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.