Having heard about this place and driven through it many times and not got out to have a look around, we ventured over to Avebury in the car after work from Devizes (we happened to be working there that day).
Avebury is famous for its circular henge and standing stone circles which date back to the Neolithic period. It is estimated its construction took place between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. The village that now exists did not start to develop until the Early Middle Ages. It was not until Antiquarians John Aubrey and William Stukeley took interest in the site and documented its features and layout during the 1600s that any great interest was paid to Avebury. The area was subject to a mass restoration in the 1900s as many of the original stones had been moved or destroyed by this point, an undertaking that was helmed by pioneering archaeologist Alexander Keiller who sold the land to the National Trust in 1943.
Just like its more popular cousin on Salisbury Plains, we can only speculate upon the site’s original use. As it was built in an era before literacy, there is no way we can know for sure what its true purpose was. Today it serves as an attraction for tourists and a place of worship for pagans. The site is managed by the National Trust and is protected by law as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (like Caen Hill Locks middle phase, also in Wiltshire) and World Heritage Site.
As we walked around the site we enjoyed taking in the surrounding Wiltshire countryside, Avebury Manor, the typically English cottages and all the mystery surrounding the stones themselves.
We also enjoyed the supposedly haunted Red Lion pub which boasts being “the only pub in the word inside a stone circle”. This seemed like a sweeping statement begging to be disproved but after twenty minutes on the internet when I got home I had found no evidence to the contrary.
There are several other World Heritage Sites in the vicinity of Avebury such as Windmill Hill and Silbury Hill as well as walking routes such as the Ridegway and White Horse Way that we will definitely be visiting in the future.
We hope you liked the pictures. Avebury is just one example of what a great place Wiltshire is to visit.
If you would like to read about our previous travels to Wilshire, see the links below
This is our second post today. How very productive! If you missed the first one check out our trip to Worcestershire for more canal-related antics; Worcester & Birmingham Canal: Worcester to Droitwich Spa.
Adam & Harriet