"Standing Stones of Avebury" Top 5 Page for this destination Avebury by Bwana_Brown
Avebury Travel Guide: 101 reviews and 244 photos
In deciding which scenic route we should take to Cornwall on this trip, I had been thinking of a meander along the south coast through Hampshire and Dorset like we had done during our Summer, 2000 trip. However, Sue mentioned how much she had enjoyed Wiltshire on our last trip and that got me thinking about the standing stones at Avebury that I had read about on VT. As a result, we decided to take a northerly route instead (please see my 'General' tip for a map of our travels to the southwest tip of England).
Avebury is one of 26 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the United Kingdom, having been designated in 1986 in the same group as its more famous nearby cousin at Stonehenge (20 miles to the south). The District Council's web-site sums up the many attractions in and around Avebury that make this a 'must visit' :
"The landscape around Avebury contains some of the most important surviving prehistoric archaeological monuments in the British Isles. Since its inscription on the World Heritage List, jointly with Stonehenge, the principal prehistoric sites within this landscape have been universally acknowledged as of international cultural significance.Within the 23 square kilometres of the WHS the monuments are of exceptional size and interest, including remains of the largest stone circle in the British Isles, the longest stone avenue (West Kennet), one of the longest Neolithic burial mounds (West Kennet long barrow) , one of the largest causewayed enclosures (Windmill Hill), and the largest prehistoric mound in Europe (Silbury Hill). As well as these key monuments, the landscape contains a wealth of archaeological remains including well-preserved Bronze Age round barrows which belong to one of the greatest concentrations of round barrows in the country. Over 330 archaeological sites are known within the WHS, 160 of which are Scheduled Monuments. The area is also of national significance for its nature conservation interests and it is wholly situated within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A measure of Avebury's uniqueness is its appeal to a wider variety of people. 350,000 annual visitors are attracted to Avebury, including a large element of international tourists. Pagans also visit the site as a place of contemporary celebration and gathering.
Unlike Stonehenge, the monuments at Avebury do not stand in isolation. The Village of Avebury, with its Saxon origins, and the main road share the interior of the henge with the stone circle, making use of the original entrances for the road pattern and of many of the stones themselves for building material. This close proximity gives Avebury a unique atmosphere, with the busy life of the village going on in and around the monuments."
Having visited Stonehenge three times myself, I can say that Avebury ranks right up there with it!
On landing in England for our Christmas 2005 trip, we spent the first two nights in Farnham (the 'red' circle), just... more travel advice
The number of houses within the roughly 1400-ft (428-m) wide circle of stones is not very large and they are clustered... more travel advice
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