|I've never been to Woodhenge before, and I'm not sure what I was expecting - it looks so accessible near the road, and it's so near Stonehenge, but surely there's not much to really see? But I enjoyed my trip today. There's a perfectly good carpark, but I felt like commandeering the bus stop below and walking up. It felt like more of an entrance - and it made me realise that Woodhenge is indeed raised up from its surroundings. It gave me that 'top table' feel, like it was quite deliberately sited here for its superiority of position. But for various trees, you'd have a super 360 view. The River Avon is extremely close by - again, hidden by those dastardly trees?
At the top of the path I stopped to look at an 'interpretation board' - and suddenly I realised I was staring out at Durrington Walls, which was quite a revelation. It's huge and you can quite clearly see the banks. Durrington had post circles within it too. Such an enormous site must have been buzzing with activity once. The Riverside Project
suggests that there were once hundreds of dwellings inside.
Through the push-gate into the henge, and there are the rings of concrete posts in a nicely mown circle, surrounded by pleasantly unmown grassland full of wildlife (yellow rattle, scabious, butterflies, the peculiar sound of crickets). I sat down at the edge for some lunch. It was only by sitting down that I could really start to imagine how all the concentric circles of posts must have interacted - how your line of sight to the middle would have changed according to where you were. Some of the posts were just huge - one circle in particular has concrete markers a couple of feet? in diameter. That's quite a size.. and then you start wondering about how tall these posts would have been, and if or how they might have been decorated. Would it have felt claustrophobic amongst them? Was that the intention??
I walked to the fence - one thing you really can't see from here is Stonehenge, and I think that's more a matter of slope than trees. If only I'd been more prepared I would have known that the Cuckoo Stone was somewhere in front of me.
Another thing that set me wondering was the presence of 'additional' posts - posts that (to the untrained eye) look pretty randomly placed and aren't in line with any of the concentric circles. What were they all about? The mind boggles. Also to confuse there are two posts straddling the apparent N entrance - but then two more at a Strange angle off to the NE.
So don't just write this place off because it doesn't have its own stones! From an empty little field with concrete posts, you can conjure something up that is huge and imposing and mysterious, and that starts to fit into its surrounding landscape.
Posted by Rhiannon
23rd July 2009ce
Edited 24th July 2009ce