Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Up on the Ridgeway at Avebury with Ancient Man, (and woman!)

The Ridgeway, walking towards West Kennet Long Barrow
Today's walk in Avebury took us up to the "Ridgeway" an ancient track that runs along the top of Marlborough Downs and is described as Britains oldest trackway.  It is an 87 mile, long distance walk that starts in Marlborough and runs up to the Chiltern Hills and Aylesbury.  Britain now has many long distance paths, all interlinking and providing an opportunity to walk the whole of the country without setting foot on a tarmaced road.  We walked on chalk, not too slippery after the rain, although we had to dodge the many puddles, as can be seen in the photo.  

Avebury is famous for its stone circle of neolithic origin, although its exact purpose is not understood.  Stonehenge, the other more famous stone circle is some twenty miles away.  The trees below are growing out of a Bell Barrow, one of many neolithic burial mounds.  Not far distant is West Kennet Long Barrow, a many chambered burial mound, and excavated some years ago, where many skeletons of ancient man and his burial objects were found.  Nearby too is Silbury Hill, another enigma, a very large artificial hill, built for we know not what!   Was ancient man trying to reach the stars?  That's my theory.    
Trees growing on a Bell Barrow.

Walking back to the "Red Lion" through the Avenue of stones.
Alexander Keiller, 1889-1955 of the famous marmalade making company lived in Avebury Manor.  As a very wealthy man, he could indulge his interest in archeology and in the 1930s with his wife, he excavated the stone circle, re-erecting the stones, digging out the ditches and re establishing the stone avenue.   The following website:  is very informative and shows scenes of the excavations.   This avenue of stones leads from Avebury up to the Santuary, another henge further along the Ridgeway. 

The small area of Wiltshire is littered with the remains of ancient man and must have been the centre of a very important primitive settlement near the River Kennet.  At the end of the walk we retired to the pub for a well earned drink.
A large monolith at the end of the Avenue.

The haunted "Red Lion" in Avebury, where we ended our walk.  A young lady fell down the well here, and her ghost is supposed to haunt the pub.  I have never seen her.

No comments:

Post a Comment