Avebury

avebury-11

Nearest Town: Marlborough, Wiltshire

OS Grid Reference: SU 102 699

Directions: Avebury village is set squarely in the middle of the stone circle & henge, and can be found on the A4361 from Swindon to Devizes.
In most road atlases & well signposted, although under the dubious care of the National Trust, entry is free, and parking generally easy – use the NT car park & not the roads.

Site Notes: Avebury is a truly astounding place, and represents perhaps the apex of megalithic civilisation. It is the largest stone circle in Europe. It is the largest henge in the world. The stones themselves are some of the heaviest ever used in prehistoric times. It dwarfs its near neighbour Stonehenge in every way, despite the damage it has suffered from the small minded and the ignorant.
You can drive through Avebury, due to the roads driven through it since Roman times (as you can Leys of Marlee, Long Meg, and barely, Clava Cairns), and uniquely you can have a meal & stay the night in the only pub inside a stone circle-the Red Lion. Less amusingly, Avebury was attacked by small minded religious bigots over the last 300 years, and many stones were broken, buried, or taken away for house building. The henge itself was too mighty for serious damage, and thankfully a visionary by the name of Alexander Keiller spent a large part of the family fortune, uncovering & re-erecting most of the stones you see today. Some have criticised this, but I don’t, and I feel we should go further & re-erect more stones, proven to be just below the surface. Why allow the vandalism of 300 years ago to affect a 6000 year old monument? In addition to the main circle, there are two avenues of standing stones- The West Kennet Avenue, partially re-erected by Keiller, and the Beckhampton Avenue, with all but two stones buried, but with more proven to be just below the surface. Together with Silbury Hill, the largest man made mound in Europe, you have only just started to scratch the surface of what you can find in Wiltshire – a good place to go further is here.

One of the re-erected quadrants

One of the re-erected quadrants

An idea of the scale of these stones

An idea of the scale of these stones

A fallen stone and the 'cove' in the distance

A fallen stone and the 'cove' in the distance

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All text and photography © Chris Lodge 2009-12