A Blustery Day at Avebury
Even in the pouring rain with a battering wind destroying our umbrellas, the stone circle of Avebury is an amazing sight. My travel-writer tour guide Keith, an expert on the area's stone circles, took me around there on my first day in Salisbury. I have to admit I thought I was suffering from hypothermia I was so cold and wet but it was such a fascinating place and even in the inclement weather it was worth a visit. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be on a clear sunny day. This is one of the oldest and larges henge sites in Britain, begun about 5000 years ago. The unusual thing is a pretty little village is situated right in the middle of it. This area has been occupied since the Bronze age with farmsteads. And nearby within walking distance are other famous prehistoric monuments as well.
The next day it was sunny and warmer so we wet off first for Woodhenge. The earthwork here began in around 2300 BC and consisted of a circular bank with a ditch. Instead of stones there were wooden posts in various sizes. And near the centre a small cairn of flints containing the body of a 3 year old whose skull had been split before burial. This is one of a few pieces of evidence for human sacrifice in Neolithic Britain.
Wooden staves at the Woodhenge Circle
Not too far away is the famous site of Stonehenge a massive stone monument that evolved between 3500 BC and 1600 BC with giant blue stones brought from the mountains of Wales that align with the rising of the sun on the Winter and Summer solstices. You can no longer go into the inner circle like I did on my first visit back in the '70's, but you walk around and can listen to the history of the stone circle on hand held recorders.
The Great Heel StoneAfter visiting these circles we stopped by the site of Old Sarum which is the setting for my work in progress Celtic novel Dragons in the Sky. I wanted to make another visit here to do more research and I did find out a few new things, such as at the time of my novel the fortress of Old Sarum was made of white chalk bricks and that they used totems at the entrance gates, much like our First nations people did.
The trench around the Hill Fort
Site of the hill fort at Old Sarum
View of Salisbury from Old Sarum
I never get tired of seeing these amazing places, all of them World Heritage Sites. This opportunity, thanks to my writer friend Keith, provided me with a wealth of information and made it a fabulous experience.