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Discovering the Magical Stone Circles of Wiltshire

submitted on 6 May 2023 by

A Land of Enchantment and Mystery

Deep in the heart of the English countryside lies a county shrouded in mystery and enchantment, a place where ancient stones whisper secrets of a forgotten past. Welcome to Wiltshire, a land steeped in history and home to some of the most fascinating stone circles in the world. In this article, we'll delve into the curious world of Wiltshire's stone circles and offer tips and advice on how to make the most of your visit to these magical sites.

Stone Circles: Wiltshire's Ancient Monuments

Wiltshire is home to a plethora of ancient stone circles, each with its own unique story to tell. These circles, built thousands of years ago by our Neolithic ancestors, are often found in remote and isolated locations, imbuing the landscape with an otherworldly presence. Some of the most famous examples include:
  • Stonehenge
  • Avebury
  • The Rollright Stones
  • Stanton Drew
While Stonehenge is perhaps the most famous of these circles, the others are equally compelling and worthy of exploration. Read on for insights into these ancient monuments and tips on how to make the most of your visit to Wiltshire's stone circles.

Stonehenge: A World-Famous Wonder

Stonehenge is the most famous and well-preserved stone circle in the world, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Located on Salisbury Plain, this prehistoric monument dates back to approximately 2500 BC and is surrounded by a rich archaeological landscape that provides a glimpse into the lives of the people who built it. Tips for visiting Stonehenge include:
  • Book in advance: Due to its popularity, it's essential to book your tickets in advance to ensure entry. This can be done through the English Heritage website.
  • Arrive early: To avoid the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience, aim to arrive as early as possible, preferably as soon as the site opens.
  • Join a guided tour: To truly appreciate the history and significance of Stonehenge, consider joining a guided tour led by an expert.
  • Don't forget the surrounding landscape: The area around Stonehenge is rich in archaeological treasures, so be sure to explore the wider Salisbury Plain during your visit.

Avebury: A Quaint Village Encircled by Stones

Avebury, located just 20 miles north of Stonehenge, is a unique and captivating stone circle that embraces an entire village within its ancient embrace. Built around 2600 BC, the Avebury complex is considered the largest stone circle in the world, with a circumference of approximately one mile. Tips for visiting Avebury include:
  • Combine with a visit to Stonehenge: Avebury is easily combined with a visit to Stonehenge, either by car or on an organized tour.
  • Explore the village: The charming village of Avebury is located within the stone circle, making it the perfect place to stop for lunch or a refreshing drink at the local pub.
  • Visit the Alexander Keiller Museum: To learn more about the history of Avebury and its stone circles, be sure to visit the Alexander Keiller Museum, located in the heart of the village.
  • Walk the West Kennet Avenue: This ancient processional route, lined with standing stones, connects Avebury to the Sanctuary, another impressive prehistoric site in the area.

The Rollright Stones: A Whispering Enigma

The Rollright Stones, located on the border between Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, are a collection of three ancient sites: the King's Men stone circle, the Whispering Knights burial chamber, and the King Stone monolith. Steeped in folklore and legend, the Rollright Stones are believed to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien's famous "Stone Trolls" in The Hobbit. Tips for visiting the Rollright Stones include:
  • Wear sturdy shoes: The terrain around the Rollright Stones can be uneven and muddy, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
  • Bring a picnic: There are no facilities at the site, so bring a picnic to enjoy while you soak up the atmosphere of this magical place.
  • Visit the nearby village of Long Compton: This picturesque village, with its thatched cottages and traditional pubs, is the perfect place to unwind after exploring the Rollright Stones.

Stanton Drew: A Lesser-Known Gem

Stanton Drew, located in the Chew Valley near Bath, is a lesser-known but equally intriguing stone circle. Consisting of three circles and several outlying stones, Stanton Drew is believed to date back to around 3000 BC, making it one of the oldest stone circles in Britain. Tips for visiting Stanton Drew include:
  • Obtain permission from the landowner: Access to Stanton Drew is via private land, so visitors must obtain permission from the local landowner before exploring the site.
  • Take a guided tour: To fully appreciate the history and significance of Stanton Drew, consider joining a guided tour with a local expert.
  • Visit the nearby village of Stanton Drew: With its charming traditional pub, the village is a great place to relax and enjoy some refreshments after exploring the stone circles.

Embark on a Wiltshire Stone Circle Adventure

With their stunning locations and fascinating histories, Wiltshire's stone circles offer a unique and enchanting experience that will leave you spellbound. So don your adventurous spirit and embark on a journey of discovery through the ancient and mystical landscape of Wiltshire's magical stone circles.
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