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VISIT WONDERFUL WILTSHIRE.

Attraction-packed Wiltshire cuts a verdant swathe through southern England.  High chalk downs and gentle valleys characterise the landscape, which is home to chocolate box villages (Lacock, Tisbury, Castle Coombe) charming market towns (Malmesbury, Devizes, Bradford-on-Avon) and a top-notch cathedral city (Salisbury). 40 per cent of the county is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  English Heritage have produced this wonderful inspirational guide for visitors to Wiltshire, please visit their website for full details.

Wiltshire is famous for its ham, white horses and, above all, for its many prehistoric monuments. In fact, it’s got more than any other county in England. In this guide, we’ll explore some of these places that shine a light on our ancient past, visit a couple of castles, and point out a few other fascinating places along the way.

DAY 1 – AVEBURY AND DEVIZES

A sheep grazing in front of one of the stones at Avebury

A sheep grazing in front of one of the stones at Avebury

AVEBURY

The remarkable village of Avebury can be found between Swindon and Devizes. It’s part of the same UNESCO World Heritage Site as Stonehenge.

The main stone circle here is around 4600 years old, and it’s the largest in Britain. It’s thought that it would have taken 1.5 million man hours to construct the ditch and bank and to transport the stones.

Today, the vision of its original builders can be hard to appreciate. The circle is bisected by roads, and the stones rub up against a medieval church, a timber-framed pub, rose-covered cottages and flocks of friendly sheep. But this jumbled palimpsest is part of Avebury’s unique charm.

And we’re lucky that there’s anything to see at all. In medieval times some of the stones were pushed over or buried, and in the 18th century many of those that survived were broken up for building materials. Alexander Keiller restored some of the stones in the 1930s, and he gives his name to the village’s museum, which tells the story of Avebury and its nearby monuments. The National Trust has also recently refurbished and opened up part of Avebury Manor.

There are toilets, a shop and a café near the museum. On the high street you’ll find a quirky gift shop, a community store and the Red Lion – quite possibly the world’s only pub inside a stone circle.

The interior of West Kennet Long Barrow

Inside West Kennet Long Barrow, where at least 46 people were buried.

AROUND AVEBURY

You can walk around Avebury’s stone circle and see the museum in about an hour and a half. But it’s worth exploring some of the other sites around Avebury to really get a sense of how important this place was to our prehistoric ancestors.

The oldest site in the area is Windmill Hill. It’s a ’causewayed enclosure’, built around 3675 BC. It’s thought that people gathered here for trading, festivals or feasts, or all three. Much later, Bronze Age barrows were built on the hill.

West Kennet Avenue joins the stone circle at its southern edge. Once, 100 pairs of stones lined a 2.3km course joining Avebury to the Sanctuary. Today there are 27 upright stones, again restored by Keiller. The Sanctuary itself was begun in about 3000BC, and its purpose is unclear. Circles of timber posts once stood here, and human bones and food remains have been found buried beneath them.

West Kennet Long Barrow is one of the best examples of a long barrow in the country, and you can actually get inside it. This was the resting place of at least 46 people, buried here between 3000 and 2600 BC.

From the top of the barrow you can see East Kennet Long Barrow, and also the enigmatic Silbury Hill, one of the most mysterious remnants of prehistoric Britain. 30 metres high, it’s the largest man made mound in Europe, and was built around the same time as the pyramids of Egypt. There’s a viewing area next to the car park, but to protect the site, you can’t walk on the hill itself.

A display case at Wiltshire Museum

The Bush Barrow Chieftan display at Wiltshire Museum, Britain’s richest and most important prehistoric burial. © Wiltshire Musem

WILTSHIRE MUSEUM, DEVIZES

One of the best places to dive into the prehistory of this part of the country is the brilliant Wiltshire Museum in Devizes. It tells 500,000 years of Wiltshire’s story, and it contains two thirds of all the Bronze Age gold found in Britain.

Its standout treasures were excavated from the Bush Barrow, half a mile from Stonehenge. It’s Britain’s richest and most important prehistoric burial. An adult male was buried in a crouched position with spectacular grave goods, including a dagger with 140,000 tiny gold studs in its handle, a mace made from rare fossil stone, and an exquisite sheet gold lozenge.

But just as fascinating as the Bronze Age bling is what the finds tell us about the people of Stonehenge. Cases tell the stories of characters like the Shaman and the Marlborough Lady, pieced together from their burials. These small glimpses into the lives of our ancestors help us remember that prehistory isn’t just about pots – it’s about people.

Other galleries cover the later history of Wiltshire and Devizes. Children can follow a stamp trail, dress up in period costumes and get hands on with interactive exhibitions dotted throughout the galleries. There’s a small shop selling gifts and books.

Devizes itself is a pretty market town, with over 500 listed buildings and the largest market square in the west of England. There are plenty of shops, cafés and restaurants. You can also visit the red brick Victorian Wadworth Brewery, where shire horses still deliver beer to the town’s pubs every morning.

DAY 2 – SALISBURY AND OLD SARUM

The bridge at Old Sarum, with the spire of Salisbury Cathedral in the distance

The bridge at Old Sarum, with the spire of Salisbury Cathedral in the distance

OLD SARUM

Seated high above the bustling city of Salisbury is Old Sarum. With its origins as an Iron Age hillfort, it’s almost brand spanking new compared to Avebury and Stonehenge. The Romans used it as a fort and as a temple, and after William the Conquerer built a motte and bailey castle a town grew up around it. A cathedral was also built here, but it moved down the hill to Salisbury in the early 13th century.

Salisbury attracted more trade and more people, and was the largest town in Wiltshire by the 14th century. Old Sarum dwindled in size and importance until it gained widespread notoriety in the 18th and 19th centuries for being a ‘rotten borough’ – it still sent two MPs to the House of Commons, despite being almost entirely abandoned.

Today it’s the perfect spot for a picnic, a walk or even a spot of kite flying. There are 29 acres of rare grass chalkland to explore, with wildflowers and ancient trees. The outline of the old cathedral is still visible, and the castle, although well ruined, is still impressive. You’ll get the most out of your visit with a guidebook in hand, but it’s worth the trip just for the stunning views over Salisbury.

There’s plenty of free parking at the site and a small shop by the entrance selling gifts and refreshments.

Visitors at the Salisbury Museum looking at a skeleton

Visitors examining a skeleton at the Salisbury Museum © The Salisbury Museum. Photography by Ash Mills

SALISBURY – CATHEDRAL AND MUSEUM

Venture down the hill to Salisbury’s Cathedral Close and you’ll find an array of attractions. The Cathedral houses the best-preserved of the four surviving copies of Magna Carta. English Heritage members can get two for one entry on Tower Tours on weekdays.

A variety of impressive buildings line the close, including the National Trust’s Mompesson House, Arundells (the former home of Sir Edward Heath) and The King’s House, which  now houses the Salisbury Museum.

The museum is another fantastic repository of local prehistoric finds. Its new Wessex Galleries contain objects from Stonehenge and the surrounding area. Standout exhibits include the jadeite axehhead, coins from the Bowerchalke Hoard and watercolours by JMW Turner. There’s also a brilliant interactive exhibition that explores how archaeology has shaped our understanding of the past.

Other galleries explore the town’s more recent past. Highlights include a surprisingly interesting collection of objects found in the city’s drains, and the remarkable 3.6m tall Salisbury Giant, a towering figure used in pageants for hundreds of years.

The museum puts on temporary exhibitions and hosts events and talks – check the website for details. There are interactive exhibitions and trails for kids.

The King’s House Café can be found inside the museum buildings, and Salisbury city centre is a few minutes’ walk away.

DAY 3 – STONEHENGE AND OLD WARDOUR

Stonehenge at dawn, with the Slaughter Stone in the foreground.

Stonehenge at dawn, with the Slaughter Stone in the foreground.

STONEHENGE

Famous across the world for its iconic stone circle, Stonehenge is a real Wiltshire must-see.

Its visitor centre has a short but sweet exhibition that introduces the development of Stonehenge and sets the stones in their prehistoric context. Have a go a moving one of the huge sarsens, and poke your head into the Neolithic houses. You can walk the one and a half miles to the stones themselves, or catch the bus. It’s well worth plugging into the audio guide as you walk around the stone circle – you can borrow a headset at the visitor centre or download the app from Google Play or the App Store.

The monumental mystery of Stonehenge has fascinated us for thousands of years, and it’s impossible not to be drawn in by it as you get close to the stones. Try to solve the puzzle of the circle’s purpose, or to imagine the immense effort that went into its construction. Or simply marvel at its survival through thousands of years of change.

Back at the visitor centre you’ll find a café serving up locally sourced food and drinks. We serve our snacks and lunches in sustainable takeaway packaging, making it perfect for picnicing.

The Old King Barrows at Sunset, in the Stonehenge landscape

The Old King Barrows at Sunset, in the Stonehenge landscape

THE STONEHENGE LANDSCAPE

Many people who visit Stonehenge are happy to see the stones and take a few selfies, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t explore the surrounding landscape and its monuments. Barrows, henges and earthworks fill the fields, and visiting them helps give you a better understanding of just how important this area was for our ancestors. The Stonehenge visitor centre gives a great overview of the story of the landscape, and you can use our interactive map to orient yourself before your visit.

The National Trust owns most of the land and looks after the monuments in it. Take care with dogs, as livestock grazes in the fields. Check their pages for restrictions.

DAY 3 – OLD WARDOUR CASTLE

View from a tower at Old Wardour Castle

The view from a tower at Old Wardour Castle

Old Wardour Castle is hidden at the end of a single track lane, deep within a lush, secluded valley. It’s a world away from the wide open spaces of Salisbury Plain.

Perhaps surprisingly, Old Wardour has been a tourist attraction for longer than it was a working castle. It was built in the 1390s after John Lovell found favour with Richard II. He built his unusual hexagonal castle to confirm his status. In 1596 the godson of Elizabeth I called it ‘the wonder of the west’, but a large chunk of it was blown up during the Civil War in the 1640s.

It was never rebuilt, and 100 years later the owners decided to build a new, grander house a mile away. Old Wardour was preserved as a folly for the enjoyment of the family and their guests. Members of the public probably started visiting from the 18th century, and people have been flocking to Old Wardour ever since.

To this day, these are ruins to have fun in. Over the last few decades, we’ve restored floors and staircases so that you can wander the castle’s rooms and towers, and poke around its nooks and crannies. A brilliant audio guide breathes life back into the ruins with characters and stories from the past. There’s a shop selling gifts and refreshments and plenty of space for picnics. It’s also a good base for walks through the local countryside, which is part of the Cranborne Chase Area of Natural Beauty.

GETTING HERE AND AROUND

Sign for Stonehenge

A signpost near Stonehenge

The M4 skirts the north of the county and the M3 connects London to the A30 and A303 in the south. There are mainline rail stations in Salisbury, Swindon, Chippenham, Tisbury, Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury and Warminster.

There are plenty of places to stay in Wiltshire, but Salisbury is a particularly good base for exploring many of our sites. By rail it’s just an hour and twenty minutes away from London, or an hour and ten from Bristol.

The Stonehenge Tour Bus connects Salisbury with Stonehenge and Old Sarum. Wiltshire Council have information on travelling to Stonehenge on foot or by bike.

You can get buses to Avebury from Swindon or Trowbridge. Buses connect Devizes with Bath, Chippenham, Swindon and Salisbury, and there’s a coach from London.

Old Wardour Castle is not too far from Tisbury, which is ten minutes from Salisbury by train. You may be able to get a taxi to the castle. Alternatively, Discover Nadder have designed a circular 5.5 mile walkfrom the village to the castle.

MORE IN WILTSHIRE & BEYOND

Part of the ruins of Farleigh Hungerford Castle in Somerset

Part of the ruins of Farleigh Hungerford Castle in Somerset

If you’re in Wiltshire for longer you can dive even deeper into the past.

Beautiful Bradford-on-Avon has a spectacular medieval tithe barn you can visit for free. Just over the border with Somerset is Farleigh Hungerford Castle – we’ve come up with a great circular walk that joins the two, making this a great car-free day out. Bratton Camp and its famous White Horse is also nearby.

We also look after the picturesque remains of Ludgershall Castle and Cross, one of the largest Neolithic henges in Britain at Hatfield Earthworks, the thatched Chisbury Chapel and the 18th century Netheravon Dovecote.

English Heritage Members can get two for one entry at Wilton House, as well as discounts at Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury Museum and the Wiltshire Museum.

Please visit the English Heritage website for full details

We specialise in private guided tours of Stonehenge and Wiltshire and would be happy to help you organise a custom tour for your family or small group.  Our bespoke tours can depart from Salisbury, Bath, Southampton and even London

The Stonehenge Travel and Tour Company
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

Ancient Britain in a day. Exploring Prehistoric Wiltshire

The American travel writer Bill Bryson once wrote:

“Impressive as Stonehenge is, there comes a moment somewhere about 11 minutes after your arrival when you realize you’ve seen pretty well as much as you care to, and you spend another 40 minutes walking around the perimeter rope looking at it out of a combination of politeness, embarrassment … .”

avebury-pic

Avebury Stone Circle. Image: Tharik Hussain

In many ways, Bill is spot on. The first time I visited England’s most iconic ancient site, I too had set aside a couple of hours to “take in,” “absorb,” “immerse” and “feel” the mystical stone circles that adorn the cover of almost every guidebook to Britain, and then, just like Bill, about 11 minutes in I looked at my watch, then back up at the huge stones and began to wonder what I should do next.
That’s the problem with ancient stones. Besides staring at them for a while, there really isn’t much else to do.
Fortunately, Stonehenge is in an area littered with ancient monuments that bring prehistoric Britain to life, and as spectacular as it is, Stonehenge is certainly not the only ancient site in the English county of Wiltshire. In fact, two historic sites are less than an hour away by car, making it the ideal region to spend a day exploring the very best of ancient Britain, and here’s how …

Avebury
Start in the little village of Avebury, as it is the easiest to access from London via the M4, and the one that will take the longest time to explore. This is because Avebury is home to the largest stone circle in Europe. It doesn’t have the impressive arches Stonehenge can boast, but Avebury’s size makes it clear it was probably more important than its headline-grabbing neighbor. It is certainly far more atmospheric and remains an important site for modern British pagans who frequent it for gatherings at various times of the year, including the summer and winter solstices.
Many of the original stones are missing, though quite a few were put back up by the circle’s late Victorian savior, Alexander Keiller. Keiller was a Scottish businessman-cum-archaeologist, who studied at nearby Eton and fell in love with the area’s ancient history. He had many of the stones dug up from where they had been buried by earlier fundamentalist Christians, and re-installed. Before Keiler, the stones were neglected and dismissed as a “shameful” reminder of England’s pagan past.
In total there are three circles around a henge – a bank and a ditch – the largest of which is 348m in diameter. Despite the village of Avebury cutting across the huge site, there is definitely an “atmosphere” about Avebury’s stone circles, which is no doubt enhanced by the fact that the crowds here are much smaller than those at Stonehenge.

Silbury Hill
From Avebury, head south on the B4003, turning right where it meets the A4. Do not drive too fast otherwise you’ll miss it, for Silbury Hill is on your right only minutes after the turn. It is true that in the pictures it looks just like any other hill, but when you are standing next to Europe’s largest man-made ancient structure, the perfection of the hill makes it clear this was not crafted by nature.
In truth, visiting Silbury Hill is no more thrilling than staring at a large grassy mound, for that is what it is. The excitement of reading the sign that tells you this is the largest prehistoric man-made structure in Europe is about as good as it will get – at least until English Heritage develop some kind of tourist access to the ancient monument. Until then, you’ll have to admire it from the roadside as you speculate what possessed ancient Britons to build the thing. No one knows the real reason of course, but I personally like the local legend that it is the final resting place of King Sil, represented as a life-size statue of gold and riding a horse.

Stonehenge
From Silbury Hill carry on toward the A361 and turn left to head south. From there you can follow signs all the way down to Britain’s most famous ancient site, Stonehenge, now accessed via the new visitor’s center. English Heritage appear to have taken Bill’s comments on board as the new center seems to have been designed specifically to occupy visitors for more than 11 minutes.
They do this first with the center’s exhibition where you can discover the Stonehenge story — essentially a rundown of all the latest theories about the possible purpose of the famous henge. Outside the center, there is a Neolithic village that has been built to show us how the prehistoric Brits who built the henge may have lived, and next to this is a replica of one of the huge sarsens they somehow brought all the way here and positioned in that spectacular style. This comes complete with a rope to pull and a screen that tells you just how many more of you are needed to move the real thing – 95 in my case.
The approach to the stones is either an “atmospheric” 30-minute walk or a short ride on the shuttle bus, with most people combining the two. After your 11 minutes admiring England’s most famous set of rocks, the visitor center’s cafe will make the ideal place to enjoy that other classic English institution, a cup of tea.
Article source: <IMG src=”http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=8&c2=19888642&c3=2″>Ancient Britain in a day : Tharik Hussain

Join the local experts on a guided tour of ancient Wiltshire exploring Avebury and Stonehenge.

Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

 

Archaeology Day Tours of Wiltshire’s World Heritage Sites.

Stonehenge and Avebury form part of an UNESCO World Heritage Site which stands testament to the ages. The explanations behind why the sites are located where they are and what their exact purposes are still remain a mystery to this day with a magnetism that has drawn people to them for centuries.

We are pleased to offer exclusive Archaeology Tours visiting both Stonehenge and Avebury throughout 2016. We believe we offer an excellent up-to-date specialist service; giving you the opportunity to learn in great detail about these amazing prehistoric sites, but also leaving you time to explore your surroundings by yourself.

Stonehenge, Avebury and Bath Guided Tour from London

Britian’s most beautiful landscapes
Tour Leaders are qualified archaeologists
Walk the paths of ritual specialists and builders of Britain’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring prehistoric sites, at Stonehenge and Avebury.
Explore the Roman and Georgian history of Bath.
Guaranteed small groups 8 – 18 participants.

This feature-packed archaeological tour takes in the iconic stone circles of Stonehenge

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Small Group Guided Tour of Avebury

and Avebury and a delightful break in the beautiful Roman city of Bath.

Leaving from London by luxury mini coach, this Stonehenge tour will explore its iconic standing stones with expert analysis by a trained archaeologist. Nearby Avebury is an even more impressive site, covering a much wider area and you will also encounter Neolithic burial tombs and the less visited ancient site of Woodhenge.

Mid-day is spent in gorgeous Bath offering history of a different era. There are colorful remnants of its glorious Roman past to see and regency mansion houses from Georgian times. The famous Roman baths are a must see.

Guided tour itinerary:

The morning starts with a visit to Durrington Walls and Woodhenge, home to the ‘Stonehenge Builder’s’ village and the most convincing evidence for human sacrifice. We then travel a short distance to Stonehenge. We enjoy a leisurely paced walk through the landscape immediately surrounding Stonehenge, visiting the Stonehenge Cursus, Bronze Age burial mounds and walk along the Stonehenge Avenue. We complete our morning at Stonehenge with a guided walk around the stone circle, our archaeologists bringing to life this enigmatic, ancient and mysterious monument.

At mid-day we arrive at the beautiful Georgian city of Bath. Here we allow our guests aprox 2 hours to enjoy the centre of this city, famous for Jane Austen, Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths. We also use this opportunity for our guests to have lunch.

We conclude our visit to Bath with a coach tour of the most impressive examples of architecture Bath has to offer, visiting the Assembly Rooms, Royal Circus and Royal Crescent.

The Afternoon is spent at the Avebury World Heritage Landscape. We visit Silbury Hill, the largest man-made hill in prehistoric Europe. We enter the 5500 year old burial chamber of West Kennet Long Barrow, entering a sacred space originally reserved only for ritual specialists and the dead.

We finish by visiting the largest stone circle in Europe at Avebury, with its beautiful medieval village situated inside. As John Aubrey in the 1600’s notes [Avebury]…”does as much exceed in greatness the so renowned Stonehenge as a Cathedral doeth a parish church.”

 

Please also note as part of the Stonehenge, Salisbury and Avebury Archaeologist Guided Tour, the detailed walk around the Stonehenge Cursus, Stonehenge Avenue and Bronze Age burial mounds only runs between March to October, this is due to time restrictions in the winter months
View 2016 Tour Departures and book now

We also offer a Stonehenge, Bath and Salisbury guided tour

Bringing History Alive……………..

Links:
STONEHENGE & AVEBURY WORLD HERITAGE SITE
VISIT WILTSHIRE WORLD HERITAGE SITE INFORMATION

Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Stonehenge Travel and Tour Company
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

 

Visit Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire

Situated in southern England in the county of Wiltshire the village of Avebury is close to two small streams….the Winterbourne and the Sambourne which unite to form the source of the River Kennet. After being re-inforced by a number of springs this beautiful English river rapidly gains in stature as it passes through the North Wessex Downs on its way to Reading where it eventually flows into the River Thames of which it has become the main tributary. The waters of the Kennet therefore pass through London before reaching their ultimate destination in the North Sea.

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Small Group Guided Tour of Avebury

Around 4,500 years ago, when the site of England’s capital was a thinly inhabited marshland, the area around Avebury almost certainly formed the Neolithic equivalent of a city. By coincidence this waterway has become a link between the two largest cultural centres of their day to have ever existed in the British Isles. As London now contains most of England’s largest buildings Avebury is the location of the mightiest megalithic complex to have ever been constructed in Britain. This henge with its enormous ditch, bank, stones and avenues survives in a much depleted state but the nearby Silbury Hill which is the largest man-made mound in pre-industrial Europe still dominates the surrounding landscape. The two largest surviving British long barrows of West Kennet and East Kennet are also prominent a short distance away and in recent years the remains of two massive palisaded enclosures have also been found. The quote that antiquarian John Aubrey made of Avebury……”it does as much exceed in greatness the so renowned Stonehenge as a Cathedral doeth a parish church” recognises the true importance of what has now been largely absorbed into the modern landscape of Wiltshire. If we could return to the time when the Romans occupied the British Isles it is a sobering thought that we would have to go back as far again to find an Avebury that was already several centuries old.

The history of the modern village is inevitably linked to the prehistoric monuments that surround it. Abandoned for several thousand years the land around the stones became occupied once more when people of the Saxon period began to settle in the area. Their arrival and subsequent development of the present village was to have a dramatic effect on the history of the stones. The relationship between the local inhabitants and the monuments has now added an unfortunate dimension to the Avebury story that helps make it one of the most fascinating historical sites to be found in the British Isles if not the world.

It remains a magical place as so many who have been there will agree. A visit to Avebury is a very personal event. It still seems to retain, somehow, the spirits of all those who laboured in its creation or whatever it was that led them to create it. If you have never been there a visit will not be an empty experience. You will come away with a head full of questions and probably a realisation that somewhere over the years modern society has lost something important.

The Stonehenge Travel company operate guided tours of Avebury and Stonehenge departing from Salisbury.

Avebury links:
http://www.avebury-web.co.uk/avebury_now.html
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/avebury/
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury
http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/things-to-do/avebury-stone-circle-and-avebury-manor-and-garden-p134483

Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
Mystical County, Magical Tours…..
www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

Avebury shortlisted as Heritage Site of the Year.

AVEBURY has been shortlisted as Heritage Site of the Year in the BBC Countryfile Magazine awards 2014/15.

Small Group Guided Tour of Avebury

Small Group Guided Tour of Avebury

Well known for its henge, which is cared for by the National Trust, Avebury was chosen against some strong competition for the awards shortlist.
Now the poll has been opened up for people to vote for their favourite places.

Eleanor Eaton, visitor services manager for the National Trust at Avebury said: “We’re up against some special places, including Portmeirion village in North Wales, and Kew Palace in Surrey, so we would be really grateful if people who share our love of Avebury were to take the time to vote for it before 31 January.

“This has been a special place for thousands of years, long before it was chosen as the site of the henge and it still clearly inspires people today.”

Now in its fourth year, the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards celebrate the UK countryside and its people, from great heritage attractions and favourite holiday destinations to the best nature reserves and the finest rural pubs.

Avebury was nominated by Countryfile presenter, Jules Hudson, who said in his nomination that although the stone circle is often overlooked by Stonehenge, it is more readily accessible.

He said: “You can marvel at a prehistoric world that’s as mysterious as it is beautiful and explore the wider landscape and component sites such as the Sanctuary and West Kennet long barrow.”

The awards which feature 12 categories, including rural pub and garden of the year, were launched in the January edition of the magazine.

To whittle down the contenders, BBC Countryfile Magazine asked experts in each field to draw up shortlists of candidates in each category.

To vote for your countryside favourites email awards@countryfile.com or go on the BBC Countryfile Magazine website at http://www.countryfile.com/awards2014-15 More information about Avebury is available at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury

Article source:  Gazette and Herald

The Stonehenge Travel Company based in Salisbury offer frequent guided tours of Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circle

Stonehenge Travel Company 
Guided Tours from Salisbury
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

All Cannings: Wiltshire’s ‘Neolithic’ long barrow burial chamber opens

Would you fancy spending eternity inside a burial chamber in the corner of a field in Wiltshire? I do!

Tim Daw and Arch Druid of Avebury blessing  the Long Barrow

Tim Daw and Arch Druid of Avebury blessing the Long Barrow

The first “Neolithic” long barrow to be built in the UK for 5,500 years has been completed and already the first urn of human ashes has been placed inside.

The structure at All Cannings near Devizes, took almost nine months to build, using traditional materials and stone working techniques.

The tomb, designed by farmer Tim Daw, has been positioned to let the midwinter sunrise shine right down the length of the chamber where people’s ashes will be placed in urns set into the walls.

What is a long barrow?

  • Barrows are artificial hills of earth and stones built over the remains of the dead
  • They were usually reserved for members of the social elite or Anglo-Saxon royalty
  • Ordinary people were usually cremated or buried in more humble graves
  • They were first constructed in about 4,000 BC up to the late pre-Christian era
  • England’s most famous barrow is at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk


News links:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2760819/Death-Stone-Age-style-Replica-Neolithic-tomb-space-2-400-opens-business-weekend.html~

News link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-29225327

Visit the Long Barrow website here: http://www.thelongbarrow.com/

We intend to include the Long Barrow on future tours and I have already booked a niche.

The Stonehenge Travel Company, Salisbury, Wiltshire

Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

Plains, Trains and Automobiles: Salisbury, Stonehenge and South Wiltshire is a truly unique destination

Take some time out and escape to Wiltshire this year. Find out more about this mysterious and beautiful part England. 

The newly completed Stonehenge visitor centre deserves an extended visit. We recommend staying in Wiltshire and Salisbury Plainexploring the surrounding area, rich in history, myths and legends.  Salisbury, Stonehenge and South Wiltshire is a truly unique destination. Set among some of the most beautiful countryside and with a 5,000 year old history the area is steeped in history but with its eye firmly fixed on the future.

Salisbury is a bit of a rail hub with main lines and frequent trains going east to London, south to Southampton and west to Bath and Bristol.  Frequent trains run from London’s Waterloo station taking approximately 80 minutes to do the journey.  There are normally two trains an hour operating up until very late evening. During the week, the cheap tickets are not available until after the morning commuter rush. Don’t worry if your accommodation is in London, its very easy to get to Salisbury or Bath from London by train and the trains run till late so there is still time to get back to London last thing.

Here are some examples of how accessible Wiltshire is using the Inter-City services from central London:
• London (Paddington) – Bath and Bristol via Swindon (55 mins),Chippenham (70 mins)  and Great Bedwyn (90 mins).
• London (Waterloo) – Salisbury (90 mins) and Tisbury (103 mins).

Cathedral Steam TrainSalisbury is one of England’s most wonderful cities – a medieval masterpiece with something for everyone. From traditional English pubs to cosmopolitan street cafes and from hard-to-find specialist shops to major high street stores, you’ll find it in Salisbury. And at its heart there is the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral, towering over the city as it has for over 750 years. Step outside of the city and you are in another world. Green hills, crystal clear rivers and picturesque towns and villages just waiting to be discovered. And, of course, there’s Stonehenge. The world’s most famous stone circle stands just a few miles north of Salisbury – a must see destination.

Stonehenge Stone Circle is the most famous and enigmatic Megalithic site in the United Kingdom. Dominating the landscape of Salisbury Plain in the county of Wiltshire, the giant standing stones of Stonehenge – some weighing up to 50 tonnes – are a mysterious icon left by mysterious ancient peoples. You may have a special interest in burial chambers, the construction of Stonehenge, the purpose and culture of the people that built the henge.
English Heritage Stonehenge Visitor Centre. The fantastic new £27m visitor centre at Stonehenge is now open, offering tourists an interactive experience and the chance to examine prehistoric objects. Visitors are transported by shuttle bus more than a mile (2km) from the venue to see the stones.

Salisbury Plain
Discover prehistoric sites and rare species preserved on Salisbury Plain.  An ocean of grassland and a sweep of big sky. Ancient Private Guided Toursmonuments loom out of the mist; camouflaged soldiers crouch in the undergrowth. Salisbury Plain is a landscape of extremes. It is the largest remaining area of chalk grassland in Northwest Europe and home to 2,300 prehistoric sites yet also the largest military training area on British soil.

Avebury Stone Circle Avebury rivals – some would say exceeds – Stonehenge as the largest, most impressive and complex pre-historic site in Britain. Avebury is part of a wider complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, with many other ritual sites in English Heritage care. West Kennet Avenue joined it to The Sanctuary, and another stone avenue connected it with Beckhampton. West Kennet Long Barrow and Windmill Hill are also nearby, as is the huge and mysterious Silbury Hill. This extraordinary assemblage of sites seemingly formed a huge ‘sacred landscape’, whose use and purpose can still only be guessed at. Avebury and its surroundings have, with Stonehenge, achieved international recognition as a World Heritage Site.

Mysterious Crop circles Salisbury Plain is well known for its crop circles and much mystery still remains as to why they occur and the meanings behind their complex formations. A tour of the ancient hills and vales of Wiltshire which are, inexplicably, the world capital of crop circles Crop circles in Wiltshire often occur around the heart of the county in and around Avebury, usually first appearing in April and continuing into the summer months.  Crop circle guided tours can be arranged from Salisbury or Bath

Guided Tours from Salisbury can return to Salisbury or why not make the most of your sightseeing and be dropped off in Bath, Southampton or even London. Popular destinations can include: Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta | Old Sarum Hillfort | Stonehenge Stone Circle and the new visitor centre | Woodhenge and  Durrington Walls | Ancient Chalk Hill Figures | Pewsey valleys | Salisbury Plain and mysterious crop circles | Avebury Stone Circle | West Kennet Long Barrow | Silbury Hill | Lacock Village | Castle Combe Village | The Cotswolds | Glastonbury Tor and The Isle of Avalon

Needless to say private guided tours are bespoke and can be tailoured to suit your needs in the date(s) you wish to travel.  Stonehenge private access tours allow you to enter the inner circle of Stonehenge before or after it is officially open to the public.
A once in a lifetime opportunity!

We would be delighted to arrange a private guide tour of Wiltshire and help you with your Salisbury Travel plans.  Email us: tours@StonehengeTravel.co.uk or visit our website: http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

Some Salisbury and  Stonehenge links:
Visit Wiltshire: Discover things to do and places to visit across Wiltshire. Plan your visit, book hotels and accommodation and find out what’s on in the county. http://www.VisitWiltshire.co.uk

Download the Visit Wiltshire Apps here: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/plan-your-visit/apps

Magnificent Salisbury Cathedral with the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom, home to the finest of the four surviving original Magna Carta 1215: http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/

Old Sarum Hillfort: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/old-sarum/

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, in Wiltshire, England was opened in 1966 and was the first drive-through safari park outside Africa: http://www.Longleat.co.uk

Wilton House is an English country house situated at Wilton near Salisbury in Wiltshire. It has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years: http://www.WiltonHouse.co.uk

Amesbury Museum & Heritage Centre: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/ideas-and-inspiration/amesbury-museum-and-heritage-centre-p1536253

Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum: Showcasing the medieval Cathedral town of Salisbury and the ancient wonders of Stonehenge. http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/‎

The Cathedral Express. Wonderful days out by steam train:  http://www.steamdreams.com/

English Heritage: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/

The Stonehenge Tourism Website: http://www.Stonehenge-Tourism.com

London to Salisbury Trains: http://www.thetrainline.com/

Discover Britain: http://www.discoveringbritain.org/walks/region/south-west-england/salisbury-plain.html

Guided Tours of Stonehenge and Salisbury http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

For Stonehenge and Salisbury News follow us on Twitter: @SalisburyTours

Local Wiltshire Tour Guide
The Stonehenge Travel Company

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