Sunday, 31 October 2010

Cherhill and Avebury

Sunday 26 May 1998. We were heading for Avebury's massive prehistoric earthworks.

The road I chose took us past the white horse at Cherhill. There are several of these horses in the area. They date from prehistory to this century and are "drawn" by scraping the turf from the underlying chalk and repeated weedings known as scourings.

In the photo if you follow the horizon above the horse to the right you will see two small bumps. They are the earthworks of an Iron Age hillfort.

Avebury never ceases to fascinate me. I think after Glastonbury it is the most magical place in England. Forget Stonehenge, if it's atmosphere you want then come to Avebury. The huge earthworks and the remains of the stone circle entirely surround the village.

The whole of this is then surrounded with a ditch and outer rampart. And what a ditch! Bear in mind that it will have filled up with a fair bit of dust and debris over the last couple of thousand years...

Inside the immense henge of Avebury are the remains of smaller stone circles. Some of these stones were destroyed a few hundred years ago when the villagers sought to use the stone for building.

Large fires were started around stones which were then cooled rapidly by dousing them with water. The expansion due to the heat followed by rapid contraction caused the stones to split apart. Reportedly the practice stopped after a man was blinded by a flying chip of stone causing superstitious minds to race into overdrive!

In this photo in the background you can see small concrete obelisks set where stones have been destroyed.

Also note how few people walk inside this stone circle and how the ones that do stay close to the perimeter. On our first visit our daughter Gillian who was about 6 at the time, refused point blank to walk inside the circle saying that it "felt funny".

This is a circle within a circle and there are many ley lines crossing here.

A shame about the dull weather. We have a couple more stops during the day and then the sun will come out later so we will return to see Avebury at its most spectacular best.

Large versions of the photos: if you really can't wait then large versions of all the photos from this holiday can be seen at Flickr.

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