Just Back From…Stonehenge

A quick weekend visit to Wiltshire to visit family gave me the opportunity to finally revisit Stonehenge after many, many years. I was one of the fortunate people who was able to run around the stones back in the 1960s. Since 1978 the stones have been fenced off and the experience of viewing them through wire did not appeal to me, even though I have passed the site often on my way to the South-West.

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The whole site has been much improved by the removal of the old A344, a major road that ran up the north edge of the stones. You now approach from the west, either on foot or using the shuttle bus, and make your way clockwise around the monument which allows you to see all the stones above ground.

north view

What you see probably originates from around 2500 BC and took 800 years to build. Obviously the site has changed over the centuries, but it seems that the larger sarsen stones were constructed then and do not appear to have been moved, whereas the smaller bluestones may have been rearranged several times.

west view 2

Stonehenge has an ‘axis’ – an alignment that runs north-east to south-west up the final straight line of the Avenue. This alignment works for the summer and winter solstices and there is growing evidence that the winter solstice was the most important.

west view

It was a cold, raw windy winter’s day, but at least the sun shone casting black shadows over the bright-green grass and providing a striking contrast to the darkening clouds forming overhead.

west view 3

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves and if you are ever in the area I do recommend a visit to this extraordinary site. Barrows and monuments in the landscape can be explored on foot over the uneven grass.

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Heyjude

I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

67 thoughts on “Just Back From…Stonehenge”

  1. Wonderful, simply wonderful.
    In that still of ‘The great sarsen stones’ is one on the left that has a self-size stone on top, that reminds me of the Easter Island stones – a wee bit …

      1. Thanks darlin – I’m the laziest of mates, I know; but your specific recommendation galvanizes me ! 😀

  2. You did have a lovely day for this! I was able to touch the stones in the 1960s as a child, and recently found a booklet from then, that we must have picked up when in the area. In more recent years, I have seen the stones many times from the A303 on journeys down to the West Country to see my parents, but never wanted to stop off and gaze over a fence!

    1. You and I must be twins parted at birth Sue! I can see why they need protecting though as many more people visit now (they estimate a 1000 visitors a day even in winter, though there was nothing like that last Saturday) and the ground would just get destroyed. But it looks very well placed in the landscape now with that road gone.

  3. This remains one of the enduring sights (and sites!) of my life. When I first saw this as a youngster, and could wander around the stones freely, I was always amazed by the weight and size of them. I went back many times, but the last time I took a visitor from France to see them, the distance we had to stand from the site reduced the impact. I haven’t been back in decades, but still love to see them as I drive past.
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    1. They look so small from the road don’t they, but close up you get much more of a sense of awe. The exhibition is good too – as you enter you are in the middle of the stones and a timeline takes you through the year with both solstices. Really well done.

  4. So much better when we could walk around the stones and touch them and let our imagination soar! Beautiful photos, you had great light 🙂

    1. We had lovely light Sherri, though it was very cold and windy!! My fingers were numb! I kept watching that black cloud praying it wouldn’t dump snow on us, and it didn’t, it helped create a lovely moody atmosphere. This must be near you?

  5. I can remember a breakfast stop en route to Cornwall back in the 60’s – my back leaning up against one of those uprights. Those were the days …

  6. I get goose bumps thinking about them. Can you imagine what these wonderful pictures are doing?
    Wow, you were t.h.e.r.e. I’d be overwhelmed and weak-kneed. Thank you for sharing. ❤ ❤

    1. I suppose we Brits take a lot of this history for granted. We have rather a lot on our little isle. It is nice to know my photos give pleasure around the world. Thanks Tess 🙂

  7. An amazing journey around an amazing site. I felt the same way when I saw Aboriginal rock paintings caged at Mutawintji – although it was necessary: people had been slicing bits off. One great slab was found in a garden in Melbourne.

    Is “Just back from …” the beginning of a series? Or were you just being tantalising and leaving space for a roll of rums or a tantara of trumpets? It works beautifully as a title.

    1. It is a shame what people do…
      Just Back From is a series of posts about short travels in the UK – if you click on the ‘On The Road’ menu link on the left you’ll see a link to the posts. But I kinda like a roll of rums 😉

  8. I proofed this, and still you got a roll of rums instead of a roll of drums! There is no hope for me! Although a roll of rums has possibilities in a different context.

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