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Avebury & the Marlborough Downs



A small tribute to the 49 bus between Swindon- Avebury-Devizes.

The 49 bus route from Swindon to Devizes via Avebury is my favourite bus journey. For quite a few years I only really went as far as Avebury, having joined the now defunct internet forum set up to discuss all aspects of Avebury. A disparate collection of people though we were, we often arranged ‘meets’ at Avebury, immersing ourselves in the WHS landscape. All good things come to an end and the Avebury Forum eventually folded but even now there is nothing better on a breezy day than a walk along the Avenue to Waden Hill - climbing up to see Silbury against the cloudscape of the day.
These days life has moved on and I now have a regular commitment in Devizes so make the return journey at least once a week, always sitting upstairs. When the bus climbs the hill out of Wroughton just south of Swindon, the landscape opens out into downland; on we go past the Hackpen White Horse at Broad Hinton. Sheep grazing, a buzzard or two sitting motionless in a ploughed field, very occasionally lapwings or fieldfares. Sometimes the downs are covered in layers of mist which is always beautiful to see. Then through Avebury, always people wandering about regardless of the weather – always a different view, depending on which side of the bus I sit. On past Silbury sitting enigmatic as always in the landscape, past the Adam and Eve stones and the Beckhampton long barrow. Then a long stretch of straight road between Beckhampton and Bishop Cannings. Bronze Age round barrows strung out at various points on either side of the road (a couple in the garden of a farmhouse). I believe there is also a long barrow out there somewhere though I’ve never been able to identify it. Travelling upstairs on the 49 bus is a great way to see a truly unique archaeological landscape and to see the way modern day farming practices intersect with it.
tjj Posted by tjj
31st January 2017ce
Edited 31st January 2017ce

Comments (3)

Cheers, applause, whistles, throws imaginary hat in air, etc. Lovely tribute to the joys of country buses. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
1st February 2017ce
If you sometimes travel this route on a Thursday you've probably shared the ride with my mum who quite often goes to Devizes for the market. An absolutely wonderful bus ride! A R Cane Posted by A R Cane
2nd February 2017ce
Thanks tsc, I love your response.

And yes S, am sure I have traveled with your Mum on a Thursday as the bus always picks up in Wroughton. Also an interesting experience as the older Nepalese community from Swindon use the Thursday bus for a day out to Devizes market. Lovely, friendly people.
tjj Posted by tjj
2nd February 2017ce
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