Today was henge day. Avebury and Stonehenge, with a very quick stop at Woodhenge. Avebury is huge, and can best be appreciated from an aerial view
It is completely open ( there’s a village in the middle and sheep graze on some of the land ) and we walked all through and around it.
The stones are truly massive, and the entire area has an enormous ditch dug around it.Â Must have been most impressive when it was freshly dug in the white chalk.
On the perimeter path we found these nice beech tree roots. We stopped to take the obligatory Sinclair picture.
Here’s a picture of the Lawns of Avebury Maintenance Bunch ( LAMB, for short ) taking a well deserved break. You can walk among the stones, but tread carefully, there are “land mines”.
As impressive as the stones at Avebury are, the engineering that was required for Stonehenge just boggles the mind. The smaller stones were brought 240 miles from Wales.Â The larger Sarsen stones came from Marlborough Downs, a mere 19 miles away.Â They probably came most of the way by water, but remarkable under any circumstances as the largest sarsens weigh upwards of 40 tons (they would have weighed more during transport as they were shaped on site).
You can see where some of the cap stones have fallen that they actually joined them using mortise and tenon, a carpentry join.Â The sides of many of the bluestones have been carved into tongue and groove for joining.Â The really crazy bit is thatÂ they can tell from excavations that the stones have been placed in many different configurations over the years.Â Moving the couch is one thing, but can you just hear the groans when someone announced it was time to move the Henge around???
After all that, Woodhenge was a complete disappointment.Â As the name suggests, it was made entirely from wooden poles that they suspect were elaborately carved. But (surprise!) the wood hasnâ€™t survived and after a few thousand years all that is left are the holes. We didnâ€™t actually make a visit there, but only found it while turning around in the parking lot.
After the history that was the Henges, we headed for Longleat house and their “theme park”. Â Jeanette and were unaware of the history of the place, so we had no idea what we were headed for, thinking for some reason that it was something tasteful. Teresa was kind enough to not disabuse of that thought until we arrived and saw the place.
Basically, the lord of Longleat house started a theme park to pay for the upkeep of his land and house. There are tours of the house, but the theme park is the height of tacky and I don’t have any pictures except for the maze, which is what we came specifically to see.
The maze was great fun, but I can tell you how to get through fast. Put your left hand on the wall when you enter the maze. Follow the left hand wall through all the turns and forks. You’ll be out before you know it, but you’ll miss all the towers and bridges.
From Longleat we headed to our room for the night, the Montacute Country Tea Room.
The Tea Room was a very nice B&B, with a toy store downstairs that had lots of Dr. Who memorabilia and merchandise. They do love their Dr. Who here.
Had dinner at a nice pub, and Jeanetteâ€™s finding that she is enjoying proper beer more and more.Â Her tastebuds (and liver) are in training as she is travelling with 3 professionals. At the end of the night, she tries a Guinness (previously described as being brewed with leaves and sticks instead of hops and malt) and pronounces it very tasty indeed. I guess thereâ€™s no turning back nowâ€¦