Saturday, 6 November 2010

Take the White Horse to Woodhenge

Monday 27 May 1998. It was a public holiday. The other guests were hoping for a busy day at the craft fair and reported that there had been a lot for people to see and do the previous day. This was a double edged sword for stallholders of course, as the public could watch the attractions and spend less time (and money) on the craft stalls.

We wished them well for the day to come and took our leave of Wychurch Farm. For the rest of the holiday we would look for somewhere to sleep during each day.

We had decided to go to Old Sarum, the old fortified town that stood above, and predated, Salisbury. Our route took us past our second white horse of the week, on the hillside at Westbury.

It's been on a bit of a diet, this horse...

Recently I read reports that the white horses of southern Britain may not be as old as previously thought and that some of them may be as recent as the 18th or 19th Century. The one that everyone still thinks is old is perhaps the most mysterious - the one at Uffington in Oxfordshire. We're a long way from that, but we will get there towards the end of this holiday so that's something to look forward to.

Driving on from Westbury, we passed Stonehenge on our right hand side. Robbed of it's atmosphere by high wire fences, turnstiles and the distance at which visitors are kept, the monument never-the-less retains its majestic dignity and one is always humbled at the thought of the human effort to build such a structure with bare hands.

It prompted me to make a slight detour to see the site of a similarly laid out structure but using wood instead of stone: Woodhenge. The wood of course has long-since vanished.

Concrete markers have been erected to show the sites of the excavated post holes. The single prehistoric grave had been freshly covered with a bunch of wild flowers.

This is not a well known monument like Stonehenge or Avebury. There is even a very similar site in Lancashire a few minutes drive from where I live, though it is on private land and not accessible by the public on the Bleasdale hills.

Whatever the mystery surrounding the site there is something non-mysterious and distinctly non-magical about concrete posts...

Old Sarum - here we come!

Large versions of the photos: All the photographs of this holiday are in a set at Flickr

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