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


Avebury & the Marlborough Downs


Sites in this group:

487 posts
Avebury Circle henge
27 posts
Avebury Down Round Barrow(s)
1 post
Barton Copse Barrows Round Barrow(s)
13 posts
Beckhampton Avenue Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue
1 post
Beckhampton Penning Barrow Cemetery Barrow / Cairn Cemetery
1 post
Beckhampton Penning Enclosure Enclosure
2 posts
Broad Stones (Clatford) Stone Circle (Destroyed)
1 post
Clatford Barrows Round Barrow(s) (Destroyed)
65 posts
The Cove Standing Stones
126 posts
Devil's Den Chambered Tomb
5 posts
Down Barn standing stones Standing Stones
60 posts
East Kennett Long Barrow
10 posts
Experimental Earthwork Artificial Mound
41 posts
Falkner's Circle Stone Circle
1 post
Falkners Circle Long Barrow Long Barrow (Destroyed)
3 posts
Falkners Circle mounds and barrows Artificial Mound
4 posts
Fox Covert Barrow Group Round Barrow(s)
3 posts
Fyfield 1 and 2 barrows Round Barrow(s)
22 posts
2 sites
Fyfield Down Natural Rock Feature
4 posts
Fyfield Down settlement Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork
1 post
Harepit Way Ancient Trackway
25 posts
Harestone Down Stone Circle Stone Circle
6 posts
Horslip Long Barrow
2 posts
Knoll Down Barrows Round Barrow(s)
1 post
Little London Barrow Round Barrow(s)
8 posts
Little London Pair Round Barrow(s)
25 posts
Lockeridge Dene Natural Rock Feature
78 posts
The Longstone Cove Standing Stones
16 posts
Long Stones Long Barrow
16 posts
Manton Down Long Barrow (Destroyed)
12 posts
Manton Round Barrow Round Barrow(s)
3 posts
Marlborough Common Golf Course Barrows Round Barrow(s)
28 posts
Marlborough Mound Artificial Mound
2 posts
Millbarrow Long Barrow (Destroyed)
7 posts
Monster Stone Natural Rock Feature
22 posts
The Mother's Jam Natural Rock Feature
1 post
Noland's Farm Barrow Round Barrow(s)
11 posts
Old Bath Road Barrow Round Barrow(s)
20 posts
Overton Down Round Barrow(s)
5 posts
Overton Down Holed Stone and Beaker Settlement Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork
113 posts
Overton Hill Barrow / Cairn Cemetery
14 posts
Penning Round Barrow(s)
3 posts
Penning Barn Round Barrow(s)
20 posts
Piggle Dene Natural Rock Feature
80 posts
The Sanctuary Timber Circle
1 post
The Shelving Stones Long Barrow (Destroyed)
227 posts
Silbury Hill Artificial Mound
11 posts
South Street Long Barrow
45 posts
Swallowhead Springs Sacred Well
6 posts
Waden Hill Barrow / Cairn Cemetery
1 post
Wagon and Horses Barrow Cemetery Barrow / Cairn Cemetery
8 posts
West Down Gallops Barrows Round Barrow(s)
9 posts
West Down Roman Road Barrows Round Barrow(s)
225 posts
West Kennett Long Barrow
148 posts
West Kennett Avenue Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue
5 posts
West Kennett Palisaded Enclosures Enclosure (Destroyed)
29 posts
West Kennet Avenue Settlement Site Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork
1 post
West Kennet Hollow Way Ancient Trackway
1 post
White Barrow (Lockeridge) Long Barrow
98 posts
Windmill Hill Causewayed Enclosure
8 posts
Winterbourne Monkton (Churchyard) Standing Stone / Menhir
1 post
Winterbourne Monkton oval mound Round Barrow(s)
1 post
Yatesbury Field Barrow Round Barrow(s)
1 post
Yatesbury Field Cursus Cursus (Destroyed)
1 post
Yatesbury Village Barrow Round Barrow(s)
Sites of disputed antiquity:
3 posts
Beckhampton Plantation Stone Circle Stone Circle
2 posts
Beckhampton Road Enclosures Enclosure
2 posts
Granham Hill Long Barrow
20 posts
Little Avebury Stone Circle
11 posts
Long Tom (Fyfield) Standing Stone / Menhir
12 posts
Pickledean Stone Circle Stone Circle
26 posts
Silbaby Artificial Mound


Add news Add news

Man thrown down steep bank after altercation with off-road drivers in Wiltshire

Rogue 4x4 drivers a hazard at Avebury again.

Police are appealing for witnesses following the incident, which took place on a byway near Avebury.
At around 3.30pm on Sunday January 24 a man in his 50s - out walking with his family - was verbally and physically assaulted by another man belonging to a group of off-road drivers... continues...
tjj Posted by tjj
5th February 2021ce

Avebury byways becoming impassable ...

... Rogue 4x4 drivers are blamed. continues...
tjj Posted by tjj
7th March 2020ce
Edited 7th March 2020ce

The summer solstice 2016 at Avebury

The summer solstice is always very busy at Avebury – this year is likely to be no exception. If you are coming to mark midsummer at Avebury, do plan well in advance. Please consider coming for a shorter time so you don’t need to stay overnight and use public transport if at all possible... continues...
Chance Posted by Chance
15th June 2016ce

Archaeology - from Dig to Lab and Beyond - Free Online Course

Get an introduction to studying archaeology, exploring exciting discoveries in the Vale of Pewsey, near to Stonehenge and Avebury.

https://www.futurelearn... continues...
Chance Posted by Chance
13th May 2016ce

New Stone Avenue Discovered at Avebury

A remarkable new Stone Avenue has been located at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avebury in Wiltshire.
Chance Posted by Chance
11th March 2015ce

Great Stone Way hits stumbling block

"Fears about the number of visitors a new 45-mile walking route will bring means proposed improvements to some rights of way cannot go ahead.

"As a result, a grant offer from the European Union of £27,700 for the scheme linking the World Heritage sites of Stonehenge and Avebury has been withdrawn... continues...
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
15th February 2013ce

Julian Richards to lead series of walks around the World Heritage site of Avebury

Lewis Cowen writing in the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald today reports that -

TV archaeologist Julian Richards is to lead a series of walks around the World Heritage site of Avebury this summer and autumn... continues...
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
28th May 2012ce
Edited 28th May 2012ce

EXHIBITION: Landscape with Stones: paintings and woodcuts by Nick Schlee

An exhibition of oil paintings and woodcuts by British landscape artist Nick Schlee, focusing on Avebury and the Ridgeway.

This new exhibition features some of Nick Schlee's most bold and vivid work portraying the ancient monument of Avebury and the nearby Ridgeway... continues...
goffik Posted by goffik
17th January 2012ce

Landscape with Stones: Paintings and woodcuts by Nick Schlee

"An exhibition of oil paintings and woodcuts by British landscape artist Nick Schlee, focusing on Avebury and the Ridgeway. This new exhibition features some of Nick Schlee's most bold and vivid work portraying the ancient monument of Avebury and the nearby Ridgeway... continues...
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
28th November 2011ce

Solstice Operational Planning

Minutes of a meeting of Avebury Parish Council held on the 15th March 2011 at The Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF

c. Avebury Solstice Operational Planning Meeting:

(i) Policing will effectively be the same as last year despite the Swindon Music Festival. The police will have air and public order support... continues...
Chance Posted by Chance
2nd June 2011ce

Sunday bus service to Avebury cut

I've just been notified that the 49 bus has been included in funding cuts made by Swindon Borough Council to Sunday services.

It will no longer be possible for anyone to travel to Avebury WHS by public transport on Sundays as from June 5th 2011... continues...
tjj Posted by tjj
22nd April 2011ce

The Cygnus Mystery - talk at Avebury by Andrew Collins

Andrew Collins will be attending the monthly Pagan Moot at 4.00pm in the Red Lion, Avebury on Sunday 6th February. He will be talking about his fascinating book The Cygnus Mystery.

http://aveburymoot.blogspot... continues...
tjj Posted by tjj
3rd February 2011ce
Edited 3rd February 2011ce

Electricity cables finally removed

"The gateway to the Avebury World Heritage Site has been transformed after work to bury unsightly electricity cables was completed…"

"The project, which started over three years ago, was made possible by a partnership involving Wiltshire Council, the National Trust, North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding National Beauty, English Heri... continues...
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
11th September 2010ce

Avebury photo competition

The West Kennet Avenue at Avebury. Photo by Heritage Action member Jim Mitchell, one of the winners in this year's National Trust competition for photographs of Avebury.

Photo here -
http://heritageaction.wordpress... continues...
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
30th May 2010ce

Honouring the Ancient Dead - Avebury Consultation

Following the request made by certain members of the Council of British Druid Orders in June 2006 for the reburial of ancient ancestral remains excavated from the Avebury Complex in Wiltshire, in 2008 English Heritage and the National Trust launched a consultation exercise to take public input... continues...
Chance Posted by Chance
7th February 2010ce

Tea-time over for Avebury clock

The clock at the Alexander Keiller Museum at Avebury, Wiltshire, will be removed for repair on 8 April, the National Trust has confirmed.

The 18th Century turret clock on the Stables Gallery has been stuck at four o'clock for more than a year.

The National Trust's Meg Sims said: "It's always time for tea at Avebury... continues...
goffik Posted by goffik
1st April 2009ce

Kit helps pupils enjoy monument

Kit helps pupils enjoy monument

The pack aims to make learning about the monument fun

A new teaching kit has been produced to help children get more out of school visits to Avebury and surrounding monuments in Wiltshire... continues...
The Eternal Posted by The Eternal
5th May 2008ce
Edited 5th May 2008ce

Neolithic Marathon and The Sarsen Trail - 2008

This year the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Sarsen Trail, and to mark this milestone is encouraging us to take part in the 'Walk for Wildlife Week' which precedes the Trail, Saturday 26th April to Sunday 4th May.

The Week will culminate with the Sarsen Trail and Neolithic Marathon on Sunday 4th May... continues...
Chance Posted by Chance
5th April 2008ce
Edited 5th April 2008ce

Images (click to view fullsize)

Add an image Add an image
Photographs:<b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by juamei <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Littlestone <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by baza <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Moth <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Moth <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Moth Maps / Plans / Diagrams:<b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Chance <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by Littlestone <b>Avebury & the Marlborough Downs</b>Posted by tuesday


Add fieldnotes Add fieldnotes
Fyfield Down and Overton Down Wilshire, near Avebury, the Sanctuary and the Ridgeway.

The megalithic trail of limestone blocks from which the ancients tooks stones to nearby Avebury leads from a footpath starting of the A4 near Fyfield up a climb to Overton Hill. Instantly you stumble across grey blocks which lie in the field like the sheep after which they are named. Following the river of blocks through a farm yard and on the far side in the overgrown hedge are two standing stones, about two to two and a half metres tall. Backtrack up past the barn and up the hill to Overton to where sarsen stones stand in a raw, wild landscape. This stands up above Avebury, but travel west across the gallops and you stumble upon the most awesome sight of all as hundreds of massive stones lay in a valley. This is a truly amazing place. It just doesn't seem real. A landscape completely alien to any other I have seen in Wiltshire, perhaps even the UK, and yet to the ancients must have been truly significant beyond merely a source of stone for the nearby rings and avenues. This site was the one I think Julian must have visited, although I didn't, know it by the name he used. Travel west past the massive rocks, south up over the hill through the lane to drop back onto the main A4 at Fyfield. Best in the rain or winter weather, when a sense of the gathering storm adds even more magic to an already impressive landscape.
Posted by chili
26th June 2000ce
Edited 9th August 2013ce


Add folklore Add folklore
Sometimes there breaks out water in the manner of a sudden land flood, out of certain stones (that are like rocks) standing aloft in open fields near the rising of the river Kenet in this shire, which is reputed by the common people a fore runner of death. That the sudden eruption of Springs in places, where they use not always to run, should be a sign of death, is no wonder. For these usuall eruptions (which in Kent we call Nailbourns) are caused by extream gluts of rain, or lasting wet weather, and never happen but in wet years (witness the year 1648 when there were many of them) In which years Wheat, and most other grain thrive not well (for a plain reason) and therefore a dearth succeeds the year following.
From 'Britania Baconica: or, The natural rarities of England, Scotland, and Wales', written by J Childrey (1662).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd January 2011ce

Always beware of local people spinning a yarn. Could this be useful advice to visitors during the circus surrounding Silbury's latest excavations?
[Around 1776 when the miners were excavating Silbury] a correspondent of the Salisbury Journal, with the intention of throwing ridicule on the undertaking, narrated [..] that some years previously a poor boy who was carrying a pitcher of milk along the high road at that spot, fell down and broke the vessel. A tailor, who lived at Avebury close by, met the boy lamenting his case just at the same moment that a carriage appeared in sight. He, therefore, directed him to shout out lustily in order to excite the compassion of the passengers, and advancing up to the coach himself, observed that the poor lad had but too much reason for his lamentations, for the urn which he had broken had but just before been exhumed by his father, and as a piece of antiquity was of such rare value, that Dr. Davis of Devizes would no doubt have given a guinea for it. This declaration so wrought upon the curiosity of the travellers, that after due examination of the fractured vessel, and a consultation as to the possibility of uniting the fragments, they agreed to give a crown for the article, and drove off with their prize. The tailor then gave the boy one shilling, and appropriated four to himself.
From 'A History Military and Municipal of the Town of Malborough. James Waylen. 1854. p406.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th March 2007ce

I was enquiring for the Sarsen Stones or Grey Wethers, when only about a furlong from them, but an old man and his neice did not know either name; at last they suggested that what I was seeking was what they called the Thousand Stones. The man told me (what I had heard before) that the stones certainly grew; he had seen this, for, when he was a boy, there were not nearly so many, nor were they so large, as now. (June 1901.)
Scraps of Folklore Collected by John Philipps Emslie
C. S. Burne
Folklore, Vol. 26, No. 2. (Jun. 30, 1915), pp. 153-170.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st October 2006ce
Edited 9th August 2013ce


Add miscellaneous Add miscellaneous
I recently came across a collection of essays about Wiltshire by John Chandler called The Day Returns - Excursions in Wiltshire's History (published 1998). This one is from a previous publication called 'Life in the Bus Lane'. The bus in question no longer runs on the route described.

The Source of the Kennet
It is a crisp March Monday and we are sitting on a bus in Marlborough High Street facing the college, and waiting for 9.35. It is that time in the morning which is common to all small towns, when those who have to be there have arrived and are at work; those who don’t aren’t, or if they, they can still drift along the capacious street to find a parking space.
While we are waiting I should tell you one thing that any intending bus passenger must understand. Buses (and I mean the ordinary country buses which we all used before we bought cars) – buses like this do not take you from A to B. They take you from A to Z, via B, C and D, not to mention W, X, and Y. This bus may say it is going to Swindon, if we persevere with it and have plenty of time. But Swindon is merely a by-product of the journey.
Let’s face it. If anyone is desperate to go from Marlborough to Swindon and they have a car, they will be there in 15 minutes. This bus takes over an hour. And one reason for the discrepancy becomes apparent as soon as we set off. We are going the wrong way! Swindon is due north and we are heading west. We are, in fact, embarking on a trip to the source of the Kennet, and on the way we shall call on most of the sixteen villages which grew up alongside the meagre waters of its upper reaches.
First above Marlborough is Preshute, its church hiding beyond the trees of the college. But Preshute is really part of Marlborough. The first real upper Kennet village is Manton, and here we leave the main road to make acquaintance with the river itself. It is lively here, eager to resume its old job of splashing over the millwheel, a teeming artery of winter rain surging bankful among its meadows.
In front of us are some six miles of Kennet valley and seven more villages before we reach Avebury. We cross and re-cross the river to visit them all. This is the land of the sarsens, the alien stones, the Saracens. At Piggledene and Lockeridge Dene they masquerade as drab sheep and lie asleep in flocks. From West Kennet to Avebury they march along upright like soldiers. In the villages they have been tamed and squared to serve as walls - incomparable walls of mottled silver, pink, and greenish-grey. And in Fyfield churchyard lie the men of the Free family, who tamed them and squared them, and who died prematurely from their dust.
The bus climbs from Lockeridge to West Overton, and at the crest of the hill a fine view is revealed. In the foreground Overton church, dressed in sarsen, looks down on a field of village earthworks. To our left the view is to Tan Hill, the highest place in Wiltshire; to our right the barrows on Overton Hill mark the line of the Great Ridgeway. And between them, in the far distance, we glimpse the Lansdowne monument above Cherhill. The bus winds down into Overton, slowing for an old border collie who is sauntering deafly along the road.
Now to East Kennet, where I have often admired the sarsen garden walls. But only from upstairs on the bus is their secret revealed, that behind them is hidden a swimming pool. On sultry summer afternoons, I daydream, some bronzed bodies laze by the water, and reach discreetly for their towels when the double decker trundles by. But no time now for daydreaming. The Kennet’s proudest moment is about to be revealed. We are back on the main road and approaching Silbury Hill. After a wet February the river has collected every drop it can muster from its downland springs and streams, to form a silver moat around the hill. It is a spectacle purely for the locals which the Kennet never repeats for the summer tourist trade.
At Beckhampton Roundabout we must give up this self-indulgence, and do our duty at last and go to Swindon. The northward turn up to Avebury Trusloe is surprisingly hard work for a bus. I glance across to Adam and Eve, the two solitary sarsens behind the stables. But I am thinking of breakfast. I heard a man interviewed on the radio, a manufacturer I think, about marmalade. He was talking about customer’s preferences. “Thick cut marmalade”, he said, as if had just thought of it, “Is essentially a male preserve.”
Avebury’s present appearance owes a great deal to marmalade – far more than it owes to the National Trust. It was Scottish marmalade that enabled Alexander Keiller, heir to family business to indulge a passion for archaeological excavation, first in the twenties at Windmill Hill nearby, and then during the thirties in Avebury itself. He drew on his wealth to buy much of the village and as building within the circle became vacant he demolished them, displacing the villagers to new house at Avebury Trusloe. He excavated the ditch, re-erected the fallen stones, and established a museum which still exists. He died in 1955.
Beyond Avebury we settle into a different landscape. The bus is heading north now, so the Marlborough Downs are to our right. They have formed themselves into a steep escarpment which rises green to sky. Here and there ribbons of white climb the hill, remnants in sunless holloways of last week’s snow. Against the snow the grubby chalk horse on Hackpen is a miserable creature. To our left now there is no corresponding hillside, just undulating farmland which teeters to the edge of a second escarpment unseen from here, then suddenly down to the clay. Above Silbury the Kennet loses its vigour and has not the strength to form a valley. It has become seasonal, gratefully receiving whatever normally dry tributaries can offer, and flowing only after winter rain – a true winterbourne.

John Chandler ends his passage (which I haven't reproduced in its entirety) with a quote from Richard Jefferies’ book ‘The Story of my Heart’ and the observation “Such a man would never have understood a bus timetable.”

‘It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it. It is about me in the sunshine; I am in it, as the butterfly floats in the light laden air. Nothing has to come; it is now. Now is eternity; now is the immortal life …. For artificial purpose time is mutually agreed on, but there is really no such thing. The shadow goes on upon the dial. The index moves round upon the clock, and what is the difference, none whatever. If the clock had been never set going, what would have been the difference? There may be time for the clock, the clock may make time for itself: there is none for me' (Richard Jefferies)
tjj Posted by tjj
26th November 2019ce

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

The latest here may be of interest - Heritage Action Posted by Heritage Action
21st April 2009ce
Edited 21st April 2009ce

Wiltshire Downs

The cuckoo's double note
Loosened like bubbles from a drowning throat
Floats through the air
In mockery of pipit, lark and stare.
The stable boys thud by
Their horses slinging divots at the sky
And with bright hooves
Printing the sodden turf with lucky grooves.
As still as a windhover
A shepherd in his napping coat leans over
His tall sheep-crook
And shearlings, tegs and yoes cons like a book.
And one tree-crowned long barrow
Stretched like a sow that has brought forth her farrow
Hides a king's bones
Lying like broken sticks among the stones.

Wiltshire Downs - Andrew Young (1885-1971)
Chance Posted by Chance
6th June 2008ce

A Village Republic

Sarsen is a village that has no great landlord. There are fifty small proprietors, and not a single resident magistrate. Besides the small farmers, there are scores of cottage owners, every one of whom is perfectly independent.
Nobody cares for anybody. It is a republic without even the semblance of a Government. It is liberty, equality, and swearing. As it is just within the limit of a borough, almost all the cottagers have votes, and are not to be trifled
with. The proximity of horse-racing establishments adds to the general atmosphere of dissipation. Betting, card-playing, ferret-breeding and dogfancying, poaching and politics, are the occupations of the populace.
A little illicit badger-baiting is varied by a little vicar-baiting.

Richard Jefferies, 1879
Chance Posted by Chance
20th April 2008ce

"These downes looke as if they were sowen with great Stones, very thick, and in a dusky evening they looke like a flock of Sheep: one might fancy it to have been the scene, where the giants fought with huge stones against the Gods. " Twas here that our game began, and the chase led us through the village of Avbury...."

John Aubrey, c.1650.
formicaant Posted by formicaant
26th September 2007ce

Two widely spaced letters about the threats to the stones:
To the editor of The Times.

Sir, -- [..] you will perhaps agree with me in the regret, amounting to horror, which I have just felt in observing, as I passed the "Gray Wethers" on Marlborough-downs, that the utilitarian work of destruction is actually breaking up these ancient stone, whether for repairing the roads or extending the herbage I know not.

Surely no modern barbarian, whether he be a commissioner of the turnpikes or a wealthy agriculturist, has any better right to deprive his country of these fine Druidic relics of the earliest age than he has to blow up Stonehenge and then to chip it into fragments; or to level the stupendous barrow of Silbury-hill in order to bring a few more acres into cultivation.

What are the county members, or the county magistrates, about, to suffer this work of spoilation to proceed! Are there no newspapers in Wiltshire! [..] Antiquarius.

The Times, Wednesday, Aug 12, 1840; pg. 3

[..] In consequence of a recent change of ownership.. there is every probability that the work of breaking up the Sarsens will be undertaken on a greatly extended scale.. the Grey Wethers in Pickle Dean and Lockeridge Dean would be the first to go, owing to their situation adjacent to high roads – while for the same reason their disappearance would be a greater loss to the public than the disappearance of those in more remote parts of the Downs.

[..] it was felt that steps ought to be taken to secure the preservation of some characteristic examples of the stones in their natural condition, and representations were made to the owner by the National Trust and the Wiltshire Archaeological Society. Mr. Alec Taylor, the present owner, met the representatives of the two societies in a friendly spirit; he stated at once that he intended to preserve.. the Devil's Den, and, after some further negotiations, he has given the National Trust an option to purchase about 11 acres in Pickle Dean and about 9 acres in Lockeridge Dean for £500 [..]

The Times, Friday, Jul 05, 1907; pg. 4
The stones were bought by the National Trust in 1907.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th May 2007ce
Edited 9th August 2013ce

A curious watery factoid about the edge of the downs:
..The chalk ridge of Martinsell and St. Anne's Hill, not far from the centre of the county, furnishes three springs, which, as old Aubrey, the Wiltshire antiquary of the seventeenth century observed, 'do take their courses thence three several waies:' one to the German ocean through the Thames, one by Salisbury to the Channel, the third by Calne and Bristol into the Atlantic.
Renoted on p109 of a curiously anonymous article on Wiltshire in 'The Quarterly Review' no205, v103.(1858)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th May 2007ce
Edited 4th May 2007ce

From the Diary of Richard Symonds, on Fyfield, 1644.
a place so full of grey pibble stone of great bignes as is not usually seene; they breake them and build their houses of them and walls, laying mosse betweene, the inhabitants calling them Saracens' stones, and in this parish [deposit] a mile and a halfe in length, they lie so thick as you may go upon them all the way. They call that place the Grey-weathers, because afar off they look like a flock of Sheepe.
Yes he really did say 'Sheepe'. But I do like the image of him hopping from one stone to another, the whole length of the stones.

quoted in 'Sarsens' by H C Brentnall in v51 (1945/6) of Wiltshire Archaeology magazine.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd June 2005ce
Edited 9th August 2013ce

"Grey Wethers or Sarsen Stones" is a cartographic shorthand (some of these stones really do look like sheep from a distance) and crops up on the map all over Fyfield and Overton Down. There may be some confusion caused by the use of this name therefore. It should not be confused with the Greywethers stone circle in Devonshire. RedBrickDream Posted by RedBrickDream
4th September 2002ce
Edited 9th August 2013ce


Add a link Add a link

Travelling to Avebury - Connecting Wiltshire

Connecting Wiltshire web site for the Avebury area.

Contains detailed information of all bus stops, service times and routes, together with cycle routes, walking routes, cafe/restaurants and toilets.
Chance Posted by Chance
12th September 2014ce

UFO'S over Wiltshire Avebury, England July 26, 2010 by shivadamour

Chance Posted by Chance
10th December 2012ce

How to Travel to Avebury

Wiltshire council web page detailing some of the more environmentally friendly ways to get to Avebury other than by car.
Chance Posted by Chance
11th January 2011ce

The Heritage Journal

My Life in Stone(s) by Chris Brooks

Chris outlines his life in stone(s) writing that, "Eventually we had our first field trip and were taken to Lanhill and Lugbury Longbarrows. These two places are just a few miles from my doorstep and I never knew they existed. I was particularly interested in Lanhill with its stone walled entrance and little chamber. This was my first barrow experience and until this day I feel quite protective about it. Our next field trip was to the Avebury Complex including Windmill Hill, Silbury and West Kennet which just blew me away. The lectures and the field trip had such a big impact on me and gave me a love of the Neolithic people and their awesome structures which has remained with me ever since."
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
8th November 2010ce
Edited 22nd November 2010ce

Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury

Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury
by Hutchinson, Horace G.
Published in 1914, Macmillan (London)

Download the complete book in pdf format
Chance Posted by Chance
25th March 2010ce

Virtual Walkabout

Clive Ruggles's photographic walkabout at Avebury (includes resident sheep). You can imagine you're walking from the Sanctuary down to the circle (amongst other directions).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th September 2006ce
Edited 4th September 2006ce

Avebury - A present from the past

Stukeley's map of the 'snakey' avenues going through Avebury, and the various monuments around.

From 'Avebury - A Temple of the British Druids' courtesy of Lithops' excellent website.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th February 2006ce

The Avebury Journal

All the latest news and observations from around the Avebury World Heritage site, brought to you by our friends at
Jane Posted by Jane
23rd March 2005ce

Avebury WHS Interactive Map

Photos and information - plus (if your computer can take the pace) circle effortlessly above your favourite monuments with an aerial video clip.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd December 2004ce

University of Leicester: Negotiating Avebury Project

One of the Web sites relating to a collaboration between the Universities of Leicester, Newport and Southampton. This page links to interim reports on the 2001 and 2002 seasons, including the excavation of Falkner's Circle.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
6th May 2003ce
Edited 6th May 2003ce

Latest posts for Avebury & the Marlborough Downs

Showing 1-10 of 2,260 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound) — News

Moat forms round ancient monument after heavy rain.
The Eternal Posted by The Eternal
15th November 2023ce

Avebury (Circle henge) — Links

Paul Nash at Avebury

This is a Youtube link taken from the website of Robjn Cantus - Inexpensive Progress. If you like/love Paul Nash's artistic work it is fascinating. But also as a historical footnote. Enjoy.
moss Posted by moss
16th June 2023ce

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Silbury Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
18th January 2023ce

The Polisher — Images

<b>The Polisher</b>Posted by markj99<b>The Polisher</b>Posted by markj99<b>The Polisher</b>Posted by markj99 Posted by markj99
17th July 2022ce

The Polisher — Fieldnotes

Without local knowledge finding the Fyfield Down Polisher Stone could be tricky. I have visited it in 2011 via Mother's Jam but I would like to suggest an alternative "foolproof" route to Fyfield Down Polisher Stone.
Park up in Avebury. Walk E out of Avebury on the Wessex Ridgeway. After 1.5 mile you reach a crossroads with The Ridgeway. Continue E along Wessex Ridgeway for c. 450 yards to reach Overton Down Gallops. Follow the Gallops uphill NNW for c. 0.33 miles to the N end at SU12727144. Head NE downhill for c. 120 yards to a solitary thorn tree. Walk c. 20 yards E downhill to a Pyramid shaped rock. Fyfield Down Polisher Stone lies on the edge of a gorse bush c. 10 yards ESE of the Pyramid Rock.

There is a large flat slab with a large rock basin on its upper surface c. 50 yards E of Fyfield Down Polisher Stone. I wonder if the Rock Basin was made by the same people who made the Polisher Stone?
Posted by markj99
17th July 2022ce

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound) — Images

<b>Silbury Hill</b>Posted by Spiddly Spiddly Posted by Spiddly
24th April 2022ce

Fyfield Down (Natural Rock Feature) — News

Fyfield Down in Wiltshire delisted as a nature reserve

One of Wiltshire’s most important wild landscapes has been delisted as a nature reserve. Fyfield Down, just east of the famous stone circle at Avebury, was leased to the Nature Conservancy (a predecessor of Natural England) in 1955 and declared an NNR in 1956. It has been described as the “best assemblage of sarsen stones in England”. The site lies within the Avebury World Heritage Site and the North Wessex Downs AONB.
moss Posted by moss
17th February 2022ce

Pickledean Stone Circle — Images

<b>Pickledean Stone Circle</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
3rd October 2021ce
Showing 1-10 of 2,260 posts. Most recent first | Next 10