Wiltshire: Land of mystery and home to Stonehenge

1 04 2013

Home to Stonehenge and packed with active opportunities for all ages, Wiltshire is a beautiful county

The Unesco world heritage site of Stonehenge was erected more than 4,000 years ago and is open to the public Photograph: Frank Lukasseck

The Unesco world heritage site of Stonehenge was erected more than 4,000 years ago and is open to the public Photograph: Frank Lukasseck

Best known for its myths and legends, Wiltshire offers the setting for a perfect break – a mixture of ancient history and outdoor pursuits. It is home to Stonehenge and Avebury, two breathtaking sites erected more than 4,000 years ago. But mysterious artefacts aside, you can also cycle, skydive, canoe, golf and horse-ride your way around this part of the world.

Speculation on the reason Stonehenge was built ranges from human sacrifice to astronomy, and the world heritage site is a must-see. Unless you visit on the summer or winter solstice there’s a charge to walk around the magnificent stones. However you can visit the world’s largest stone circle at Avebury for free. If you want to see Stonehenge from a unique vantage point, Heritage Cycle Tours’ accompanied ride from Salisbury arrives over the crest of a hill, for a stunning view of the stones, before passing through the iron age settlement of Old Sarum.

For an even bigger thrill, see Stonehenge from 3,500ft with Skydive Netheravon, located between Salisbury and Marlborough. Beginners can experience freefall in tandem, jump with an automatic parachute or take a learners’ skydive course.

You don’t have to head skywards to experience Wiltshire in a special way. Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Pewsey Vale Riding Centre provides a horse ride to remember. And at Peddles and Paddles you can hire kayaks or Canadian canoes to travel down the canal to Devizes Wharf, where you’ll find the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Museum.

Alternatively, experience this fine region at a slower pace. Climb the 332 steps to the base of Britain’s tallest spire at the gothic Salisbury Cathedral. You’ll be treated to views of the medieval scaffold of the spire and across the Wiltshire countryside. Don’t leave without visiting the cathedral’s Chapter House: it’s home to one of the four original Magna Cartas.

And if you judge an area by its golfing opportunities, Wiltshire may be your dream destination: Cumberwell Park Golf Club offers rolling countryside, lakes and woodland; North Wilts Golf Club encourages players of all abilities with no tee booking required; and Tidworth Garrison Golf Club, a tree-lined, downland course for private members, was described by golfing legend Peter Alliss as “a gem of a course on the edge of Salisbury Plain”.

So whether you spend your Wiltshire trip investigating the ancient past, or trying an exciting activity or two, a break in this outstanding part of the country will make an unforgettable impression.

Where to revive

Eat: The Harrow at Little Bedwyn boasts accolades including AA Restaurant of the Year (2011) and a Michelin star. The focus is on food from artisan growers, fishermen and farmers.

Drink: Savour a pint in atmospheric surroundings at the charming Cloisters, an “olde worlde” pub minutes from Salisbury Cathedral. Or, for a more rural experience, head to the village of Market Lavington for a real ale at the Green Dragon.

Sleep: Extend your Stonehenge experience by spending the night in a luxurious “glamping pod” at Stonehenge Campsite in Salisbury (and enjoy eight real ale and foodie pubs within a four mile radius), or chill out at Whatley Manor, a beautifully restored Cotswold manor house hotel and lavish spa.

visitwiltshire.co.uk

Full article and soure: guardian.co.uk





Stonehenge transformation work well on schedule

20 02 2013

Work to transform Stonehenge, which officially started on site in July last year, is progressing well.

This year, the centenary of the 1913 Ancient Monuments Act, will culminate in the opening of English Heritage’s new Stonehenge exhibition galleries and visitor centre at the end of the year.

Work on the Stonehenge site is due to be completed by the end of this year

Work on the Stonehenge site is due to be completed by the end of this year

Building work is currently taking shape at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles to the west and out of view of the stones, where the new galleries and facilities will be located.

The sensitively designed building will comprise two “pods” which will house museum-quality exhibitions, a spacious café with indoor and outdoor seating, a bigger shop and dedicated education space

Main contractor Vinci Construction is about to erect a ’bird-cage’ scaffold which will be used to install the undulating canopy roof, a distinctive feature of the building’s design, while a visitor car park and coach park, with capacity for 500 and 30 vehicles respectively, have been laid out and are clearly visible.

Precious objects on loan from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum are currently being conserved by English Heritage staff ready for display.

They will form the centrepiece of the permanent exhibition at the new building, helping to tell the story of Stonehenge in vivid detail.

Next month volunteers will help with an archaeological experiment at Old Sarum Castle near Salisbury where prototypes of Neolithic houses excavated at Durrington Walls will be built. The lessons learned from this experiment will inform the reconstruction of three Neolithic houses at the outdoor gallery of the new visitor centre in Spring 2014, offering visitors a glimpse of the lives of prehistoric people.

The A344 road between Stonehenge Bottom and Byway 12 will be closed at the end of June, once the new roundabout at Airman’s Corner is operational. Work will follow to remove the fences along this section of road and the road surface itself will be removed and grassed over.

No part of the Stonehenge operation will close while the works are being carried out, and the switchover to the new visitor centre will happen overnight. Until then, access to the existing Stonehenge car park will continue along the A344 but from the west via the A360 and Airman’s Corner.

The date of the opening at the end of 2013 will be announced later in the year.

Full article in the Wiltshire Times: http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/10237112.Stonehenge_transformation_work_well_on_schedule/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
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





Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

11 12 2012

English Heritage will once again allow people access to Stonehenge for the celebration of the Winter Solstice, the first day of the winter season. Sunrise is at 8.09am on Friday 21 December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Entrance is free and will be available from roughly 7.30am until 9am, when the site will close – before re-opening as per usual to paying visitors at 9.30am.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2011

The exact time of the Solstice this year, when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, is at 11.11am on 21 December, however it is generally accepted that the celebration of this special event takes place at dawn and therefore access is permitted at Stonehenge earlier that morning.

Over the last few years, the popularity of Winter Solstice has grown considerably, with many families and young people joining the druid and pagan community in the celebrations. Two years ago, 2,000 people attended Winter Solstice and in 2011 that figure more than doubled to a record 5,000 people.

Peter Carson, Head of Stonehenge, said: “We are delighted to offer people a warm welcome to Stonehenge this Winter Solstice but as facilities are limited, we are not able to accommodate any more people than last year. We don’t have the luxury of using nearby fields in winter for parking and encourage people to make use of the special bus service running from Salisbury. We are working very closely with the local authorities and agencies plus the druid and pagan community to ensure that access to Stonehenge will once again be a success.”

Additional notes
Access may not be possible if the ground conditions are considered poor or if it is felt that access might result in severe damage to the monument.
Public have in previous years used byway 12 for parking on the morning of 21st December. Additional car parking for approximately 800 cars will be available on the A344 (which will be closed to through traffic), plus the Stonehenge Visitor Centre Car Park.

Connected:
New theory of a Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment –Solstice and the Winter Solstice leaflet (ISBN 9780957093010)
(Background on the Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment theory is here)
Countdown to doomsday. Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

Link source: http://www.sarsen.org/2012/11/winter-solstice-at-stonehenge-2012.html

Winter Solstice updates: Follow Stonhenge on Twitter –  https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin says “Respect the Stones”

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Stonehenge Project Update. December 2012

8 12 2012

As Stonehenge gears up for winter, we wanted to let you know we’re making good progress with the new visitor centre at Airman’s Corner. This time next year, work will have been completed and we’ll be busy preparing for the opening.

As you can see from the photo below, the visitor centre and the car park are  taking shape behind the hoardings. The building should be water-tight by Christmas and a ‘bird cage’ scaffold will be used in the New Year to help install the delicate canopy roof.

Aerial view of Airman's Corner

Aerial view of Airman’s Corner

We’ve taken great care with the design and construction of the building – disruption to the ground has been kept to a minimum and we have used locally sourced materials wherever possible.

The new visitor centre taking shape

The new visitor centre taking shape

At Last, a Proper Place to Tell Stonehenge’s Story

A visit to the stones will, for the first time, be enhanced by special exhibition galleries curated by English Heritage experts which will tell the story of Stonehenge and its relationship with the wider landscape. They will feature important objects excavated near Stonehenge kindly loaned by the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

Curators discussing the objects on loan from the two local museums

Curators discussing the objects on loan from the two local museums

Neolithic Builders Needed

One exciting feature of the outdoor gallery is the reconstruction of three Neolithic houses based on rare evidence of buildings unearthed near Stonehenge. We need volunteers to help us build three prototype houses at Old Sarum Castle in spring 2013 and then build the actual houses at the new visitor centre in autumn 2013. To find out more or to register your interest, please go to Stonehenge volunteering.

An attempt at reconstructing a Neolithic house in East Sussex

An attempt at reconstructing a Neolithic house in East Sussex

Business As Usual at Stonehenge

The construction work is not visible from Stonehenge at all; throughout the construction period Stonehenge will continue to welcome visitors 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.

When the new visitor centre and its captivating galleries open in winter 2013, we will start dismantling the existing facilities and restore the landscape around the stones. We look forward to keeping you posted as these exciting developments progress.

Computer-generated image of the new visitor centre when completed

Computer-generated image of the new visitor centre when completed

Road Improvements

We understand the closure of the A344 has raised some concerns – it’s a vital change to help create a more tranquil and dignified setting for Stonehenge, but we are working hard to mitigate the impact. The Highways Agency is carrying out works to improve the capacity of Longbarrow Roundabout to cope with the diverted traffic (see details below) and the section of the A344 between Stonehenge Bottom and Byway 12 will only close when these improvements are complete in May 2013. The rest of the road will remain open until we move operations to Airman’s Corner.

Work is also underway to improve the Airman’s Corner roundabout. During the construction, we’re keeping the use of traffic lights to a minimum but some are needed to ensure safe traffic flow.

Longbarrow Roundabout Roadworks (A303/A360 Junction)

The Highways Agency has started a six-month scheme to improve the Longbarrow roundabout at the junction of the A360 and A303. The proposed improvements to the northern and eastern approaches to the roundabout will accommodate changes in traffic flows following the planned A344 closure in May 2013. 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.

During the works, there will be lane closures on the northern and eastern approaches to Longbarrow roundabout and 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 in either February or March 2013. Diversion routes will be in operation using the A345 or the A36 depending on journey destinations.

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding the project please email English Heritage atstonehenge.project@english-heritage.org.uk

Link source: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk

Stonhenge News Blog sponsored by Stonehenge Guided Tours – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Visit Wiltshire. New look website aims to boost tourism in Wiltshire

19 10 2012

Discover a county rich in heritage

VisitWiltshire has launched a brand new tourism website, http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk  The redesign of the site has focused on building a portal which showcases the best of Wiltshire tourism to give visitors a user-experience that is inspirational, informative, engaging and welcoming.

VisitWiltshire is forecasting that the new website will increase the number of visitors to http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk by 30 per cent.

The new website will be promoted extensively to VisitWiltshire’s target UK and international markets through a number of digital marketing initiatives launching in October – including, for the first time ever, video advertising on the London Underground.

Fiona Errington, marketing manager for VisitWiltshire, said: “Our aim in developing this site has been to raise awareness of Wiltshire’s fantastic tourism offer, inspiring new visitors, and encouraging repeat visitors to stay longer and explore the whole of the county.

Visit Wiltshire Website Extract
Take some time out and escape to Wiltshire this year. Find out more about this mysterious and beautiful part of the UK, let us be your guide for all the information you will need.

Stonehenge & Avebury

Wiltshire is proud to be the home of Stonehenge and Avebury which form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and our mystical landscape.

Take a tour of Stonehenge and discover more about the neolithic man and the landscape they shaped. At Avebury, walk amongst the stones, visit the Alexander Keiller Museum to find out about the arcaeological excavations Keiller did in the 1930s and visit the Avebury Manor and Garden, nearby West Kennet Long Barrow.

Link: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/explore/stonehenge-and-avebury
Link: http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/9993296.New_look_website_aims_to_boost_tourism_in_Wiltshire/

Merlin says “Great to see Visit Wiltshire have launched a new web site, which will  help tourism in the West”

News blog sponsored by “Stonehenge Guided Tours” – www.StonehengeTours.com

Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge News. Read all about it!

10 10 2012
Once again Stonehenge and Wiltshire is in the spotlight.  The recent revealing 3D laser resilts have uncovered some fascinating facts.  Stonehenge is being talked about across the world which can only be good for South West toursim.  Here is a small selection of Stonehenge Newslinks:

Stonehenge secrets revealed by laser scan
BBC News
Researchers using laser technology at Stonehenge have uncovered evidence which they say shows the importance of the midwinter sunset to its creators. The scan by English Heritage showed significant differences in how various stones were shaped and
 

BBC News
Stonehenge dressed to impress
Stuff.co.nz
A cutting-edge laser scan of Stonehenge has shown how Britain’s enigmatic neolithic monument was built to enhance the dramatic passage of sunlight through the circle of stones at midsummer and midwinter. The slabs were intended to appear at their best 
 
Stonehenge was an ‘art gallery’ suggests new study
TNT Magazine
Laser scans have revealed prehistoric carvings of axe heads, which are invisible to the naked eye. The surface of the 83 remaining stones was scanned using state-of-the-art 3D scanners. These recorded using billions of points of microtopographically. 

TNT Magazine
New Stonehenge secrets revealed
Evening Standard
Professor Clive Ruggles, emeritus professor of achaeo-astronomy at University of Leicester, said: “This extraordinary new evidence not only confirms the importance of the solstitial alignment at Stonehenge, but also show unequivocally that the formal  
Revealed: Early Bronze Age carvings suggest Stonehenge was a huge prehistoric art gallery
Stonehenge News Blog
A detailed laser-scan survey of the entire monument has discovered 72 previously unknown Early Bronze Age carvings chipped into five of the giant stones.

Evening Standard
Lasers find secrets of Stonehenge
This is Bath
They’ve dug under it, mapped it, photographed it and dated it, but a new laser scan of Stonehengehas told scientists even more things they didn’t already know about the ancient Wiltshire monument – including which way the monument ‘faced’. The scan  
The story of British art
The Guardian
From the earliest evocative stone structures at Skara Brae and Stonehenge to the disturbing 20th-century portraits by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, the art inspired by the British isles tells a truly spectacular story. Through painting, sculpture  
Midwinter Sun Link to Stonehenge – ITV News
Read Midwinter Sun Link to Stonehenge latest on ITV News. All the Tuesday 9th October 2012 news.#
Midwinter sun linked to Stonehenge – Stonehnege Tours. The latest 3D laser technology has revealed new evidence of the importance of the midwinter sunset to the ancient creators of Stonehenge. 
Laser uncovers new Stonehenge evidence (From Salisbury Journal)
NEW evidence to suggest the importance of the solstices at Stonehenge to its creators has been discovered by English Heritage. A 3D laser scan was used to 
Blog Sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.Stonehengetours.comFor all the latest news on Stonehenge follow us on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

The Stonehenge News Blog

 





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





Your guide to the August night sky, Stonehenge Landscape, Wiltshire

1 08 2012

Stonehenge Landscape, Wiltshire.  Big, open skies are a defining feature of the countryside and on a clear night you can see some 4,000 stars sparkling in our universe.

Situated on the edge of Salisbury Plain, the prehistoric ceremonial landscape of Stonehenge occupies a large, sparsely populated area of ancient downland ideal for star gazing. The monuments here are directly connected to the skies above, with stones aligned to moonrises and moonsets, in addition to the Midsummer and Midwinter solstices. Keep an ear out for the Stone Curlew’s haunting ‘coo-ree’ bird call, particularly in autumn.  Terrain and safety: The route to the star-gazing spot follows regular tracks through the fields. Grassy areas are fairly smooth; off the worn route grass can be tall and tussocky. Be aware that the Cursus Barrows field is grazed by cattle. Byway 12 has some large potholes, becoming deep puddles after rain.
 Location: 2 miles west of Amesbury, near the junction of the A303 and A344. Stonehenge car park closes in the evening, but it is possible to park nearby. Grid ref: SU120420

Your guide to the summer night sky, Stonehenge Landscape, Wiltshire
In prehistoric times the night sky would have looked very different. The stars were much clearer and stories about them were likely to have been included in a rich oral history, now lost. Today, light pollution makes it difficult to see all but the brightest stars (© Tony Evershed).  Enter a prehistoric ceremonial landscape: hundreds of monuments with physical and visual connections to each other, to the land and to the skies above. All this lies on the edge of Salisbury Plain, a large, sparsely populated area of downland good for star gazing.

The August skies are filled with all manner of interesting objects that can be viewed in dark sky conditions. Arrive before sunset to see the ancient earthworks at their best in slanting evening light. The banks of the 4,000-year-old Stonehenge Avenue can be seen leading north-east, away from the stone circle.
The Perseid meteor shower is set to peak around 12/13 August, but it’s well worth keeping an eye out for meteors any time from July 23 to August 22. The thin, crescent moon will be out of the way early, setting the stage for a potentially spectacular show.
For best viewing, pick a cloudless night and look to the northeast after midnight.
Overhead there is the summer triangle starting with Vega (a bright white star which is almost overhead, part of the constellation Lyra), Deneb to the left in Cygnus (the swan constellation) and Altair, south east in Sagitta/Aquila. These stars can be used as pointers to other stars. Go to Vega and look westward to find the bright reddish star Arcturus, part of Bootes the Kite. The pretty group of curved stars to the east of Arcturus is Corona Borealis, a cornet of stars. The Plough/Big Dipper is in the north west sky and becomes the tail and rear end of the Great Bear/ Ursa Major.
If the sky is dark and clear of any clouds you should be able to make out the Milky Way, a ribbon of millions of stars threading its way across the heavens. If you are using binoculars this really is a stunning sight.

Download the National Trust Stonehenge Guide (PDF) here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/servlet/file/store5/item479325/version1/w-walk-stonehenge_dark_skies2010.pdf
More Night walks: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/activities/walking/view-page/item479320/

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

Merlin says “Neolithic Britons might have held objects of the sky as gods, and predicting the will of the gods was something essential to their existence, thus mixing the concepts we distinguish from each other today – religion and astronomy.”

Merlin @ Stonehenge








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