On Friday morning we took another walk around Windmill Hill, the site of several Bell Barrows, and a place of human habitation dating back to Stone Age man some 3,500 years ago. We did the walk in reverse this time, starting at the bottom of the long, steady climb up to the top of the hill. It was bracing out there in the cold wind, and we all agreed, that the fresh air was good for our health. We do prefer sitting in pubs, which is also good for our health, and after the 4.5 mile walk, with had a good lunch and drinks in the "Red Lion," that lies within Avebury stone circle. This World Heritage Site is akin to Stonehenge, its more famous neighbour, which lies some 35 miles away on Salisbury Plain.
Many sheep were safely grazing in the fields, and, as the sign says, it is advisable to keep dogs on a lead. We picked our way through sheep droppings, and stopped to read the sign board, that gave us information about the barrows and the former hilltop site of human habitation. It is assumed this was a summer camp, as the hill is very exposed. It is thought that ancient man would have built more sheltered accommodation from the harsh winters lower down in the woodland and fields near the River Kennet, the prime source of water.
Three distant ladies walking towards the rainstorm.
The rain clouds followed our walk, but the downpours stayed distant, and luckily we escaped a soaking. I later found out that in Devizes the heavens had opened a couple of times that morning, with torrential rain and hailstones as big as marbles raining down!
Stone hugging in Avebury.
No visit to Avebury is complete without a visit to hug the stones. In their presence, it is difficult to imagine how ancient people, with primitive ropes and pulleys could have possible erected these stones. The stone circle is surround by a circular ditch, dug by hand to a depth of 20ft. It must have taken many man hours to move the earth with primitive buckets and spades. While I hugged a stone to the left in the above photo, Fran tried to topple it over from the right! Fortunately he did not succeed! The "Red Lion" is hidden from view behind the megalith.
A Wiltshire, thatched farmhouse.
This house is typical of the many thatched farmhouses to be seen in the area. We thought, that probably this was originally several farm labourers' cottages, now joined together to form one splendid house. Note the ladder, seen in the right of the photo. It allows a cat to roam in and out of the house at will, and a cat flap was at the top of the little ladder.