A fantastic day out that stretches the legs and refreshes the spirits while clearing the head and providing plenty of time for inspiration and contemplation, why not try a springtime trip to the ancient town of Avebury in Wiltshire situated in the heart of the British countryside.With the wonderful rolling ‘big sky’ Wiltshire downs creating a stunning panorama and the enigmatic Avebury Stone Circle and Silbury Hill ancient monument at its core. The area provides a superb escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and of course the chance to enjoy a well earned sunday lunch and perhaps drink a pint of cider while admiring the sunset raking across the ancient stones.You can enjoy the infinite silence of the ages past and trying to figure out Why!!!! did these ancient ancestors of ours go to such an unbelievable effort to arrange this apparent giant game of enormous stone Dominoes for our appreciation and contemplation.
We took a sunday afternoon trip through this well trodden path through an ancient land just as the buds of springtime were starting to emerge and it was quite frankly delightful.
Our 7 mile ramble made use of the Explorer 157 map of the area and for added fun and accuracy I took a Garmin etrex Legend GPS with pre programmed grid references and my trusty Swiss Army knife Camera a 13.5 mega pixel Nikon P6000 compact.
After parking in the local car park on the A4361 we began our stroll by crossing the main road and heading along an aptly named White Horse Trail along the infant River Kennet just across from the stunning Silbury hill monument.You can but wonder who, if anyone, was buried in there.Excavations have so far failed to shed any light on the mystery.My imagination suggests to me that this platform could have been an epic position where very important ritual cremations or ceremonies could have taken place.The location could have drawn large gatherings of onlookers where the surrounding slopes would have given a grandstand view of the blazing spectacle or oration that would have been visible for miles.
A short walk further the trail met the A4 again which we crossed to a small gate on the opposite side affording great views of Silbury hill behind us.
At the sign post we took an uphill walk to the West Kennett long barrow ,the most complete example of an ancient burial tomb in Britain that you can actually go inside and have a look around.The stones outside probably blocked the entry way originally.
Retreating back down the rolling slopes we the headed eastbound along the path of the river Kennett and past Avebury manor before strolling through some spring snow drop covered pathways and following the designated White Horse trail.Along the way we stumbled across a random brown horse with a friendly attitude.
Heading left up a main road and then across the river Kennett bridge we then head towards some ancient barrows on the top of the slope before crossing the A4 and joining the Roman road known as The Ridgeway.
Looking back behind you can see the landscape dotted with ancient burial mounds.
Heading uphill on a steady incline on our left the sun raked across the ancient Roman Ridgeway trade route backlighting more eerie looking burial mounds known as The Enclosure, marked out by sinister deep black trees on our left that overlook the Silbury Hill,its peak oddly still visible at the pinacle of the slope between the barrows in an almost intended fashion.
A little further up the Ridgeway our journeys leads us left at a sign pointing us back in the direction of Avebury village towards Manor Farm and across some breathtaking sunlit downs landscape along another ancient pathway trail.
Turning left at Manor Farm we follow the road into Avebury village famished and in need of lunch before exploring the amazing stone circle that surrounds the village.At the center of the village is the Red Lion pub where refreshment and meals are served.We tried out some delicious pear cider along with a tasty sunday lunch.
After lunch and in serious need of either a wheel barrow or a good stroll at least, we crossed the road to see the sunset catch the monuments on fire with light,a photographers dream and a moment of enlightenment that leaves you feeling like you are observing the mechanism of some ancient clock as its mechanism whirs into life.
TICK! TOCK! STARDUST.
copyright Kerry Davies.Re-Use forbidden.