RSPB creates wildflower meadow for butterflies at Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

9 02 2015

Hundreds of wildflowers have been planted at Normanton Down on the Stonehenge World Heritage Site to help gives butterflies a home during the summer months.

Flowers such as classic chalk grassland herbs, common rockrose and wild thyme are among many more that make up the wildflower meadow that was created on four iron-age barrows across the ancient site.

The wildflowers, which were all grown from seed and collected from Salisbury Plain, will serve as a food source for the caterpillars of the iconic chalk downland butterfly and many pollinators during the summer season.

The work for the project was completed by the RSPB, who manage the Normanton Down nature reserve, which is known for its ground nesting birds and downland wildlife.

Stonehenge Flowers

Chalkhill Blue – female © Tony Davison, from the surfbirds galleries.

RSPB Site Manager, Patrick Cashman, said: “These barrows already support fragments of a once more widespread flower-rich downland landscape. We are taking this opportunity to top them up with key butterfly food plants, so their warm southern flanks can become new homes for butterflies from nearby Salisbury Plain and help provide stepping stones in the wider landscape.”

The wildflower planting was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as a part of ‘Save Our Magnificent Meadows’ project, which is a national partnership of 11 organisations led by Plantlife to help transform the fortunes of vanishing meadows, grasslands and wildlife.

English Heritage’s Stonehenge World Heritage Site co-ordinator, Beth Thomas, said: “We are delighted to see the historic monument being treasured for their relict ancient grassland, and having their profile raised as resource to help reconnect the natural and historic landscape.”

Through the RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign, you can help tackle the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife. The charity is asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside space – whether it’s a dead wood pile for mini beats and other insects, putting up a nestbox for a house sparrow, or creating a pond that will support a number of different species.

To find out more about Giving Nature a Home and to receive a free guide packed full of simple, fun activities to help wildlife where you live, visit: rspb.org.uk/homes

Notes

1. The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

2. Giving Nature a Home is the RSPB’s latest campaign, aimed at tackling the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife. The charity is asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces – whether it by planting pollen-rich plants to attract bees and butterflies, putting up a nestbox for a house sparrow, or creating a pond that will support a number of different species. The charity hopes to inspire people across the UK to create a million new homes for nature.

3. Normanton Down lies within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, and comprises 47 ha of former arable land in the process of being reverted to species-rich chalk grassland, through a management agreement with the private owner. Reseeding of the arable land has taken place over the last three years, and the diversity of wild flowers, along with butterflies and other invertebrates, is gradually increasing. The site is also being managed to encourage breeding stone-curlews and other birds such as lapwings and corn buntings.

4. The wildflowers that are being planted on the site are; the classic chalk grassland herbs; kidney and horseshoe vetch, common rockrose, wild thyme, dropwort, harebell, small scabious and devil’s-bit scabious.

5. Iconic downland butterflies expected on the site include; chalkhill blue, adonis blue, brown argus and marsh fritillary.

Article source: http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/blog/2015/02/08/rspb-creates-wildflower-meadow-for-butterflies-at-stonehenge/

The National Trust offer guided tours though the Stonehenge Landscape: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehenge-landscape/

The Stonehenge News Blog





LECTURE: The Stonehenge Landscape – 31st January

24 01 2015

There will be a lecture by Sharon Soutar of English Heritage at Devizes Town Hall, Wiltshire, England from 2:30 pm on Saturday, 31 January 2015.  

20141227_083502With the construction of the new Visitor Centre at Airman’s Corner it was vital that Stonehenge and its surrounding landscape were re-presented with the fullest and most up-to-date information available. Fantastic as it may seem very few of the monuments, not even Stonehenge itself, had been surveyed to modern standards. To rectify this English Heritage set up a project to significantly enhance the record and understanding of all upstanding archaeological monuments within the World Heritage Site. The fieldwork was conducted between 2009 and 2012 and the book is nearing publication, while a number of research reports on the different areas are available through the website (see below).

The fieldwork covered just over 15% of the World Heritage Site in detail. It included Stonehenge, the Greater Cursus and all of the principal barrow cemeteries and incorporated sites later in date, such as the medieval settlement earthworks at Lake. English Heritage surveyed almost half of the known or suspected round barrows within the WHS; nearly all of those surviving as earthworks. At the same time colleagues looked at the historic buildings, added high resolution Ground Penetrating Radar [GPR] to complement earlier geophysical surveys and took new photography of the landscape and artefacts found within it. ~English Heritage also commissioned a laser scan of the stones and surrounding henge.

Sharon will describe some of the important discoveries resulting from the project and take a look at the more surprising aspects of the field archaeology in the Stonehenge landscape.

Sharon is a landscape archaeologist specialising in the survey and visualisation of heritage landscapes and data; from maps and site plans right through to infographics. After a number of years interpreting and mapping archaeology visible in aerial photographs and lidar data for different parts of England she was lucky enough to join the team investigating the Stonehenge WHS landscape.

The project webpage is: www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/research/landscapes-and-areas/archaeological-field-survey-and-investigation/stonehenge-landscape/

The project monograph is due for publication in the spring of 2015:
Bowden, M.C.B., Soutar, S., Field, D.J. and Barber, M.J. forthcoming. The Stonehenge Landscape. Swindon: EH.

The 1:10,000 scale map – Stonehenge and Avebury: Exploring the World Heritage Site is available in our shop www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/stonehenge-avebury-map

The various Research Department Reports are available through: research.english-heritage.org.uk

Booking:

Essential. To contact us, either:
* Tel: 01380 727369 to book and pay using credit/debit card (Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm preferred)
* Send an e-mail
Visit the Wiltshire Museum website: http://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/events/index.php?Action=2&thID=972&prev=1

The Stonehenge News Blog





The Stonehenge Landscape

23 01 2015

Originally posted on The Heritage Trust:

 
Stonehenge by Henry Mark Anthony (1817-1886)
 
There will be a lecture by Sharon Soutar of English Heritage at Devizes Town Hall, Wiltshire, England from 2:30 pm on Saturday, 31 January 2015.
 
With the construction of the new Visitor Centre at Airman’s Corner it was vital that Stonehenge and its surrounding landscape were re-presented with the fullest and most up-to-date information available. Fantastic as it may seem very few of the monuments, not even Stonehenge itself, had been surveyed to modern standards. To rectify this English Heritage set up a project to significantly enhance the record and understanding of all upstanding archaeological monuments within the World Heritage Site. The fieldwork was conducted between 2009 and 2012 and the book is nearing publication, while a number of research reports on the different areas are available through the website here.
 
More here.
    

View original





Robin Heath: Stonehenge – The Marriage of the Sun and Moon

14 01 2015

Originally posted on Tallbloke's Talkshop:

Reblogged from Ishtar’s Gate, a blog covering diverse subjects relating to antiquity, myth, culture, legend and ancient arts. Although the idea that the Aubrey holes around the outside of the stone complex have an astronomical observation and eclipse prediction purpose has been dismissed because later cremations were found in them, their number, spacing and mathematical relationship to the station stones indicates otherwise. Ishtar’s introduction follows:

This is from the book of the same title by the highly regarded Robin Heath, and it is a deeply researched and expert interpretation of the sacred geometrical azimuths and alignments of Stonehenge.

It is well established that the axis of Stonehenge aligns approximately to the midsummer rising sun azimuth. In addition, the station stone rectangle is constructed perpendicular to the axis and has a ratio of 5:12. In Megalithic yards, this is 40:96, i.e. the units of the rectangle’s ratio are expressed in…

View original 1,270 more words





Events at Stonehenge: Up Close

4 01 2015

Stonehenge: Up Close

Gain a rare and fascinating insight into the famous World Heritage Site with an exclusive tour around the site led by one of English Heritage’s experts. The event starts with exclusive early morning access to the stone circle at Stonehenge accompanied by our expert.

Stonehenge Landscape

Following a light breakfast, we will then go on to explore key archaeological sites including Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and The Cursus to learn more about the archaeological landscape and investigate work that has taken place in recent years.

There is plenty of walking, sometimes over uneven ground on this tour, so we have graded it as moderate access.

15th January 2015 SOLD OUT
9th February 2015 SOLD OUT
9th March 2015

Heaven and Earth Tours
Special evening bookable tour learning about the stars and planetary movements and how early man may have utilised them.

24th January 2015
21st February 2015

How to Book
Tickets are available to purchase by calling the English Heritage dedicated ticket sales team on 0370 333 1183. (Mon-Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm, Sat 9am – 5pm) Visit their website here

There are tour operators who offer special access trips and include transport from London.  Visit Wiltshire have links to local tour operators offering inner circle tours from Salisbury

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





#Stonehenge: No Compromise!

23 12 2014

Originally posted on The Heritage Journal:

A demonstration by Stonehenge Alliance supporters at yesterday’s winter solstice celebrations expressed what everyone ought to be telling the British Government about the length of the proposed tunnel:

No Compromise

Please spread the message far and wide – especially if you are living abroad. It’s your World Heritage Site too and now the protest has gone global! As well as the petition for those living in Britain  there’s now a second one for the rest of the world. Please add your voice to defend one of the world’s most iconic archaeological landscapes.

__________________________________

Opposition to the UK Government’s plan to widen the A303 with a 2.9km tunnel close to the Stones is spearheaded by the Stonehenge Alliance, which is supported by the Ancient Sacred Landscape Network, Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, and RESCUE: The British Archaeological Trust.

View original





Stonehenge discovery could rewrite British pre-history

20 12 2014

The most important discovery at Stonehenge for a generation could be destroyed by David Cameron’s plan to build a tunnel at the World Heritage Site

David Cameron announced plans to route the A303 into a tunnel to take traffic away from the world heritage site of Stonehenge Photo: AP

David Cameron announced plans to route the A303 into a tunnel to take traffic away from the world heritage site of Stonehenge Photo: AP

Archaeologists have discovered the earliest settlement at Stonehenge – but the Mesolithic camp could be destroyed if government plans for a new tunnel go ahead.

Charcoal dug up from the ‘Blick Mead’ encampment, a mile and a half from Stonehenge, dates from around 4,000BC. It is thought the site was originally occupied by hunter gatherers returning to Britain after the Ice Age, when the country was still connected to the continent.

Experts say the discovery could re-write history in prehistoric Britain.

There is also evidence of feasting – burnt flints and remains of giant bulls – aurochs – as well as flint tools.

The dig has also unearthed evidence of possible structures, but the site could be destroyed if plans for a 1.8 mile tunnel go ahead.

Earlier this month David Cameron, the prime minister, visited Stonehenge, in Amesbury, Wiltshire and announced plans to duel the A303 and build a new tunnel to take traffic away from the world heritage site.

But archaeologists want more time to assess the importance of the site and record new findings.

“The PM is interested in re-election in 140 days – we are interested in discovering how our ancestors lived six thousand years ago,” said archaeologist David Jacques, who made the discovery on a dig for the University of Buckingham.

“British pre-History may have to be rewritten. This is the latest dated Mesolithic encampment ever found in the UK.


A shard of bone found at the site

“Blick Mead site connects the early hunter gatherer groups returning to Britain after the Ice Age to the Stonehenge area all the way through to the Neolithic in the late 5th Millennium BC.

“Britain is beginning across this time period. Blick Mead connects a time when the country was still joined to the mainland to it becoming the British Isles for the first time.”

The experts believe that the site could show the Stonehenge was built as a monument to the ancestors of Neolithic Britons.

“Our only chance to find out about the earliest chapter of Britain’s history could be wrecked if the tunnel goes ahead,” added Mr Jacques.

A previous dig at the site, led by the University of Buckingham, revealed Amesbury is the longest continually-occupied place in the country. They discovered that frogs’ legs from 7,000 years ago were a delicacy here long before the French took a liking to them.

Archaeologists believe that early Britons were drawn to the site because of a natural spring. A The combination of a water of a constant temperature and a rare algae also produced the only colour-changing stones, which change from brown to pink, found at any archaeological site in the country.

Professor Tim Darvill, of Bournemouth University has described this as “This is the most important discovery at Stonehenge in over 60 years.”

Experts are calling on the government to rethink plans to build on the critically important landscape.

Andy Rhind-Tutt, of Amesbury and chairman of the Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust, added: “Traffic congestion to one of the country’s most visited attractions will not be solved by a tunnel with one exit lane – the current tailback can extend five miles and can take two hours to get through.

“Any tunnel would need to be motorway standard, and even with four lanes there would still be tailbacks.

“A much more practical solution would be to reroute the A303 supporting South Wiltshire as well as the West Country.”
Article by , Telegraph Science Editor: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/archaeology/11303127/Stonehenge-discovery-could-rewrite-British-pre-history.html

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 14,556 other followers

%d bloggers like this: