The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Harestone Down Stone Circle

Stone Circle


This week I'm a refugee from some building work in my home; on Monday I visited Avebury on a bright and frosty morning. Sort fell in love with the place again after a period of disenchantment. Today, still on the run from building dust, I headed back out there with a walking companion. My friend parked in the West Kennet lay-by and we headed up towards the White Horse Trail in search of the Harestone Down stone circle. I first read about this site many years ago in Terence Meaden's book 'The Secret's of the Avebury Stones' (this was also the first book I bought about Avebury) but had never got around to visiting.

We headed towards East Kennet and took the green track up to some fields where East Kennet long barrow was visible. Following the White Horse Trail uphill we came to an area of rough grass on a hillock - climbed over what looked like a wooden horse jump to get up to a scatter of large sarsen stones - at first glance there did not seem to be any particular circle like structure, though we noticed one deeply grooved stone. What deeply impressed me, however, was the absolutely astonishing panoramic view. Stretched out before us was not only a great view of East Kennet long barrow but also clear views of West Kennet long barrow, Silbury, Avebury, and in the distance Windmill Hill. This must be one of the best views in the whole of Wiltshire.

Unfortunately, I discovered the battery in my camera was flat and I had left my spare charging so only managed to get a couple of pics before my camera turned itself off. It didn't matter though, the clouds made the sky and landscape majestic - no photo of mine could ever do it justice.

From Harestone Down we headed to Langdean stone circle (also mentioned in Terence Meaden's book). I looked back at Harestone as we walked away heading south and have to say a stone circle did seem to take shape around the tussocky mound. We stopped for a bit in a field with three or four sarsen clusters in it. Something about this field reminded me of Piggledene though the stones were not scattered as they are there.

I'm no archaeologist nor do I have any aspirations in that direction - I can only report on my impressions when visiting ancient sites/landscapes. My impression of Langdean is that it is a sarsen drift as there is a scatter of stones clustered in a valley bottom. It is true that one of these groupings of stones was circle like.

We followed a track back to East Kennet village, gifted with some superb views of East Kennet long barrow for most of our walk. Perched on the horizon with its resident trees shorn of leaves, it is a magnificent barrow - seen from the Harestone Down perspective it seemed to be very much in the foreground of this spectacular landscape.
tjj Posted by tjj
19th January 2012ce
Edited 19th January 2012ce

Comments (5)

I agree with that perspective, and would love to make it back to that spot again sometime, the views from Harestone alone make it well worth seeking out but the place itself still has much to offer.

The day we we're there a very large grey/silver Hare jumped out, circled us and ran off across the field. Unforgettable! Thank you for reminding me of this place tijj.
texlahoma Posted by texlahoma
19th January 2012ce
Thanks for your comment texlahoma. Odd isn't it, going up there seems to turn the Avebury WHS around with East Kennet long barrow being far more dominant. Coincidently a hare jumped out while we were there too ... and went running across the field. tjj Posted by tjj
20th January 2012ce
This sounds like a great spot June, your fieldnotes paint a beautiful picture of the landscape around. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
21st January 2012ce
Lovely report TJJ on my favourite place, My user name reflects that i guess. :)
It really does offer a very different perspective on the landscape. If you can get up there please do, There are no obstacles to negotiate currently, Bar The White Horse Trail. No stiles, no barbed wire, no fences.
harestonesdown Posted by harestonesdown
6th August 2012ce
Thanks Harestonedown ... I had noticed your presence. Yes, a relatively unsung bit of the of the Avebury jigsaw. A 'must' to visit in order to get a different perspective to the one we all know so well. tjj Posted by tjj
6th August 2012ce
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