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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
67 thoughts on “Just Back From…Stonehenge”
Wonderful images of this powerful, magical and so iconic place, Jude. I just realize how lucky I was back in 1975, being able to walk freely amongst the stones. In Cumbria we were lucky to see three great stone circles. We had them all to ourselves! 🙂
Wishing you a great weekend,
best regards from the Four of us,
There are some lovely stone circles up there. Did you go to Long Meg and her Daughters? We tried to find it en route to Alston, but missed it altogether which is a shame. I just love the name!
Great article and nice pictures! Here a story from similar site, less known, but also mythical: https://bluemoonstation.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/stockholm-impressions-2-knocking-on-the-asgards-door/
Interesting, especially the last photo.
Thanks. Stonehenge definitely has a mystical aura. We often stop off here and at Glastonbury on our way down to Cornwall’s lands end. Enjoying my visits to your blog. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox.
Nice to see you here Thom 🙂
I see you have a piece on Richard Thompson on your blog – I shall direct my OH to it, he’s a fan. xx
I visited this site long ago as a Prehistory undergraduate. In those days you could wander all round the stones. I think they have been given a sense of gravity now, and your photos give the stones a sense of grandeur.
A place so well-known is often disappointing to visit, but being so near and having EH membership so it was free I thought it was time to have a closer look than peering through the windscreen from the A303. I htink they have done a very good job. The whole experience was good. They just need to get a good barista in and make proper coffee 😉
I’ll tell my chum at English Heritage to sort the coffee!
I was also one of those fortunate people who played hide and seek amongst these colossal stones in my youth. We visited Stonehenge a couple of years back, and although it was great to see it again, the long queue to get in, plus the hoards of people wandering around, did take away that mystical aura for me. Even in August it was cold, windy and raining. 🙂
It’s that flat Wiltshire Plain that does it – the wind just sweeps across with nothing to stop it! I guess visiting in winter has its advantages – less crowds = more mystic. Though I would like to wander in the land around the stones in warmer weather.
We expected it to be warmer in August, but were disappointed. 🙂
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