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Stonehenge Autumn Equinox Managed Open Access Arrangements: 23rd September 2021

4 09 2021

The Autumn Equinox (Mabon) is rapidly approaching as the last days of summer slowly come to an end. English Heritage are expected to offer a short period of access, from first light or safe enough to enter the monument field (approximately 06.15am until 08:30am) on the 23rd September. This is subject of course to any changes in the coronavirus guidance.

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site which has been a place of worship and celebration for thousands of years.

The Autumn Equinox is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage opens up the stones for public access. Equinox open access attracts fewer people than the Solstices – in the several hundreds rather than tens of thousands – and there are modern Druid ceremonies which are held in the circle around dawn, so if you prefer a quieter experience then attending the Autumn Equinox is a good choice.

English Heritage has facilitated Managed Open Access (MOA) to Stonehenge for the celebration of the summer solstice, winter solstice, spring and autumn equinox (spring and autumn equinox fall outside of this contract). English Heritage provides access to the stone circle and the monument field, free of charge to anyone who wishes to attend, but asks all those attending to comply with conditions of entry to ensure the safety of all visitors and to protect the monument. To safely provide MOA across the year, English Heritage works in partnership with Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Council and engages experienced event managers and health and safety experts.

Mabon is a harvest festival, the second of three, that encourages pagans to “reap what they sow,” both literally and figuratively. It is the time when night and day stand equal in duration; thus is it a time to express gratitude, complete projects and honor a moment of balance.

What is the Equinox?
The equinox is when day and night are actually the same length. It happens several days before the spring equinox, and a few days after the autumn one.

The reason day and night are only almost equal on the equinox is because the sun looks like a disk in the sky, so the top half rises above the horizon before the centre

The Earth’s atmosphere also refracts the sunlight, so it seems to rise before its centre reaches the horizon. This causes the sun to provide more daylight than many people might expect, offering 12 hours and 10 minutes on the equinox.

The word ‘equinox’ itself actually mean ‘equal’ (equi) and ‘night’ (nox).

Respecting the Stones
Stonehenge is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act and you must adhere to the regulations outlined in the act or face criminal prosecution. No person may touch, lean against, stand on or climb the stones, or disturb the ground in any way. The Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (as it then was). It was introduced by John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, recognising the need for a governmental administration on the protection of ancient monuments – more information. View the conditions of entry and respect the Stones

If you or anyone else in your household feels unwell, or has been asked to self-isolate, we ask that you do not attend Stonehenge. Also if you plan to travel on one of our shuttle buses, or visit our toilets or café, we encourage you to bring and wear a face covering.

If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Autumn Equinox and do not have transport or simply want a hassle free experience you can join a specialist organised tour.  Use a reputable tour operator who respect the conditions of entry – Stonehenge Guided Tours are the longest established company offering discreet tours from London or Bath, view their exclusive Cornerstone Lighting A700DL/40 Ursa Collection Surface Mount Col and save 25% by using discount code and Solstice EQUINOX21. You could also try Solstice Events U.K who offer small group Equinox tours.

Equinox Links:
What is the autumnal equinox? Royal Museums Greenwich
What is the Autumn equinox? Here’s what you need to know. National Geographic
Stonehenge and the Druids – Who are the Druids? Stonehenge News Blog
Walk amongst the stones of Stonehenge. (Equinox Tour exeperience) Blue Sky Traveller
Stonehenge Autumn Equiox Tours – ZhiYuan Super AMOLED Material LCD Screen and Digitizer Full Asse
The Stonehenge Pilgrims – Stonehenge News Blog

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for Equinox updates and Stonehenge news
The Stonehenge News Blog





Study provides first glimpse inside one of the giant sarsen stones at Stonehenge.

7 08 2021
  • Scientists analysed a sample from one of the standing stones taken in the 1950s
  • The sample is made up of sand-sized quartz grains cemented tightly together 

Stonehenge may have lasted so long because of the unique geochemical composition of the standing stones, a new study suggests.  

Geochemical analysis shows Stonehenge may have survived so long due to sand-sized quartz grains that are cemented tightly together by an interlocking mosaic of crystals

An international team of scientists analysed wafer-thin slices of a core sample from one of the great sandstone slabs, known as sarsens, under a microscope.

The 3.5-foot-long sample, called Philip’s Core, was extracted more than 60 years ago and only returned to Britain two years ago after being kept souvenir in the US for decades.

In 1958, Robert Phillips, a representative of the drilling company helping to restore Stonehenge, took the cylindrical core after it was drilled from one of Stonehenge’s pillars — Stone 58. Later, when he emigrated to the United States, Phillips took the core with him. Because of Stonehenge’s protected status, it’s no longer possible to extract samples from the stones. But with the core’s return in 2018, researchers had the opportunity to perform unprecedented geochemical analyses of a Stonehenge pillar, which they described in a new study.

The researchers used CT-scanning, X-rays, microscopic analyses and various geochemical techniques to study fragments and wafer-thin slices of the core sample – such testing being off-limits for megaliths at the site.

They found that Stonehenge’s towering standing stones, or sarsens, were made of rock containing sediments that formed when dinosaurs walked the Earth. Other grains in the rock date as far back as 1.6 billion years.

RELEVANT STONEHENGE NEWS:
How Stonehenge’s stones have lasted so long: 20-tonne blocks are made up of interlocking quartz crystals that have stopped the monument weathering over the last 5,000 years, analysis reveals – Daily Mail
Long-lost fragment of Stonehenge reveals rock grains dating to nearly 2 billion years ago – Live Science
Stonehenge breakthrough as lost fragment of monument uncovers two billion-year-old secret – Daily Express
Petrological and geochemical characterisation of the sarsen stones at Stonehenge – Plos One
Researchers analyze rock grains from Stonehenge – Reuters
Specialist tour operator offering guided tours of the inner circle of Stonehenge – Stonehenge Guided Tours
The origin of the giant sarsen stones at Stonehenge has finally been discovered with the help of a missing piece of the site which was returned after 60 years. – Stonehenge News Blog

The Stonehenge News Blog
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BREAKING NEWS: Stonehenge A303 tunnel campaigners win court battle.

30 07 2021

High Court rules Transport Secretary Grant Shapps acted unlawfully when granting permission for the Stonehenge tunnel scheme.

  • Campaigners challenged Grant Shapps’ decision to approve controversial plans
  • He gave go-ahead in November despite concerns it would damage UNESCO site
  • But a judge said there was no impact assessment or alternative proposals 
  • The tunnel is part of a £27billion masterplan to improve the nation’s roads 
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Campaigners have won a court battle to prevent the “scandalous” construction of a road tunnel near Stonehenge.

The £1.7bn Highways England project aims to reduce A303 congestion but campaigners said it would detrimentally affect the world heritage site.

The government approved plans in 2020 for a two-mile (3.2km) tunnel to be created near the Wiltshire monument.

Those opposed to the plans brought a judicial review on the basis the project had been approved unlawfully.

Highways England said it wanted to build the tunnel to reduce traffic and cut journey times on the A303, which is the most direct route for motorists travelling between the South East and South West and is used by thousands of people daily.

The SSWHS Judgement published today can be read on the Stonehenge Alliance website here

STONEHENGE TUNNEL CAMPAIGN IN THE NEWS:

Stonehenge tunnel campaigners win court battle – BBC News
Campaigners WIN High Court battle over ‘unlawful’ £1.7 billion two-mile Stonehenge tunnel project – Daily Mail
A303 Stonehenge tunnel scheme ‘unlawful’ High Court rules – Salisbury Journal
Campaigners win High Court victory over Stonehenge tunnel project – MSN
Stonehenge road and tunnel decision unlawful, rules judge – Leigh Day
High court victory for Stonehenge campaigners as tunnel is ruled unlawful – The Guardian
Stonehenge tunnel project blocked as campaigners win High Court battle – ITV

The Stonehenge News Blog
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Stonehenge’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status is under threat.

25 07 2021

Stonehenge could become the latest heritage site in the UK to lose its UNESCO status as a £1.7bn Government plan to build a new road and tunnel there could threaten its history, ministers have been told.

Stonehenge could be on the verge of losings its World Heritage status, if a planned £1.7bn road tunnel goes ahead.

The news comes just days after Liverpool was stripped of its Unesco status, one of just three places to have the ranking removed in almost 50 years.

The world’s most recognisable rock monument, near Salisbury, is expected to be next in line to face the axe from the UN-backed agency who are said to be considering placing it on its ‘in danger list’.

Stonehenge Avebury and Associated Sites was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1986, meaning has cultural, historical, or scientific value ‘considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Internationally, Stonehenge is revered as one of the wonders of the world and is viewed alongside global treasures including the Taj Mahal, Pyramids of Giza and Machu Piccu. 

STONEHENGE A303 TUNNEL NEWS:

Stonehenge may be next UK site to lose world heritage status – The Guardian
Stonehenge could lose world heritage status following Liverpool – The Independent
Stonehenge ‘could lose World Heritage status’ due to £1.7bn road tunnel plan – The Mirror
Stonehenge could be next to lose Unesco world heritage status due to £1.7bn tunnel – The Daily Mail
A303 Stonehenge Tunnel | Court case has begun to determine lawfulness of planning decision – Stonehenge News Blog
The Knotty Problem of the A303 and Stonehenge.- Stonehenge News Blog
The Stonehenge Tunnel Debate – the good, the bad, and the ugly – Stonehenge News Blog

The Stonehenge News Blog
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A303 Stonehenge Tunnel | Court case has begun to determine lawfulness of planning decision

24 06 2021

A three day court hearing to scrutinise the planning approval of the £1.7bn Stonehenge Tunnel road scheme began on the 23rd June and ends on 25th June.

The legal challenge has been brought by campaign group Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS), which believes the proposals will have a detrimental impact on the ancient site and is seeking permission for a judicial review of the project.

Mr Justice Holgate said the court would not be considering the merits of the tunnel itself, but only whether the transport secretary had acted unlawfully.

Campaigners supporting SSWHS’s legal challenge lined up outside the court buildings carrying banners and playing drums. Senior druid Arthur Uther Pendragon said he was there to “show druid support” for the challenge.

The Stonehenge site, together with Avebury, which is also in Wiltshire, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1986.

The proposed tunnel is part of a major investment in the A303, between Amesbury and Berwick Down, which is a popular route for motorists travelling to and from the south west and runs within a few hundred metres of the site.

Highways England said its plan for the tunnel will remove the sight and sound of traffic passing the site and cut journey times.

The project is classified as nationally significant, which means a development consent order from the Transport Secretary is needed for it to go ahead.

STONEHENGE A303 TUNNEL NEWS:

Stonehenge Tunnel Judicial Review: High Court case – Salisbury Journal
Stonehenge tunnel: Minister acted ‘unlawfully’ – BBC News
‘Vigil for Stonehenge’ held outside Royal Courts of Justice – Salisbury Journal
Court case begins to determine lawfulness of planning decision – New Civil Engineer
Unesco warns that Stonehenge will go on its danger list unless plans to build tunnel beneath it are modified – The Art Newspaper
Outrage as High Court denies NCE journalists access to hearing – New Civil Engineer
Stonehenge road tunnel go-ahead unlawful, high court told – The Guardian
Wiltshire people share thoughts on A303 Stonehenge tunnel benefits.- Stonehenge News Blog
The Knotty Problem of the A303 and Stonehenge.- Stonehenge News Blog
The Stonehenge Tunnel Debate – the good, the bad, and the ugly – Stonehenge News Blog

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
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Unauthorised gathering at Stonehenge this morning and live feed of summer solstice sunrise ‘pulled for safety reasons’

21 06 2021

There was an unauthorised gathering in the stone circle this morning. Security and police were extremely patient and understanding to avoid any unnecessary trouble. English Heritage pulled a live feed of the summer solstice sunrise at Stonehenge after people disregarded advice not to travel to the site.

We have been disappointed that a number of people have chosen to disregard our request to not travel to the stones this morning

Druids did not enter the Stone Circle, respected the restrictions and remained on National Trust property close to the monument. Normally, up to 30,000 people would gather to watch the sun rise over the stones on the longest day of the year, but it was a virtual event for the second consecutive year. The monument was preparing to welcome visitors in person until the Government delayed the easing of lockdown into July, with English Heritage calling on people to watch their live-streams.

RELEVANT LINKS:
Live feed of summer solstice sunrise at Stonehenge ‘pulled for safety reasons’ – Evening Standard
Summer solstice Stonehenge feed ‘pulled for safety reasons’ – BBC News
Police called to summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge – ANTIEE 01AV445 L17L3P51 Battery Compatible with Lenovo ThinkPad
Summer Solstice event at Stonehenge pulled as people ignore Covid rules – Wales Online

The Stonehenge News Blog
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Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations Cancelled. The sunset and sunrise will now be live-streamed.

16 06 2021

The 2021 summer solstice celebrations at Wiltshire’s Stonehenge have been cancelled as England’s ‘Freedom Day‘ is delayed by four weeks due to the rise in cases of the Indian variant. In a bid to control the spread of the new strain, the Government has now pushed back stage 4 of its roadmap.

ENGLISH HERITAGE STATEMENT:

With this week’s news that the Government is delaying the lifting of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions on 21 June and following discussions with Wiltshire Council’s Public Health team and Wiltshire Police, English Heritage has taken the extremely difficult decision to cancel the planned Summer Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge this year.

SUMMER SOLSTICE IN THE NEWS

Stonehenge summer solstice event cancelled for a second year – BBC News
‘Left with no choice’ – Solstice event cancelled second year in a row – Sundown, E-400 Iu D-Alpha Natural Softgels, 100 ct
Summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge officially cancelled – This is Wiltshire

The sunset and sunrise will be live-streamed for free as the virtual celebrations proved very popular last year.

Traditionally about 10,000 people have gathered at the Neolithic monument in Wiltshire, on or around 21 June, to mark midsummer, however English Heriatge were expecting numbers to exceed 40,000 this year as many festivals and events have already been cancelled due to coronavirus restictions.

Please do not travel to Stonehenge this summer solstice, watch it online instead. The National Trust has also closed Avebury and asked visitors “not to travel to the area”. Wiltshire Police said officers would have a “presence in the areas of both Stonehenge and Avebury” and local authorities warned people to stay away.

Visit the English Heritage website for updates.

Celebrations take place every year on or around June 21 at Stonehenge, a monument built on the alignment of the midsummer sunrise and the midwinter sunset.

On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle, and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument.

It is believed that solstices have been celebrated at Stonehenge for thousands of years.

Summer solstice takes place as one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the sun and the sun reaches its highest position in the sky, ensuring the longest period of daylight of the year.

RELEVANT SOLSTICE LINKS:
Summer Solstice 2021 – National Trust facilities at Avebury closed overnight – National Trust
Summer solstice 2021: everything you need to know about the longest day of the year – The Telegraph
The Legendary Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebration. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Stonehenge News
Stonehenge: Summer Solstice 2021 to go ahead as normal. Salisbury Journal
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. From Past to Present. Stonehenge New Blog
Attending the Stonehenge 2021 Summer Solstice. English Heritage
Stonehenge Summer Solstice Tours and Transprort – The Stonehenge Tour Company
Why Thousands Of Pagans Gather At Stonehenge For The Solstice Stonehenge News Blog
Respect the Stones: Stonehenge News Blog

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge and Summer Solstice updates
http://www.Stonehenge.News





Celebrate Summer Solstice at Stonehenge again this year – LIVE STREAM

6 06 2021

You can stream this year’s summer solstice live from Stonehenge. English Heritage will be live-streaming the sunset and sunrise for free so that those who cannot join in person or feel nervous about attending an event with lots of people, may still enjoy the occasion from the comfort and safety of their own home.

English Heritage will livestream two solstice events for free via its Facebook page. Tune in to catch the sunset on June 20 and the sunrise on June 21.

RELEVANT SUMMER SOLSTICE LINKS:
Summer Solstice will return to Stonehenge 2021. Stonehenge News Blog
The Legendary Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebration. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Stonehenge News
Stonehenge: Summer Solstice 2021 to go ahead as normal. Salisbury Journal
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. From Past to Present. Stonehenge New Blog
Attending the Stonehenge 2021 Summer Solstice. English Heritage
Stonehenge Summer Solstice Tours and Trasnprort – The Stonehenge Tour Company
Why Thousands Of Pagans Gather At Stonehenge For The Solstice Stonehenge News Blog
Respect the Stones: Stonehenge News Blog

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge and Summer Solstice updates
http://www.Stonehenge.News





Summer Solstice will return to Stonehenge this year. The celebration is due to take place on the evening of June 20th into the morning of June 21st.

21 05 2021

We all need a little positivity in our lives, so we are pleased to announce the 2021 Summer Solstice celebrations will return this year – if the lockdown restrictions are lifted as planned.

The celebration is due to take place on the evening of June 20 into the morning of June 21 – the same date all legal restrictions are due to be lifted in England. English Heritage has said it is “well underway” with planning, and is working carefully with the police, Wiltshire Council and other authorities to “keep abreast of the latest Covid guidance and how it impact on access to Stonehenge.” However, if the guidance changes for England or Wiltshire, English Heritage says plans will need to change.

ATTENDING SUMMER SOLSTICE 2021 (read full statement on the English Heritage website)
With Summer Solstice fast approaching, we wanted to give you an update on the arrangements for access to Stonehenge for Solstice this year. We are well underway with planning, and are working carefully with the Police, Wiltshire Council and others to keep abreast of the latest COVID-19 guidance and how it may impact on Summer Solstice access. Many will have noticed that the date coincides with that identified in the Government’s re-opening roadmap for England as Step Four – the final stage of ‘un-locking.’ If that remains the case, we can confirm that Solstice celebrations will be going ahead at Stonehenge on the evening of the 20 June into the morning of the 21 June. However, if the guidance changes for England, or indeed for Wiltshire, our plans will need to change. Updates will be posted here.

This year, there will be plenty of additional safety measures in place and we do ask that anyone who is thinking of coming, check here for details of these along with precautionary health measures and the usual conditions of entry. Anyone arriving on 20 June can expect to see socially distanced queuing, hand sanitiser stations, and reminders to keep your distance and to stay within groups of fewer than 30. Catering outlets will all operate under Covid-secure arrangements.

English Heritage is pleased to provide Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. We ask that if you are planning to join us for this peaceful and special occasion that you read the Conditions of Entry and the information provided on their website before deciding whether to come.

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric world heritage site which has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice for thousands of years. Stonehenge is a world renowned historic Monument and part of a World Heritage Site. It is seen by many who attend as a sacred place.  

Stonehenge is a significant World Heritage Site and to many it is sacred – please respect the stones and all those who are attending.

GETTING THERE:

Parking for the Summer Solstice is very limited and English Heritage cannot guarantee that you will be able to park near Stonehenge itself. If you are planning to travel by car, wherever you park there may be a 30 minute walk to the Monument. We strongly recommend car sharing or using public transport. ‘Stonehenge Stone Circle News’ has negotiated a special 25% discount with the organised tour companies listed below* who offer various transport and tour options from London, Bath and Salisbury. An organised tour takes all the hassle out of getting there and most likely cheaper than using public transport. Use discount code ‘SOLSTICE2021’

Car Sharing – Request or offer a lift to Solstice at Stonehenge

*Organised Solstice Tours – If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Solstice celebrations you can even join an organised tour.  Use a reputable tour operator who respect the conditions.  Stonehenge Guided Tours are the longest established company and offer guided tours and transport from London and Solstice Events offer small group Summer  Solstice Tours from Bath using local expert guides. The Stonehenge Tour Company also offer several options to attend the summer solstice. Use discount code ‘SOLSTICE2021’ to recieve 25% discount!

Travel by bus – Salisbury Reds buses will be running from 06:30 from Salisbury (New Canal, Stop U and Salisbury Rail Station). Check timetable.

Blue Badge Parking – Blue badge parking is in the visitor centre car park and permits must be booked in advance. There is accessible transport to the monument field from the visitor centre beginning at approximately 6.30am. Permits available from Solstice.Stonehenge@english-heritage.org.uk

As you approach Stonehenge, there will be signs to direct you to the car park – please ensure that you follow these. Please do not arrive early as there is no waiting on the roads in the area and you will be moved on.

Parking may involve a shuttle journey to the visitor centre and wherever you park there may be a 30 minute walk.

RELEVANT SOLSTICE LINKS:
The Legendary Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebration. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Stonehenge News
Stonehenge: Summer Solstice 2021 to go ahead as normal. Salisbury Journal
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. From Past to Present. Stonehenge New Blog
Attending the Stonehenge 2021 Summer Solstice. English Heritage
Stonehnege Summer Solstice Tours and Trasnprort – The Stonehenge Tour Company
Why Thousands Of Pagans Gather At Stonehenge For The Solstice Stonehenge News Blog
Respect the Stones: Stonehenge News Blog

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge and Summer Solstice updates
http://www.Stonehenge.News





This summer is a golden opportunity to visit Stonehenge without the crowds

28 04 2021

Stonehenge normally receives over one million visitors a year. During peak periods, there are over 10,000 visitors a day with queues stretching up to 100 meters from the ticket office to the car park. Due to current travel restrictions and very few overseas visitors, capacity has reduced to a fifth of what it is normally.

The English Heritage Stonehenge experience as an independent visitor:

I’m sure that if you’re planning a trip to Stonehenge you already have an idea of how special the monument is. Stonehenge is full of mystery; its construction and very existence are still open to interpretation even in our technologically advanced world. Stonehenge boasts an amazing and unique design. Many believe that the stones possess healing powers. All this is true and visiting Stonehenge is almost an ethereal experience, perhaps because of the mysteries surrounding it. I want you to get the most out of your visit so here are a few of my top tips – enjoy!

There are special buses from local towns such as Salisbury and Bath that offer direct pick up / drop off services to Stonehenge. Remember to check their timetables and give yourself plenty of time to get back to the bus stop. Once the last one has gone there is no service until the next day and although the security guards are very friendly and informative they will not let you stay overnight to sleep by the trilithons, under the stars!

When you arrive as an independent traveler the first thing you’ll notice is the visitor centre. It was moved away from the monument itself a few years ago giving a far better experience than previously.

Currently all tickets must be brought in advance and visitor numbers are limited. You must present your booking confirmation on arrival. [something about it being a good opportunity as there are usually large crowds]
Tickets cost £22.80 per adult

Although it’s very tempting to show your ticket confirmation and rush straight to the stones, take the time to go to the visitor centre and exhibition space first. Take in the atmosphere of the World Heritage Site, allow yourself to step into the landscape of when the Henge was constructed 4,500 years ago.

I’d highly recommend you use English Heritage’s complementary wifi to download the free multi-language audio guide. Covering the exhibition and the monument itself, it’s a fantastic way to learn about the local landscape and the most famous prehistoric monument in the world!

In the exhibition you’ll discover more than 250 significant archaeological artefacts showing how local Neolithic people lived, worked and played around the monument. You’ll see hand tools including antler picks, jewellery, Grooved Ware pottery, Arrowheads, Battle Axes, as well as ancient human remains. One of my favourite exhibits uses advanced technology to reconstruct a man’s face from a skull discovered locally. It really helped me connect with the people who erected the monument.

Once you leave the exhibition, you’ll find a large scale map of the UNESCO World Heritage Site local landscape including Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and Avebury as well as Stonehenge. It shows how Stonehenge is best considered in its ancient landscape and not in isolation as we often think of it today.

Half a dozen Neolithic houses have been lovingly recreated just outside the visitor and exhibition centre. They are very closely based on archaeological evidence from 100 plus houses in a huge ceremonial earthworks enclosure discovered in 2006/7 about a mile away at Durrington Walls. They dated from about the same time as the erection of the large Sarsen stones at Stonehenge. The houses are constructed with local hazel wood weaved around supporting stakes, with thatched straw roofs and walls of chalk daub. They give a fascinating clue to where the builders of Stonehenge lived during its construction.

There are two Touching Stones, one of the same material as the Blue Stones and the other of the Sarsens. Feel how they radiate heat from the sun differently, remembering you cannot touch the stones of the monument itself. Right by the touching stones is the ‘Pull A Sarsen’ experience, you can have a go at trying to move a real scale Sarsen that shows how many people it takes to move it if they all pulled as hard as you!

The most important thing to remember before you head up to the stones themselves is to use the public facilities as there is no toilet / washroom up at the monument!

The stones are just over a mile away from the visitor centre and there are two ways to get there. The quickest is the complimentary shuttle bus which runs every ten minutes and takes five minutes. The best way, if you are up for it, is to arrive at Stonehenge on foot, through the landscape. You get to experience the unchanged landscape just as our Neolithic ancestors did.

I can walk up to the stones in 15-20 minutes walking at my usual pace so give yourself a leisurely half hour. Fargo Wood marks a halfway point to the stones and is a great place to get close up to one of the many burial mounds. You can’t miss them – they look like big overturned dessert bowls covered in grass and are not giant mole hills! As you walk up to the stones, use the audio guide to for information about The Long Barrow, The Avenue and Cursus.

Once at the monument itself I recommend you walk in a clockwise direction, towards the Heel Stone (which marks the place on the horizon where the summer solstice sunrise appears when viewed from the centre of the stone circle) and The Avenue, connecting the River Avon with Stonehenge. Here you’ll get a great opportunity to take photos of the best views of the monument – the Heel Stone and section of outer ring of Sarsen stones that are still capped with their lintels. Once you have that Iconic shot remember to take it all in, enjoy your time by the stones! There is a rope barrier around the monument that takes you away from the site to get a good feel of the Henge (earth works) that the stones are set inside, before it allows you to the closest point of your visit for some great up close photos. If the stones are wet you may be able to see some of the carved graffiti – see if you can spot where Sir Christopher Wren (architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral) carved his name twice on the stones!

Now you can choose to walk back to the visitor centre through the landscape you will now be so aware of or get the shuttle bus if your feet are tired.

Once back at the visitor centre you can’t ignore the shop for a memento of your visit. My favourite items have ‘Stonehenge Rocks’ emblazoned on them! There’s everything from postcards and pop-up books to beautiful bespoke jewellery and even a limited edition Stonehenge Monopoly!

Before you leave there is also the cafe to grab a coffee and reflect on your experience at one of the most iconic monuments in the world.

At present the indoor exhibition and cafe are closed. There is an outside concession stall for takeaway refreshments. The shop is open with face coverings required and safety measures in place. Indoor spaces at the site are due to open 17th May. Please check the website for current restrictions before your visit. Stonehenge’s audio guide handsets aren’t available. Instead, download the free app, which has similar (good) information, and take headphones.

Stonehenge Relevant Links:

Ticking Stonehenge off your bucket list. Stonehenge News Blog

Stonehenge Special Access Experience. Stonehenge News Blog

Stonehenge Walking Tours. Enhance your Stonehenge visit and book a local expert tour guide.

Salisbury Reds have frequent tour buses departing from Salisbury city centre and can also include Old Sarum Hill Fort.

The Stonehenge Travel Company can meet you in Salisbury or the railway station and conduct small group private guided tours at very reasonable prices. They also include Durrington Walls and Woodhenge.

Visit Wiltshire. Tourist Information and events guide.

Stonehenge Guided Tours offer small group and private guided tours, including the Stonehenge VIP access experience with departures from London, Bath, Salisbury and Southampton.

English Heritage Membership. Join today and visit Stonehenge and 400 U.K sites for free.

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