|A friend has a double NT membership which is about to expire so we took advantage of it yesterday morning and set off for Stonehenge quite early.
What can I write about Stonehenge that hasn't already been written ... its a fantastic 'landscape' with Stonehenge itself the centre of barrows scattered in every direction - seeing the landscape from the central perspective of the henge was illuminating. The stones are stately and yes, awe-inspiring; I had to resist the urge to run across the grass and touch them; the avenue is clearly visible leading up to the Heel Stone.
Starlings gathered there in great numbers - perhaps preparing for autumn (thanks for your comment Drew) always a spectacular sight to observe.
I've said many times before that I'm not into knocking tourists as I am one myself ... at Stonehenge, however, it is BIG BUSINESS. The site opens to the public at 9.30am - we arrived at 9.40am by 10am the car-park was almost full (lots of coach parties) with hundreds of people milling around. It is almost impossible to experience the scale and grandeur of the Stonehenge landscape in the presence of so many people ... so if you can't make the 'out of hours' visit, arrive at 9.30am and you will have a better overall experience.
Edit: Just came across this, which is something I wrote on 25/8/09 in reply to Rupert Soskin's thread on 'the theory of blood-sports at Stanton Drew'. I add here as a very different visit to the Stonehenge complex.
I had the great treat a month or so back of being taken around the Stonehenge complex by someone called PeteG (who posted here until quite recently). We started at the spring by the river Avon where the Avenue begins, we walked through the Durrinngton Walls site (easy to imagine a village with livestock existing there), walked towards Stonehenge along the Avenue until just the top came into view with no visitors, no cars, and no road visible. It almost felt like 'time travelling' (I do have a vivid imagination). Then we walked over to the barrows and along the cursus. Some of it was done by car but all in all we walked a lot of ground and, as you point out in your dvd, it is an enormous site.
What came to life on that occasion was that Stonehenge was part of a community where life was lived on sorts of levels ...for me the midwinter alignments (heel stone and its missing partner) will always make the henge feel like some sort of temple as the midwinter solstice had always been the most important time of the year and why the Christians nicked it ... it was too important to leave lying around.
Posted by tjj
14th September 2010ce
Edited 18th October 2010ce