UK: England and Cornwall Trip


  1. Introduction
  2. London
  3. Cornwall
  4. Eden Project
  5. Stonehenge
  6. More travel
  7. Author

5. Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain

Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain


The reason to come to Salisbury Plain is to see Stonehenge, an ancient stone circle.

Stonehenge is a Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monument located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire, about 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Salisbury. It is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones and is one of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world. Archaeologists think the standing stones were erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC although the surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury henge monument, and it is also a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge itself is owned and managed by English Heritage whilst the surrounding downland is owned by the National Trust..

From "Stonehenge", Wikipedia, 2006

Tank warning sign on Salisbury Plain

Tank warning sign

Salisbury Plain must be one of the few places in the world to warn motorists of Army tanks crossing (I saw an even odder street sign in Stockholm warning motorists not to drive off a pier).

Salisbury Plain is a 300 sq mi (780 km2) chalk plateau in central southern England, part of the Southern England Chalk Formation. Most of the plain lies within Wiltshire, with some in Berkshire. The plain is famous for its rich archaeology, including Stonehenge, one of England's best known landmarks. The plain is sparsely populated and is the largest remaining area of calcareous grassland in northwest Europe. Additionally the plain has several military institutions, arable land, and a few small areas of beech and coniferous woodland. The plain, and some of the surrounding area, is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

From "Salisbury Plain", Wikipedia, 2006

Stonehenge looks a lot smaller in reality than in photos. It is 7.5 m high, which I guess is big if you had to drag the stones there, but I was expecting something like Australia's equivalent, Uluru, which is 346 metres high.

At the time English Heritage were unable to cope with tourist demand. Their tourism complex was below ground level in an attempt to retain the atmosphere of Stonehenge, but a large car park and the nearby road, detracted from this. There are plans to build a centre further away from the monument and sink the road in a tunnel, but not without some controversy. When built, the new center will be a great improvement. Rather than just driving up to Stonehenge, like it was a motorway service center, the visitor will be prepared for what they will see and then taken on a trip thought the countryside, somewhat like the Eden project experience (my experience of Uluru was a little different: looking down on it from the flight deck of an air force C130 transport at sunset).


Cheddar cliffs and cheese

Cheddar cliffs and cheese

Slightly less depressing was the village of Cheddar.

Cheddar is a village in the district of Sedgemoor in Somerset, England, situated on the edge of the Mendip Hills 14.5 km (nine miles) northwest of Wells. The village has a population of 5,724 (2002 estimate). It is famous for having given its name to Cheddar cheese which is one of the most popular kinds of cheese. Although the cheese is now made worldwide, only one producer remains in the village itself. ...

Cheddar is also famous for Cheddar Gorge, the largest gorge in England, and for the Cheddar Caves, where the remains of Cheddar Man were found. Nearby is Wookey Hole and Ebbor Gorge. At the junction of Church Street, Bath Street and Union Street stands a fine roofed medieval market cross, recently restored ...

From "Cheddar", Wikipedia, 2006

The disappointment was that I didn't like the cheese, having been brought up on the Australian produced immitation of it. But the village was interesting, being built on a swift flowing stream between the clifs.

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