Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Avebury, Wiltshire Pt.5

On our way to Avebury we pass this White Horse on Cherhill Down, which as shown in a recent post could be seen in the distance from the village we were staying in. There are 7 of these horses scattered around the Wiltshire Downs. They were restored around 1780 AD but are thought to originate from around the 1100's

The history of this downland area dates back to Neolithic c.4000BC.It was a period of woodland clearance and the first farms (herds and cultivation of fields) began to replace woodland. The Neolithic Age was a time when ground or polished stone weapons and implements prevailed. Later in The Bronze Age c. 2000BC metal tools were introduced.

When the Romans arrived in AD47 the conquered landscape of the Roman period was one of scattered communities centered on hill forts and settlement enclosures farming adjacent land. The Roman military built a network of roads centered on their own bases and the London to Bath Roman road passes through here.

Silbury Hill which we see here is the largest human built mound in Europe. (There are many dotted around these Downs) In sheer volume of material this one rivals the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It is estimated that it would have taken 500 men 15 years to complete. It was begun sometime between 2500 and 2900BC.It is thought to be a burial mound, possibly a monument to some long-dead Neolithic Chieftan.
Lets continue on to Avebury which was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. It is the most impressive Neolithic landscape in the country.

We arrive at the village passing this old barn

The whole village is surrounded by these Neolithic stones at the heart of a Prehistoric landscape. Unlike Stonehenge (which is not too far away) one can walk around the whole of this stone circle which surrounds the village.

Also in the centre of the village is Avebury Manor, now owned by The National Trust but occupied and furnished by private lease holders. A much altered house of monastic origin, the present buildings date from the early 16th century with notable Queen Anne alterations and Edwardian renovation. The charming Edwardian garden was completely redesigned in the early 20th century and provided inspiration for Vita Sackville-West, a frequesnt visitor in the 1920's.

The Red Lion Pub on the edge of the village on a Sunday afternoon


Annie Jeffries said...

Hi Barbara. What amazing photos. The hill horse is fantastic. The stones surrounding the village and their age to antiquity, astonishing. The whole of this tour is a jawdropper for me. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful record of your travels.

Vee said...

Looking at roofs again...the barn roof appears to be some sort of tile with lots of lovely moss growing over it. The stones all around the town are very intriguing. You make history very interesting, Barbara!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I remember that old barn, because we walked right past it too when we visited Avebury.

You got some great photos of the manor and those pretty gardens.

Needled Mom said...

The photos make me wish I could jump on the next plane for a visit. The history is very interesting. The horse in the hill is amazing. What is it make with?

Patsy said...

Wonderful, wish I could have walked with you.

Sue said...

How interesting! What is the white horse made from?

Did you go to Stonehenge as well?

Charm and Grace said...


Coming by your blog is like a cool drink on the hottest of summer days. Your photos NEVER disappoint, and I feel as if I am getting the grand tour of each spot. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I so love hearing about your trip. Thanks for the pictures. They are so amazing.


Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

I enjoy your blog so much! I love British History and I am hoping one day soon to visit your beautiful country. Your pictures are wonderful and I hope to see more and more in future blogs.
Tracy :)

Kate said...

Wonderful - it probably sounds quite strange but I love stone - I went to a Stone Museum which is situated in an old quarry and there is so much to be learnt from different stones.

Really fascinating stuff... as usual I love your photos!

Mike said...

I love these horses. I visited the Westbury Horse earlier this year. That one is now restored with concrete, not quite the same as chalk!

Titus said...

Hello Barbara, what fantastic photographs and what a marvellous tour you're having (have had?). I lived and worked throughout the South West for fifteen-odd years and this was like seeing old friends (and learning about them!). Thank you so much.

Linda said...

I've been there. So interesting. Even stopped at that pub.

Willow said...

I enjoyed my visit to Avebury in 2004 and stood almost exactly where you were and had my photo taken. The church in Avebury is quite lovely; we went inside. I remember seeing and photographing several thatched cottages and barns. What an amazing place!

IngunnBW said...

I could use the whole day whatching your fantastic pics of old wonderful english stone/half timbered houses with beautiful gardens. I've added you to my bloggroll, hope it's ok :)