Sights to visit around Stonehenge.

4 03 2016

While Stonehenge is by far and away the superstar of southern England, and no visit to Wiltshire is complete without touring it, Stonehenge is in fact just one of many ancient sites in the area. Indeed, the surrounds of Stonehenge contain the most densely-grouped collection of neolithic sites and monuments within England – and more are being discovered all the time. It’s thought that the nearby settlement of Amesbury (believed to be the oldest in Britain) was a major cultural centre during the island’s ancient days. If you’ve got some time to spare during your Stonehenge trip, and want to take in some of the area’s other sights, here are a few suggestions:

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Within Walking/Cycling Distance Of Stonehenge – Woodhenge, Durrington Walls, The Cuckoo Stone

In all fairness, you can strike out in pretty much any direction from Stonehenge and hit archeological gold – although you may not always recognise it as such. Just be careful not to wander into the path of the military (who train on Salisbury Plain). If you’re cycling, be sure that you’re properly prepared for historically significant (but nonetheless unexpected) bumps and tumbles! Woodhenge, less than four miles from Stonehenge, is an odd sight at first glance. However, once you understand what you’re looking at, it becomes much more impressive. It’s thought that this was once a large burial mound with a complex system of banks and ditches (now eradicated through ploughing). Thousands of years ago, six concentric rings of wooden posts may have supported an enormous building. Today, the position of these posts are marked with stumps. It’s an atmospheric and very interesting place! A short walk away from Woodhenge is Durrington Walls – a recently discovered monument which in its heyday would have dwarfed Stonehenge. The ‘Walls’ were formed by lines of enormous stones, which could possibly have formed a processional way leading to Stonehenge itself. There’s not masses to see there now, but it’s still a lovely area! West of Woodhenge is the Cuckoo Stone – a sarsen boulder lying on its side. It was once a standing stone, the origins of which remain a matter of debate. It’s an enigmatic piece of history in a very atmospheric location.

Salisbury – Old Sarum, Salisbury Museum

Old Sarum is a wonderful visit for anyone with an interest in history. It’s the site of Salisbury’s oldest settlement – a hilltop fort commanding absolutely incredible views over Wiltshire. There’s an iron age hillfort to walk around, the remains of a castle to admire, and an absolutely breathtaking panorama which will give the camera-happy everything they could ever dream of. There are also plenty of events put on by English Heritage throughout the year, giving people the opportunity to really step back in time! Down in Salisbury itself, the Salisbury Museum is packed full of fascinating finds from all over the county. It’s a well laid-out and beautifully explained museum, with some truly intriguing exhibits. You can find it just opposite Salisbury Cathedral – which it itself a beautiful and interesting building.

A Short Drive Away – Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill

A 40 minute or so drive from Stonehenge is Avebury. Managed by the National Trust, this ancient stone circle sits in a Neolithic landscape incorporating avenues of standing stones, a henge, and an enormous stone circle in which a village was once situated. The stone circle itself is the largest in the world, and contains two smaller circles. A short walk away is West Kennet long barrow, which can be entered by those who are neither claustrophobic nor fearful of our long-dead ancestors! Then, of course, there are the round barrows with which the landscape is littered, and the curious structure of Silbury Hill. Silbury Hill is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe, and would have taken similar effort to construct as its contemporary pyramids in Egypt. It was clearly important to those who built it – although, unlike most barrows of its kind, it contains no burial. Its purposes remain perplexing, but its presence is both beautiful and fascinating! Anyone with an interest in Stonehenge and its ilk, particularly those who enjoy the mystery of the structure, will find much to whet their appetites at Avebury and Silbury!

There are Stonehenge tour companies who operate guided tours of the area and the Visit Wiltshire webiste lists the best ones.  If you want to explore the Stonehenge landscape with a local expert then we recommend ‘The Stonehenge Travel Company

The Stonehenge News Website





The Stonehenge Landscape Tour, introduced by Phil Harding: CBA Members’ Event

22 02 2015

Join Time Team favourite Phil Harding and expert guide Pat Shelley for a unique exploration of the Stonehenge landscape at the exclusive Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and English Heritage (EH) members’ event on Sunday 19th April 2015.

EH-Tour

The pair will be leading a walk through some of the often-overlooked enigmatic elements of the landscape, combining rich archaeological background with personal anecdotes and replica artefacts. The walk will take around an hour and a half, and highlights will include round barrows at nearby Fargo Woods and the Cursus barrow group, before visiting the Cursus itself. The culmination of the walk will see our group descending into Stonehenge Bottom before walking up the Avenue to Stonehenge.

CBA and EH members will meet at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre where they can enjoy complimentary refreshments Phil supporting the New YAC Dolls raising money for the Young Archaeologists' Clubbefore beginning the walk at 11.30am. Participants should wear suitable clothing and footwear for the walk, and be of a reasonable level of fitness. Please note that this is a walk around the wider Stonehenge landscape putting the monument into its context, and does not include access into the stones themselves.

Tickets for this CBA and EH members’ event are just £30 per head, and can be booked now via the English Heritage events booking line on: 0370 333 1183. Proceeds from the walk will go towards supporting the work of the Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC).

Phil Harding is best known and loved as the hat-wearing archaeologist from Channel 4’s Time Team. His expertise lies in© www.tripadvisor.com.au prehistory, and his personal experience and anecdotes – coupled with the opportunity to handle some of his beautiful handmade replica artefacts – will add a unique extra dimension to your walking tour.

Pat Shelley is an experienced independent guide, with years of experience of bringing Stonehenge and its landscape to life. Described on ‘TripAdvisor’ as “the ONLY way to see Stonehenge”, Pat is an engaging speaker who will be only to pleased to share his love of Stonehenge with you, and answer any questions that you might have.

Visit the Council for British Archaeology Website for full details.

Visit the English Heritage website if you are planning to visit Stonehenge

Stonehenge Guided Tours offer frequent tours and many also include ‘Stonehenge Inner Circle Access Tours

The Visit Wiltshire website lists local operators based in Salisbury offering Stonehenge tours

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Midwinter walk: Explore the ancient Stonehenge Landscape on the Winter Solstice with National Trust

5 12 2014

On the midwinter solstice, explore the ancient monuments of the Stonehenge landscape. This walk is around four and a half miles.

21st December 2014: Ancient ceremonial landscape of great archaeological and wildlife interest:Stonehenge Landscape

Within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, the National Trust manages 827 hectares (2,100 acres) of downland surrounding the famous stone circle.

Walking across the grassland, visitors can discover other prehistoric monuments, including the Avenue and King Barrow Ridge with its Bronze Age burial mounds.

Nearby, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows is another fascinating example of a prehistoric cemetery. While Durrington Walls hides the remains of a Neolithic village.

Today thanks to their extensive programme turning ploughed fields into pasture, you can explore the landscape and follow in the footsteps of the people who built and used Stonehenge.

Booking essential: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehenge-landscape/things-to-see-and-do/events/

National Trust Stonehenge Landscape Tours:  http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehenge-landscape/

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge experiment to be repeated with ‘lost’ stones

14 11 2014

Another attempt is to be made to solve the mystery of how the largest stones used to build Stonehenge were moved.

The experiment was first carried out in a BBC documentary in 1996

The experiment was first carried out in a BBC documentary in 1996

In 1996, a BBC TV programme aimed to find out how the stones for the largest trilithon were put into place, and how the lintel was placed on top.

Since then the concrete replicas have remained untouched and forgotten about at an army base on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

They have now been rediscovered and the experiment will be repeated.

Archaeologist Julian Richards is teaming up with farmer Tim Daw see if modern techniques are any more efficient.

Mr Daw, who farms at All Cannings, near Devizes, and who created the first “Neolithic” long barrow to be built in the UK for 5,500 years, also works part-time at Stonehenge.

He said one of the most popular questions asked by visitors is ‘how were the giant stones moved?’.

“When Julian Richards mentioned there was a life-sized replica of the largest stones at Stonehenge that were looking for a home that we could do some experiments on I said ‘let’s do it’.”

The 45-tonne replicas were used in the BBC documentary Secrets of Lost Empires: Stonehenge, which was broadcast in 1996.

They have remained at Larkhill Camp, about a mile from Stonehenge ever since.

The experiment was partially successful, but now new theories have emerged about how the stones may have been moved.

“The first thing is to collect the stones from Salisbury Plain where they have been languishing for the past 20 years and get them back to my farm,” said Mr Daw.

“Hopefully next year we’ll get some teams of people [to take part in the experiment]”

Mr Daw said different theories had now emerged about how the huge stones could have been moved.

“The experts certainly think they know more. Whether they actually do know more is an interesting question.

“Without trying all the wonderful ideas of how you do it Neolithic style, just using man power – no wheels, no draught animals, no machinery – we can’t tell what is practical and what is just fantasy.”

It is hoped the result of the experiment will be turned into another television programme to air next year.

Full story: BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-30041330

Merlin at Stonehenge
Stonehenge News Blog





Step back in time at Stonehenge this winter

14 11 2014

Visitors to Stonehenge are being invited to step through the doorways of its Neolithic houses and into prehistory this winter as expert-led events and demonstrations are offered for the first time.#

Full programme of events and demonstrations:

Making Musical instruments

Sat 15 – Sun 16 Nov & Sat 24 – Sun 25 Jan, 10am–4pm

See Corwen Broch as he creates instruments from natural materials and demonstrates the sounds

of the Neolithic period.

Prehistoric Pottery

Sat 22 – Sun 23 Nov and Sat 20 – Sun 21 Dec, 10am–4pm

Using a handling collection of replica pots, tools and artefacts, Graham Taylor will show you how to make your own pottery tool kit, decorate replica pots as well as how to fire them using authentic prehistoric methods.

Fire & Life

Sat 6 – Sun 7 Dec, Sat 10 – Sun 11 Jan and Sat 14 – Sun 15 Feb, 10am–4pm

Guy Hagg demonstrates all things essential to Neolithic life, from fire lighting, game preparation using flint tools, early cooking methods to making weapons, bone and antler tools and the everyday utensils used at this time.

Flint Knapping

Sat 8 – Sun 9 Nov, Sat 13 – Sun 14 Dec, Sat 17 – Sun 18 Jan and Sat 21 – Sun 22 Feb,  10am–4pm

Join expert Karl Lee, as he demonstrates how Neolithic flint tools were produced using authentic techniques and tools. See a Flint Knapper at work in the setting of Stonehenge’s Neolithic houses.

Basket Weaving

Sat 29 – Sun 30 Nov, 10am–4pm

Kim Creswell makes baskets using the primitive flint tools of the Neolithic age. See her work raw materials found in the landscape into a working basket in just one day.

Heaven & Earth

Sat 22 Nov, Sat 13 Dec, Sat 24 Jan and Sat 21 Feb, 5–6.30pm

Book onto one of these special evening tours learning about the stars and planetary movements and how early man may have utilised them. Over 12s only. Under 16s should be accompanied by an adult.  Booking required.*

Textile Demonstrations

Sat 31 Jan – Sun 1 Feb, Sat 28 Feb – Sun 1 Mar, 10am–4pm

Sally and Gareth Pointer will work with a variety of natural fabric crafts over these weekends including cord making, twining, looped weaving, netting and leatherwork. See bone and antler worked and discover how materials were used in the Neolithic period.

Secrets  of the Stones

Mon 16 – Fri 20 Feb, 10.30am–4.30pm

Bring the family this half-term to uncover the ancient past of these mysterious stones as we explore the history of their role in the lives of ancient man.

Bronze Casting

Sat 3 – Sun 4, Jan and Sat 7 – Sun 8 Feb, 10am–4pm

Watch demonstrations by Neil Burridge of the amazing Bronze Age casting, which helped primitive man to develop.

The Stone Age is being brought to life through a fascinating range of weekend demonstrations from the people who made the replica objects on display in the houses and the exhibition.

Visitors will understand how Neolithic people turned stones into essential every day tools and other natural materials into pots, musical instruments, clothes and baskets.

Watch Bronze Age casting and book onto our very special Heaven and Earth tours which will introduce you to the stars and how they were also essential tools of the Neolithic people living in and using the Stonehenge landscape.

Join Corwen Broch, musician and instrument maker, will create instruments from natural materials and demonstrates the sounds of the Neolithic.

And expert flint knapper Karl Lee will demonstrate how Neolithic flint tools were produced using authentic techniques and tools.

Get hands on with Neolithic pots as Graham Taylor uses a handling collection of replica pots, tools and artefacts to show you how to make your own pottery tool kit, decorate replica pots as well as how to fire them using authentic prehistoric methods.

Many of the replica pots you see in the Stonehenge visitor centre and Neolithic houses are made by Graham.

He says: “Pottery is one of the commonest finds from Neolithic and Bronze Age sites. There is far more to this prehistoric technology than meets the eye – the craftspeople who created the pottery of the Stonehenge landscape had a deep understanding of their materials and processes.

“The pots themselves formed part of the everyday lives of the people who made and used them.”

Guy Hagg, one of the volunteers who helped build the Neolithic Houses and also works as a house interpreter, will be demonstrating the essentials of Neolithic life, from fire lighting, game preparation using flint tools, early cooking methods to making weapons, bone and antler tools and the everyday utensils used at this time.

Many of the replica pots you see in the Stonehenge visitor centre and Neolithic houses are made by Graham.

He says: “Pottery is one of the commonest finds from Neolithic and Bronze Age sites. There is far more to this prehistoric technology than meets the eye – the craftspeople who created the pottery of the Stonehenge landscape had a deep understanding of their materials and processes.

“The pots themselves formed part of the everyday lives of the people who made and used them.”

Guy Hagg, one of the volunteers who helped build the Neolithic Houses and also works as a house interpreter, will be demonstrating the essentials of Neolithic life, from fire lighting, game preparation using flint tools, early cooking methods to making weapons, bone and antler tools and the everyday utensils used at this time.

Kim Creswell will be making baskets using the primitive flint tools of the Neolithic age. See her turn raw materials found in the landscape into a working basket in just one day.

At textile demonstrations, in January and February, Sally and Gareth Pointer will work with a variety of natural fabric crafts over these weekends including cord making, twining, looped weaving, netting and leatherwork. See bone and antler worked and discover how materials were used in the Neolithic period.

Watch Neil Burridge reveal the secrets of Bronze Age casting – a huge step forward in the development of primitive societies.

The ancient past of the mysterious stones will be explored with families in February half-term as we look at the history of their role in the lives of ancient man.

The Neolithic houses were built by volunteers and are based on the excavations of domestic dwellings found at nearby Durrington Walls during excavations in 2007. It has been suggested that the original structures may have been the houses of the Neolithic people who built and used Stonehenge.

During the winter, Stonehenge is open from 9.30am-5pm with last admissions at 3pm. All weekend demonstrations run between 10am and 4pm.

Article source:

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog

 





Guided Tours of Stonehenge

18 01 2010


I am a professional tour guide who can provide ‘private’ guided sightseeing tours of Stonehenge for small groups.
I specialise in Stonehenge and ancient Britain and can often get permission from the English Heritage to take you beyond the fences and touch the Stones after the site is closed to the public. (special access or inner circle tours)

Private tours can depart from London, Salisbury, Bath or Bristol

Some of my popular ‘favourite’ day tour itineraries include:
King Arthur Day Tour
Stonehenge
Glastonbury and King Arthurs Avalon
Challice Well Gardens (reputed buriel site of the Holy Grail
Avebury Stone Circle
Silbury Hill

Great Heritage Trail Day Tour
Stonehenge
Roman City of Bath
Lacock Village
Castle Coombe

Wessex Explorer Day Tour
Salisbury Cathedral
Old Sarum Hillfort
Stonehenge
Avebury Stone Circle
Chalk Hill figures
Buriel Mounds
Crop Circles (April to Septemeber)

However, private bespoke tours can be tailored to suit your requirements and can offer the ultimate flexibility throughout your day (s) visiting almost any location you wish to visit.

I promise a well balanced day with continuous information about not only the places we visit but England in general. My style of touring guarantees an informative, entertaining day, certainly never boring.
I frequently see so called ‘professional’ guides giving an uninspired hasty tour of tourist attractions and then demand huge tips for their ‘sloppy’ services at the end of the day.
MY MISSION STATEMENT: In the unlikely event of you not being entirely satisfied with my services I will NOT charge you!

I truly appreciate that many of you will only visit Stonehenge or England once and deserve a great experience.
I can supply 100’s of testimonials from satisfied customers (individuals/ families/groups) and have a 1st class reputation with many of the UK tour operators. (my heads getting bigger and bigger the more I write) Seriously folks, give me the opportunity to quote for your private group tour (1 – 16 passangers) and I wont disappoint.
By contacting me direct you can also ‘cut out the middle man’ i.e travel agents who add a big fat commission for doing little
Direct Email: tour.guide@rocketmail.com








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