Stonehenge tunnel plans could be revived

25 04 2014

Tunnel beneath Stonehenge could be reconsidered as part of plans to ease traffic congestion

Plans for a 1.3 mile road tunnel beneath the site and bypass have been proposed before but were dropped in 2007 due to the estimated £470 million cost

Plans for a 1.3 mile road tunnel beneath the site and bypass have been proposed before but were dropped in 2007 due to the estimated £470 million cost Photo: ALAMY

Plans to build a road tunnel under Stonehenge could be revived as the Government looks to ease bottlenecks on some of Britain’s most congested stretches of road.

A study to be completed this summer will consider whether a dual carriageway or underground tunnel could solve the traffic problem caused by drivers slowing down to admire one of Britain’s most famous world heritage sites.

Plans for a 1.3 mile road tunnel beneath the site and bypass have been proposed before but were dropped in 2007 due to the estimated £470 million cost.

Yesterday, the Government outlined detailed plans for a “feasibility study” which will examine all possibilities for easing congestion along the route.

It pledged to deliver its final proposals in this year’s Autumn Statement along with the findings of five similar road-widening proposals on the A27 corridor, the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth, Trans-Pennine routes and two areas of the A1 around Newcastle.

Countryside campaigners attacked the plans which they claimed would scar beauty spots by laying extra tarmac along stretches of land which have remained untouched since Roman times.

Plans to widen the A27 include parts of the South Downs, Britain’s newest national park, while parts of the Norfolk Broads national park and the Northumberland coast could be affected under plans for the A47 and A1, they said.

The A303/A30/A358 corridor, which forms the main route from London to the south west, was highlighted by ministers last summer as one of six areas where solutions were urgently needed for the country’s most “notorious and long standing” congestion hot spots.

The A303 in particular is frequently gridlocked during summer weekends at a number of points where the dual carriageway narrows to a single lane, bringing holiday traffic to a standstill.

The feasibility study will “look to initially build on work done to date on potential proposals” rather than drawing up new solutions, beginning several plans for new stretches of dual carriageway including a 12km passage from Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge).

But the study will also “draw upon” work from a range of other projects including historic plans to tunnel beneath the prehistoric monument, with sources insisting all options are on the table.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England said several of the spots under examination, including Stonehenge, are only congested at certain times of year and do not merit major development.

Ralph Smyth, senior transport campaigner for the CPRE, said: “The traffic [at Stonehenge] hasn’t increased in the last 10 years and it does not justify the huge cost of a tunnel.”

A long tunnel would at least be preferable to a dual carriageway at the surface, which could cause the historic site to lose its world heritage status, he added.

Last month John Glen, Conservative MP for Salisbury, said a tunnel was the “only realistic” solution to protect Stonehenge while solving traffic problems which he said had turned the stretch into the “devil’s highway”.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said the six studies would “develop solutions to some of the most notorious and  long-standing hot spots on the national road network.”

An English Heritage spokesman said: “We want to make certain the necessary improvements to the A303 are delivered in a way that will ensure the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.”

By , Transport Correspondent: Full article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10783496/Stonehenge-tunnel-plans-could-be-revived.html

The Stonehenge News Blog





Row over Stonehenge visitor centre continues

15 01 2013

A TOUR operator has waded into the row over the £27million improvement project at Stonehenge, saying that while some operators may bypass the stones the “vast majority” are welcoming the transformation.
Stonehenge-Private -Viewing-Access-Tours-2012 (25)

The new development – involving a ten-minute shuttle from the new visitor centre being built 2km from the stones – will require a significantly extended visit time for tour operators.

Some guides fear the plans have been ill-thought out and that the two-hour stop recommended by English Heritage will put tourists off as many have limited time and want to “see as much as possible” in their packed daily itineraries.

But Ralph Bennett, director of Tours International, who has brought visitors to the iconic site for the last 25 years, said they only spend a short while at the site because the current facilities are inadequate.

He said: “Parking is problematic, our clients have to queue and there is nowhere to sit and eat under cover. Yes, we currently fit two or three destinations into a one-day tour, but Stonehenge is most definitely the star attraction.

“The transformation being made by English Heritage will address these problems and enable us to offer Stonehenge either as a day out in its own right or as part of a two-stop tour; and a two-hour visit will be about right.

“The vast majority of us are embracing the future, which will at long last mean we can properly showcase one of our most iconic and fascinating visitor attractions to tourists from around the world.”

Article by our local experts: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Stonehenge project under fire

10 01 2013

TOUR guides who bring thousands of visitors to Stonehenge every year have blasted the £27million improvement project currently under way. (Salisbury Journal)

Stonehenge They predict it will mean some tours will bypass the stones in favour of visiting elsewhere.

The new development will see tourists arriving at the visitor centre, 2km away, and either taking a ten-minute shuttle to the stones or walking there.

English Heritage says visitors will enjoy a “much quieter and greener experience”

and are recommending tour operators plan a “dwell time” of at least two hours for groups to “fully appreciate and enjoy the enhanced experience”.

But tour guides say they only allow for an hour at the site, and extending this would prevent them from offering tours that take in visits to three or four places, such as Windsor, Bath and Salisbury, on the same day.

Don Cross, managing director of Wessexplore, said: “Tourists from all over the world often have limited time on their expensive programmes and wish to see as much as possible in their visit.

“This system with ‘landtrains’ will physically not be able to deliver this kind of service.”

Other concerns include the lack of shelter by the stones and the “escape back to the coach” option no longer being available if the weather is bad.

Chief executive of VisitWiltshire, David Andrews, said that while visitor numbers may drop in the short term, there was a “fantastic opportunity” for Wiltshire and Salisbury to encourage people to stay in the county for longer.

He said: “At present, coach tours stay for as little as a couple of minutes at Stonehenge but with the much bigger and richer experience being offered by English Heritage, there’s a much greater chance that people will visit Wiltshire and Salisbury and stay. Stonehenge is iconic enough that coach operators have to include it and they will have to change their programme.”

Full article in the Salisbury Journal:  http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/

Merlin says ” I have many tour guides across the country making the same comments”

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Improvements to A303 Stonehenge World Heritage Site

1 11 2012

Work which will allow visitors to enjoy an improved experience when visiting the Stonehenge World Heritage Site will start on the A303 in Wiltshire on Monday, 5 November.

Stonehenge road improvementsThe six month scheme will involve improvements to the Longbarrow roundabout at the junction of the A360 and A303. This will allow the closure of the A344, which runs next to the Stonehenge monument.

Highways Agency project sponsor, Mark Arberry, said: “This is an important contribution to the long term management plan for Stonehenge to improve the setting of the monument and ensure its preservation as an iconic World Heritage Site. “The proposed improvements to the northern and eastern approaches to the roundabout will accommodate changes in traffic flows following the A344 closure and the centre of the roundabout itself will be moved.”

New lanes will be added to the roundabout to take the extra traffic caused by the closure of the A344 and the centre of the roundabout itself will be realigned.

English Heritage has been fully consulted during planning for the scheme and an archaeologist will be on site during the excavation work.

Traffic signals will be used for minor advanced works on the A360 north of the roundabout for one week between 9am and 3pm from the 29 October. The main work will require lane closures on the approaches to Longbarrow Roundabout for the duration of the work with a temporary 40mph speed limit in place.. The A360 south of Longbarrow will be closed for up to eight days and nights on dates to be confirmed during either February or March. Clearly signed diversion routes will be in operation using the A345 or the A36 dependant on journey destinations.

The scheme has been planned to cause the least possible disruption but road users are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.

Traffic updates: http://www.fleetdirectory.co.uk/

Stonehenge news blog sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.com
F
ollow us on Twitter for updates: https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin at Stonehenge

 





Distracted motorists have most accidents passing Stonehenge

14 09 2012

Distracted motorists have more accidents passing Stonehenge than any other British landmark, a new study found

Be careful driving past Stonehenge. It's the landmark most likely to distract motorists. Photo: Alamy

Be careful driving past Stonehenge. It’s the landmark most likely to distract motorists. Photo: Alamy

Distracted motorists have more accidents passing Stonehenge than any other British landmark, a new study found.

Over a third of drivers, 34 per cent, have had a prang or near miss in the UK as a result of taking their eyes off the road to admire a view.

And an admiring 14 per cent have slammed on the brakes to get a longer look – typically reducing their speed by 27 mph.

Accidents resulting from these distractions cause an average 413.56 pounds of damage each time, the study by insurance firm MORE TH>N found.

A quarter of motorists, 26 per cent, have been distracted by the pre-historic monument of Stonehenge near Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Rubber-neckers there typically take their eyes of the road three times, each for 3.74 seconds.

This mean motorists – doing 40 mph – could drive past for 200 metres without paying attention to the road.

A careless 13 per cent of those who were distracted by Stonehenge have crashed or almost crashed as a result, the study of 2,000 motorists found.

The Angel of the North, in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, is the second most dangerous landmark and the Blackpool Tower, in Lancs, third.

A captivated 18 per cent and 12 per cent of motorists find their eyes drifting towards these sites as they pass.

Just over one in ten of these drivers, 11 per cent, have had or nearly had an accident at these two beauty spots.

The top ten also includes the Scottish Highlands, the House of Parliament, Windsor Castle, Tower Bridge, and Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Cheddar Gorge and Severn Bridge complete the list.

Motorist Jason Richardson, from Southampton, Hants, said he often admires the view as he drives around the country for work.

The sales director, 32, said: “I spend my life on the road visiting customers and it can be incredibly boring looking at miles of tarmac on the motorways.

“So when you see a spectacular view or a landmark you have read about or seen on TV it is hard to keep your eyes on the road.

“I have driven past Stonehenge and the Angel of the North and had to settle for a peek because I didn’t have time to stop.”

Janet Connor, from MORE TH>N, said: “Travel guides, friends and family often encourage us to take the scenic route.

“But until now the perils of admiring the world beyond the windscreen have not been fully explored.

“The UK is blessed with some amazing sights but motorists need to keep their eyes on the road and resist the lure of staring at them while driving.

“To avoid having an accident, park-up and enjoy the view safely.”

Top ten accident hostpots.

1. Stonehenge, Wiltshire

2. Angel of the North, Gateshead

3. Blackpool Tower, Blackpool

4. Scottish Highlands (towards Glencoe)

5. Big Ben/Houses of Parliament, London

6. Windsor Castle, Windsor

7. Tower Bridge, London

8. Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

9. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

10. Severn Bridge, Aust-Chepstow

Link Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/9540840/Distracted-motorists-have-most-accidents-passing-Stonehenge.html

Sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Stonehenge Stone Circle News Blog





MEGALITHOMANIA TOURS 2012

28 03 2012

The Ultimate Conference for Megalithomaniacs 2012

Join us for an incredible selection of outdoor Antiquarian delights this May. Megalithomania invites you to explore, ponder, dowse, and be captivated by the incredible stones from antiquity. Over the years we have increased our tour schedule around the conference and now in 2012 we have eight days of tours and other activities for you to enjoy. From the heights of Glastonbury Tor, to the remote stone avenues of Dartmoor, the Olde English landscape still has lots to offer. With special guest experts joining us for each tour, who know their landscape well. For this year we introduce our new ‘Megalithic Cornwall‘ Tour with Glenn & Cameron Broughton. Save £42 if you book the ‘Full Ticket’ that includes the Cornwall Tour….

NEW: Megalithic Cornwall Tour Here


Coach travel included in price of all tours. Meet at Abbey Car Park. Bring packed lunch
. Info & Booking:             07779 113452

Friday 11th May: £55 (SOLD OUT)
Stonehenge with Robin Heath – 4pm – 9pm

Private Access to Stonehenge, with excursion to the Cursus, several Tumuli, Durrington Walls and Woodhenge. (inc private access to Stonehenge)

Monday 14th May:£50
Avebury & the Valley of the White Horse – 9am – 5pm

An exclusive tour around megalithic Avebury, the largest stone circle in the world, West Kennett Long Barrow, Silbury Hill and more with Peter Knight.

Tuesday 15th May: £50
Sacred Avalon Walking Tour – 9am – 1pm
with Anthony Thorley
Visiting the Tor, Glastonbury Abbey, Michael & Mary energy lines
Tuesday Afternoon: (inc in above price)
Cadbury Castle & Burrow Mump – 2.30pm – 6pm
A guided visit to two of the most impressive earthworks in Somerset

Wednesday 16th May: £50
Dartmoor Stone Circles and Avenues – 8am – 6pm

A five-hour walk around the incredible landscape of megalithic Dartmoor, Devon, visiting stone circles, megalithic avenues, menhirs and tracking earth energies. 90 min drive both ways. Bring packed lunch.
(NOTE: if you are going on the Cornwall Tour, you must be on this tour)

Link: http://www.megalithomania.co.uk/

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ http://www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “This conference is wirth every penny and a good excuse to spend a couple of days in Glastonbury”

Merlin at Stonehenge





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2012 – June 20th / June 21st

15 02 2012

English Heritage are again expected to provide “Managed Open Access” to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Please help to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the conditions (see below).

Please note that a high volume of traffic is anticipated in the Stonehenge area on the evening of Wednesday 20th June. The car park (enter off the A303 from the roundabout – it’s signposted) will open at around 7pm on Wenesday 20th June, and close at around noon on Thursday 21st June.
Note that last admission to the car park for vehicles is at around 6am. Access Access to the stones themselves is expected to be from around 8.30pm on Wednesday 20th June until 8am on Thursday 21st June.

Stonehenge Summer Solstice

There’s likely to be casual entertainment from samba bands & drummers but no amplified music is allowed. When you visit Stonehenge for the Solstice, please remember it is a Sacred Place to many and should be respected. Van loads of police have been present in the area in case of any trouble, but generally a jovial mood prevails. Few arrests have been made in previous years, mostly in relation to minor drug offences.

Facilities Toilets and drinking water are available and welfare is provided by festival welfare services. There are normally one or two food and drink vans with reasonable prices but huge queues, all well away from the stones themselves.

Sunrise is at around 5.14am.- in 2012

Conditions Rules include no camping, no dogs, no fires or fireworks, no glass bottles, no large bags or rucksacks, and no climbing onto the stones. Please use the bags given free on arrival and take them out, filled with your litter, to the skips provided.

Please respect the rules so that we’re all able to enjoy the solstice morning at Stonehenge for years to come.

Getting there: Where possible, please travel to Stonehenge using public transport. The local bus company, Wilts & Dorset, will be running a service from Salisbury railway and bus stations to Stonehenge over the Solstice period. This bus service will commence at 1830 hours (6.30pm) on Wednesday 20th June and run regularly until 0115 hours (1.15am) on Thursday 21st June. A service taking people back to Salisbury will start again at 0400 hours (4am) and run frequently until 0945 hours (9.45am). Access to Stonehenge from the bus drop off point is through the National Trust farmland. More information will be here when available.  Needless to say this service is extremly busy, please allow plenty of time.

From London: Our friends at the ‘Stonehenge Tour Company’ will be offering their usual small group unobtrusive tours to the solstice from London.  There are two services departing London at 4pm and 1am – Click here: ‘Stonehenge Summer Solstice Tour 2012’
Stonehenge summer solstice tours

LINKS: http://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/stonehenge/2011/
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/explore/summer-solstice-2011/:
http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

TWITTER: Follow Stonehenge on twitter.  Get all the latest news and Solstice updates – http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

FACEBOOK: Join Stonehenge on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stonehenge.tours

See you all at the Summer Solstice, yipee……………..

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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