Standing Stones


It is more than fifty years since Jackie and Helen enjoyed their ‘Stonehenge Sandwiches’. Since that time English Heritage and The National Trust have, between them restricted access and priced out all but those individuals who can afford £25 for a timed entry ticket and have on-line facilities for booking this on the day before. When Flo and Dillon wished to see some Neolithic standing stones, we suggested viewing

Stonehenge as we drove past,

and driving on to Avebury, which is far more user friendly. Unfortunately the road that Jackie had carefully memorised before setting off was closed. With the aid of Dillon’s mobile phone we were able to find an alternative route by narrow roads through the Vale of Pewsey, where

we trundled along behind a hay cart. Jackie sensed that the driver of a Land Rover chasing her was becoming rather frustrated. At the first opportunity he sped past. He remained between us and the hay for quite some time until he reached his own destination. It was a considerable while before the cart turned off, freeing us and the convoy in our wake.

Once clear of Salisbury we had stopped at a Harvester pub opposite Old Sarum Castle for lunch. My choice of meal was gammon steak with all the trimmings, and my drink was Marston’s pale ale. Should they wish, the others can speak for themselves.

Silbury Hill

On reaching Avebury we passed ‘the largest artificial mound in Europe, mysterious Silbury Hill [which] compares in height and volume to the roughly contemporary Egyptian pyramids. Probably completed in around 2400 BC, it apparently contains no burial. Though clearly important in itself, its purpose and significance remain unknown.’ (English Heritage website)



When we reached the henge itself we went our separate ways. I dawdled with my camera, seeing faces, figures, and even a horses head in this 10,000 year old monuments. There was quite a lot of evidence of mole activity.

The Red Lion

We met up at The Red Lion, a 400 year old pub standing in the middle of the largest circle.

Flo and Dillon

Flo and Dillon posed against the backdrop of the stones,

Tree of JackdawsJackdaw tree and Stone

alongside a tree full of jackdaws.

Back at home, Jackie made pancakes for the others and brought me a plate of finger food to be enjoyed whilst working on this post. When the internet started misbehaving I poured myself more of the Navarra, and just managed to publish before the witching hour.





  1. I knew you were late, but the witching hour is getting jolly close to missing out altogether – and what happens then? Impatient drivers are the worst aren’t they – we nearly got taken out in a three way on the way back home from our holiday, when a VIP in a silver saloon decided to overtake as the flatbed in front of me began to turn right. It’s moments like that when you realise life and death are split seconds and millimetres apart!! I’m glad that Flo and Dillon got to see something of the standing stones – but it is such a shame you can’t walk up to them any more. It rather looks like the moles (and rabbits?) are going to bring them down anyway!

  2. Fabulous post, Derrick. I love all the pictures. The jackdaws, the stones, the hay wrack and the road…Isn’t Heytesbury House, Siegfried Sassoon’s home near all those spots?

  3. You’re doing well not to have finished the Navarra yet, Derrick 🙂 Stonehenge has turned into a bit of a circus, a victim of its own success in many ways. I often suggest Avebury to people: the stones aren’t as pretty, but you can get up close and personal with them and the circle goes right round the village. It’s a fabulous walk and there’s not only Silbury Hill as you mentioned, but a raft of other prehistoric remains nearby too – not least West Kennet Long Barrow. The Red Lion serves a pretty good pint, too… Great photos, as always!

  4. I loved the boulders/rocks… like you I would be enchanted by their multi visuals I don’t recall the last time I was stuck behind a hay pulling tractor.. I do remember the slow parade tho’ good on you.. you were patient.

  5. I find it hilarious when drivers do that and end up a grand total of five seconds ahead of me! 🙂 … those Stranding Stones, look like they’re waiting for, something, we mortals don’t have the eyes to see. 🙂

  6. It’s a blight the way the Governments are fleecing the tourists roaming monuments. I know about Stonehenge, (and now I also know you could eat sandwiches atop those structures fifty years ago), but I am not sure what they mean. When I was younger, pictures of Stonehenge reminded me of Asterix, Obelix and menhir. Today you introduced me to yet another mystery at Avebury in that artificial mound and the stones standing as relics of something obscure whose details are now lost to the intractable past, or perhaps they are symbols left behind by some alien intelligence that strayed into our solar system temporarily.

  7. Fantastic informative post Derrick great illustrative pictures and narrative, unbelievable that these monoliths have stood the time of hundreds of thousands of years unmolested, and now have modern mans bounty on their head for viewing.

  8. Another fascinating post, Derrick. Those stones have a timelessness about them, don’t they? So mysterious–and still standing. I had never heard of Silbury Hill–another mystery.
    Lovely photo of Flo and Dillon.

  9. Ever hear of the kid’s show with Mr. Rogers? That’s what we should call you because you always have another ‘beautiful day in the neighborhood’!!!

  10. Wosah! Stonehenge is some pricey. Great choice going to Avebury! If ever I come to England…

  11. I also remember when Stone Henge was very accessible. My sister and I used to go and play around those huge stones. Hubby and I were there almost five years ago and the experience wasn’t great. Such long queues and then not being able to get anywhere near the stones. I definitely won’t bother again. I’ll just wave to the stones as we drive past on our way to Cornwall. 🙂

  12. Stonehenge, Silbury Hill and the henge at Avebury are fascinating. If only stones could talk, what tales they would tell. A 400 year old pub in the middle of the circle in Avebury would have quite a few stories, too!

  13. As a sculptor, the scale of Stonehenge always thrilled me. I slept at the foot of the stones a long time ago. I have taken an American visitor since then, but it’s not the same waving at them from a distance. I agree, Avebury is great and you can get friendly with the stones.

  14. Beautiful shots of Avebury henge. And they are indeed a much better day out than Stonehenge which is bleak and soulless in its current state.

      1. WOW, even at these prices it seems obvious that they want to keep the poorer classes away from Stonehenge, keep it sterile for the overseas visitors! I’m sure that for a family of 5, the costs involved must run up a tidy bit of a couple of hundred or more if coming say from Manchester or Newcastle.
        Do those professing Druid as their religion get in free of charge? If not, why not?

  15. On the radio the other day an artist said something like ‘In Britain we rope off our archaeology whereas in Rome lovers sit on it and kiss.’

  16. Hello. What fabulous photos! I was blogging earlier today about going to Wells this weekend and then come back to Sussex via Avebury as it’s part of my bucket list. Apparently the ground is water-logged though so there are parts of the circle that can’t currently be accessed. Did you have any problems with access and, if you did, do you know where the best place is for me to aim for? Many thanks, Sarah

    1. Thanks very much, Sarah. I believe Avebury has received a lot of snow since we were there. There should be a lot to see if/when it has cleared. The best place to aim for is The village centre – National Trust building, shop, The Red Lion – in the middle of the large circle

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