Continuing in the series “When is the best time to come to Britain?” – I have just enjoyed a fine day out in the November sun, walking along ancient paths and finding my way to one of the few places in the world that that can justify the sobriquet “Monument”.
Travel west some, 90miles/ 120km from London and you find yourself in the UNESCO World Heritage site (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/) that is Stonehenge.
Stonehenge, when I hear the phrase, “It’s just a pile of rocks,” my heart sinks. In 1966 ‘Equivalent VIII’, the work of Carl Andre was produced and an extract subsequently purchased by Tate Britain. Arguably, a carefully lined up set of bricks, form an organised “pile of rocks” but five thousand years have elapsed since the focus of this article were put in place. It’s a moot point as to how much thought went into the two structures. 1966 saw a carefully lined out set of identical blocks of carefully prepared brick. 2200-1500BC saw a monument of comparative gargantuan proportions put in place. All the more remarkable when you consider the wheel had not arrived in the British Isles at that point in our history.
Today’s mission was to walk from the settlement of Durrington Walls (where the workforce that built Stonehenge was thought to live), all the way across country, passing the Kings Barrow, and a walk up the Avenue to what was originally the approach to the Monument that we know as Stonehenge. The group was a mixed group of guides, each bringing their take, their experience and their desire to learn more of the mystique that surrounds the stones.
We arrived on a lovely autumnal day (never sure whether November is considered to be Autumn (fall) or Winter.
We all took something away from the experience. We all learnt a little more from the day and leave with a clearer understanding that Stonehenge was built unquestionably for “ceremonial and ritual purposes.” What those purposes were, we will never know. – But don’t let that stop you from going to make your own mind up.
With thanks to:
http://www.stonehenge-tours.com – Tours with Pat Shelley who taught me most of what I now know about Stonehenge.
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/plan-your-visit/stone-circle-access-visits/ – For that opportunity to visit the stones out of hours.
https://www.footpath-holidays.com – Ian Newman who organised our day and introduced us to the route from Woodhenge.