It is hard to believe that the Avebury Stones date back to pre-historic times when you are standing up close to them. Hard to imagine just what they could tell you if they could speak. Or that you can get so close to them, that they aren’t fenced off in order to preserve them.
The Avebury Stones and the Henge monument are particularly unusual, not just because it’s the largest stone circle in the world but also because it is the only stone circle with a village built within it. A village that is still very much a village, seemingly unspoiled by the world heritage site in its back garden. There is a bustling pub and only a couple of shops and it was refreshing to see that there was no real commercialism, that the residents were not a tourist attraction but able to go about their daily lives and not find coaches blocking their driveways.
Whilst the site is managed by both English Heritage and the National Trust you are free to wander as you wish even if you aren’t a member (you do have to pay for the car park if you don’t have a member’s card to scan, however). It was lovely to see families out this weekend enjoying the countryside, walking dogs and taking in the scenery. We stood on top of the Henge and looked out across the fields trying to imagine what the area would have been like thousands of years ago. It really does fry my brain to think of the area being SO old and yet it still being so well preserved.
We also stumbled upon Avebury Chapel which has recently been acquired by the National Trust so was closed to visitors, but it didnt stop us wandering the grounds and enjoying the peace and quiet it offered.
Something you could also enjoy in the Dovecote at Avebury Manor. The sign simply said that if you wanted to come inside and sit under a warm blanket you were most welcome. I feared if I did that I might never leave. We didn’t venture into the Manor House but I have it on good authority it is well worth a visit (as is the tea room)
Nor did we have a chance to visit The Barn Gallery and the Alexander Keiller Museum , I know, we are hopeless and really should plan our visits a bit better, rather than doing things on the spur of the moment and running out of time! But we will definitely be back as the whole Manor Courtyard needs a proper explore (there was also a bustling tea room and toilets available too).
If you ever find yourself driving down the M4 and needing a break I would definitely recommend a detour, though I am guessing you might want to avoid it during the summer solstice!