The Ridgeway is definitely a route that I will be re-visiting in the future to complete a few more legs on.
|West Kennet long barrow with Silbury Hill in the background|
From West Kennet Long Barrow there is a good view of Silbury Hill (2400-2000 BC). The hill is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe, around 37 m high, 30macross the top and around 500m at the base. It occupies a valley-floor position, close to where the River Kennet rises at Arrowowhead Springs. I would definitely have climbed it but public access is forbidden unfortunately.
|Adam and Eve|
We arrived in Avebury via the Anglo Saxon churchyard. The Church of St James has an 11th-century Saxon nave in which two original Saxon windows survive. Our next stopping point was more welcomed 'The Red Lion' and a couple of pints of the local brew 'Avebury Well Water'. Avebury contains the largest megalithic stone circle in the world.
Our thirst suitably quenched we set off to explore the three historic stone circles around the village. As well as a tourist attraction it is also a place of worship for modern day pagans. it is the largest megalithic stone circle in the world. The monument is made up of a large henge (a bank and a ditch) with a large outer stone circle and two separate smaller stone circles situated inside the middle. The surrounding ditch today is only around a third of it's original size when dug out of the chalk landscape. It is the giant stones though that create the long lasting impression. The local sarsen stones range in height from 3-6 metres and weighing up to 20 tons that formed the Outer Stone Circle. 53 stones remain, from around 85 in the original structure. Sarsen stone is a silicified sandstone found as scattered blocks on the chalk in southern England.
Even the trees seem to take on a magical air conjuring up images of some ancient gothic horror. Just briefly the clouds have parted sufficiently to allow the sun to shine some light through for the first time today. It is short lived but I did manage to capture it at least. Last leg of the journey now back to our starting point which involved some creative fieldwork to get back on to the right path just as darkness was beginning to fall. A cracking walk and probably a distance of at least 10 miles covered.