Stonehenge Cycle Challenge – 2013

3 10 2012

Join the Stonehenge Cycle Challenge and pedal into history. In September 2013 members of English Heritage will be able to take part in an exclusive sponsored cycle ride, which traces the route of the Stonehenge bluestones from Wales to Wiltshire.

Starting at the Preseli Hills in the Pembrokeshire National Park and ending inside the stone circle at Stonehenge with a celebratory glass of champagne, this really is a monumental ride of a lifetime.

When is it and who can get involved?

This three day event, which runs from 13-15 September 2013, is ideal for keen cyclists with a love of history.

The journey will cover:

  • Preseli Hills to Llandovery on day one (approx. 50 miles)
  • Llandovery to Chepstow via Brecon Beacons on day two (approx. 60 miles) and finally
  • Chepstow to Stonehenge on day three (approx 65 miles).

Cyclists will be able to take in some of the most beautiful Welsh and English countryside with plenty of water stops along the way, as well as much-deserved pub lunches.

Why cycle Stonehenge?

This sponsored ride, open to both individuals and teams, will raise much needed money to help fund improvements to the unique prehistoric landscape surrounding Stonehenge.

These improvements include:

  • A new environmentally sensitive visitor centre 1.5 miles away at Airman’s Corner
  • Removing the current car park and facilities at the Stones and returning these areas to grass
  • Closure of the A344 with the section from Stonehenge Bottom to Byway 12 reverting to grass, allowing Stonehenge to be reunited with its ancient processional way

Find out more about our ambitious plans to transform Stonehenge.

Please note: a registration fee will be charged to cover the cost of the safe running of this event.

How to get involved

If you would like to take part in the Stonehenge Cycle Challenge, you can register your interest by emailing:

Or why not support Stonehenge without breaking out into a sweat by donating online.

Blog sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ –

Merlin says “Im out of breath just thinking about it”

Stonehnege News Blog

A New Dawn for Stonehenge

26 07 2012

Stonehenge Improvements: Work Starts On Site

Work to realise the long-held vision to return Stonehenge to a more tranquil setting and improve its visitor facilities has officially started. Successful fundraising also means that virtually all of the total project cost has now been secured with only £500,000 left to raise, English Heritage has announced.

School children from Greentrees Primary School near Salisbury on a recent visit to Stonehenge.

School children from Greentrees Primary School near Salisbury on a recent visit to Stonehenge.

Contractor VINCI Construction UK has taken possession of the site at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles to the west of the Stones, to start construction of the new exhibition and visitor building out of sight of the stone circle. In September, the Highways Agency will start work to upgrade Longbarrow Roundabout prior to the closure of the A344 in April 2013.

The £27-million project is financed almost entirely by Heritage Lottery Fund money, commercial income and philanthropic donations including significant gifts from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Linbury Trust and the Wolfson Foundation.

A new dawn

Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: “A new dawn at Stonehenge is truly upon us. Though the stones themselves have never failed to awe visitors their setting has been a national embarrassment and disgrace. After nearly 30 years English Heritage finally has a scheme that will transform the setting of the stones and our visitor’s experience of them. The restoration of the landscape together with a major new exhibition on site will finally give our greatest and most famous monument the treatment it deserves.

“Almost all the money to achieve our vision comes from commercial or private sources. We are tremendously grateful to have so many partners and private sector sponsors supporting us along the way.”

Heritage Minister John Penrose said:  “People have been talking about the project for nearly 30 years and so I’m absolutely delighted that work is finally underway to preserve this internationally recognisable prehistoric World Heritage Site, and to improve the visitor experience for those who come to marvel at it too.”

Transforming the setting of Stonehenge

The project, developed with the support of the National Trust, Wiltshire Council, the Highways Agency, and Natural England, will transform the setting of Stonehenge. The section of the A344 which currently runs past the monument – almost touching the Heel Stone – will be closed and grassed over, reuniting the stone circle with its ancient processional way and the surrounding landscape. The remaining part of the A344 will be closed to public vehicles, and will become the route of a new visitor shuttle service to the stones.

The existing outdated facilities, car park, fences and clutter near the monument will be removed. Visitors will be welcomed at the new facilities located at Airman’s Corner and, instead of approaching the stone circle from the east on a busy road, they will approach over chalk downland from the west either via a 10-min journey on the visitor shuttle, or on foot.

New exhibition, education rooms and more

A visit to the stones will, for the first time, be enhanced by a large exhibition which will tell the story of this complex site and its relationship with the wider landscape. It will feature important objects excavated near Stonehenge on loan from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

Sensitively designed by Denton Corker Marshall, the low-key visitor building also features education rooms and much improved amenities with full disabled access.

Visitor centre opens Autumn 2013

The Stonehenge project will be completed in two phases:

  • In autumn 2013, the new visitor facilities and galleries will open and the A344 will be closed to traffic. (The section of the A344 adjacent to the stones will already have been closed earlier in 2013.) Visitors will be taken to near the stones on a low-impact shuttle, with the option to disembark mid-way at a landscape viewpoint and walk to the stones from there.
  • By summer 2014, the existing car park, toilets, shop and fencing near the stones will have been removed and restoration of the landscape will be well underway. Visitors will be able to walk and enjoy the wider landscape and other outstanding prehistoric monuments.

Throughout the construction, Stonehenge will continue to welcome visitors as normal at its existing facilities. An opening date for the new visitor building will be announced in 2013, and the switch-over to the new facilities will be overnight so that there will be no disruption to visitors.

Visit the English Heritage website for more details:

Sponsored by ‘The Stonhenge Tour Company’ –

Merlin @ Stonehenge

Celebrate World Heritage Day at Stonehenge and Avebury.

18 04 2012

World Heritage Day is celebrated annually on 18th April. This year, (also the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention), English Heritage experts are on hand to help you discover the prehistoric landscapes at Stonehenge and Avebury and to show how World Heritage Status is helping to conserve them.
Stonehenge Heritage

Stonehenge and Avebury became a World Heritage Site in 1986 for their outstanding prehistoric monuments dating from around 3,700 to 1,600 BC. The stone circle of Stonehenge is recognised throughout the world and the site is very special. The 2,600 hectares  of surrounding landscape contains 350 burial mounds and prehistoric monuments such as the the Cursus, Woodhenge and Durrington Walls. Part of this landscape is also managed by the National Trust.

Avebury is the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world. The site includes Windmill Hill, the West Kennet Long Barrow, the West Kennet and Beckhampton Avenues, the Sanctuary, Silbury Hill (the largest prehistoric mound in Europe),  the West Kennet Palisaded Enclosures, and important barrows.

The event is  from 10am to 6pm on April 18th and tickets cost £35 (includes refreshments).  Booking via English Heritage is essential: 0870 333 1181.

What is World heritage Day ?

World Heritage Day 18th April 2012 – Get Involved!

This year’s theme has been chosen to mark the 40th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which was adopted in 1972. The focus will be on “World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the Role of Local Communities”.

This special day offers an opportunity to celebrate local heritage all over the world! Why not get involved … there’s any number of things you could do to celebrate World Heritage Day 2012 …

  • Provide free admission to your heritage site
  • Publicise your site in local newspapers or radio
  • Hang World Heritage Day banners on your local sites
  • Organise a public talk or lecture on your local heritage
  • Put together an exhibition celebrating your local heritage
  • Award a prize to soemone who has made an outstanding contribution to your local heritage
  • Inaugurate a recently restored monument
  • Get the kids involved with tours or treasure hunts

World Heritage Day (International Day for Monuments & Sites) was created in 1982 by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments & Sites) and was later approved at the UNESCO General Conference in 1983.
Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle News Blog Blog

Stonehenge News Flash: Stonehenge byways to remain open

22 11 2011

A PLANNING inspector has ruled that byways surrounding Stonehenge will remain open.

The decision follows inquiries into proposals to close the byways as well as parts of the A344 and the inspector has decided that although the road will close, the byways should remain open.

English Heritage plans to return the area to grass as part of plans for a new visitors’ centre at Airman’s Corner.

Planning inspector Alan Boyland said: “I accept that Wiltshire has a considerably greater length of byways than any other county. This is not however, in itself, a reason for allowing a further loss for recreational motor vehicle users.

“In this case, the loss of a further 7km, particularly given the strategic importance of those routes, and without similar alternative routes being available, would in my view be significantly detrimental to the current users.”

At the inquiry, Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon objected to the proposals to close the byways as he said it is a violation of his human rights not to be able to access the area, particularly during Pagan ceremonies such as celebrations of the solstices and equinox.

Mr Pendragon said: “It appears that the inspector has erred on the side of common sense and found himself in agreement with the points made.”

The new visitor centre has got planning permission and despite funding problems English Heritage hopes the it can be completed by 2013.


Sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Company –

Merlin @ Stonehenge

Inquiry into Stonehenge A344 closure plans

26 06 2011

Plans to close the main road east of Stonehenge and return it to grass are being scrutinised at a public inquiry.

English Heritage wants to stop traffic from travelling close to the stones and

An aerial view of Stonehenge without the A344 road

An aerial view of Stonehenge without the A344 road

“restore the dignity” of the World Heritage Site by closing the A344.

Those opposed include chief druid Arthur Pendragon who has argued that it would give English Heritage a monopoly on access to the site.

The inquiry in Salisbury, Wiltshire, begins on Wednesday.

In June 2010 Wiltshire Council granted planning permission for a new visitors centre at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles (2km) west of Stonehenge.

Grassed over

Under the current scheme, the existing car park and visitor facilities at the stones will be removed and the area “returned to grass”.

English Heritage has said it will be necessary to close the A344 between Stonehenge Bottom and Byway 12 and close part of the B3086.

A new roundabout will replace the current Airman’s Corner junction to cope with the increased traffic caused by the road closures.

The Longbarow Roundabout on the A303 will also be improved.

English Heritage said it believed “everyone agrees that Stonehenge’s landscape setting is severely compromised by the intrusion of roads and traffic”.

Mr Pendragon said he was strongly opposed to the proposed traffic regulation order to restrict motorised vehicles on the remaining A344 west of Stonehenge and on two nearby byways.

He said: “We will not shrink from our responsibilities to ensure that future generations can enjoy the environs of Stonehenge and the World Heritage site without being excluded for fiscal reasons.”

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ –

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

£5.5million announced for Stonehenge project

5 04 2011

AN extra £5.5million to help transform the Stonehenge landscape was announced this morning.  Should be enough to install a new coffee machine.

On a visit to the monument, Roads Minister Mike Penning said the government has agreed to give £3.5million to close the A344 junction with the A303 and improve the Long Barrow roundabout to cope with extra traffic.

The work will include resurfacing a mile-long stretch of the A303 with a ‘low noise’ road surface so visitors to the stones should not be able to hear the passing traffic.

Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose said English Heritage will be allowed to take £2million from its reserves to put towards the £27.5million it needs to move the visitor centre to Airman’s Corner and install a road train system to take visitors to the stones.

Chief executive Simon Thurley said the organisation is now just £3million short of its target and hopes to raise this from private sources such as trusts and charitable funds.

A public inquiry will be needed to authorise the permanent road closure.

But Dr Thurley said: “I am confident that we will be able to start work next year.”

If all goes well, English Heritage says the entire project could be completed by spring 2014.


Is it enough ?

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

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