones, to be exact. What for? Nobody really knows. A ritual, a ceremony probably. Maybe a link with astronomy? Through time, some of the stones have been uprooted, taken away. In medieval times they were said to have been planted by the Devil. A geophysical survey of the area helped find 15 of them. The National Trust analysed each to understand where exactly they lay in the circle. Some are still missing.

In Stonehenge, visitors must remain at a safe distance from the stones. Not here. You can wander freely, caress them, hug them if you wish. Lichen tattoos them beautifully. Nature’s own street art… The shapes vary – the tall, thin ones are considered male, the shorter ones female.

The site, protected by UNESCO, brings together history-lovers, walkers, pagans. Yes, you may meet druids there. Some believe you can feel ley lines under your feet. I wish I did. The world would feel a more magical place – we need that. Things that cannot be explained for once. It’s oddly comforting to think so. Look at the trees around – the roots are amazing. Tolkien comes to mind. No wonder they are considered sacred, adorned with colourful ribbons. Under a grey sky, the place really has a dramatic feel. Each of your steps seem to weave a particular affection for Avebury. Ah, to sleep there, wake up at dawn, see the mist rising up from the grass…

 

Avebury

>> Access to the site is free, parking, however is not. Plan to have some change!

>> While you are there, have a look at… the museum presenting the history and theories around the stones, the manor beautifully brought back to life by the National Trust and the BBC, the peaceful and absolutely irresistible little church where people still get married and the Red Lion pub where you can dine on an unusual table – a well from the 17th century with a glass top so you can glimpse the depth of it. Yes, there are ghosts around too.

 

More information on the region on the Visit Wiltshire website
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