Avebury, Wiltshire

By Emma Kirkup

When I have overseas visitors coming to stay with me, I always recommend that they make a visit to Avebury. The site here forms part of the same World Heritage Site as Stonehenge but is almost like Stonehenge’s lesser-known sister.

I started my day on a visit to Marlborough, just a few miles down the road from Avebury and enjoyed a nice cup of tea on the High Street there and a stroll around the edge of the town to St George’s Church at Preshute where the River Kennet passes by.

River Kennet, Marlborough

After this, I made the short journey along the A4 and pulled in at the layby marking the end of the Ridgeway long distance footpath on the right and on the left, the Sanctuary. What remains today of the Sanctuary are concrete market posts which indicate the positions of the original stone and wooden posts which formed part of this ceremonial site. For anyone who’s visited Woodhenge, it reminded me of there. It is estimated that this site was build 4,500 years ago. From here you also have some fantastic views of the surrounding countryside and over to Silbury Hill too.

West Kennet Long Barrow

Next up for me was a visit to the West Kennet Long Barrow. I am a bit saddened to say that I had never visited this part of the World Heritage Site before, always making it one of those places I must get to when I had the chance. The weather was glorious on this occasion so I made the half mile walk up to the Long Barrow, passing several other walkers on my travels.

This Neolithic burial mound dates back around 5,500 years and was quite an eerie, but beautiful place. At least 46 people were buried here over a 1,000 year period and approximately 4,000 years ago the tomb was deliberately filled in and blocked. Today, you can walk within the Long Barrow.

Being such a beautiful day, I thought it would also be appropriate to stop off at the small car park by Silbury Hill – a Neolithic man-made mound that you can clearly see if you are driving along the A4.

Avebury Stone Circle

After this I headed into the centre of Avebury. I didn’t spend a huge amount of time at the stones on this occasion but did manage to get some pictures on my way into the centre.

If you are a keen walker then there are lots of historical walks you can do in the Avebury landscape whether you prefer a shorter walk to say, The Sanctuary (approximately 45 minutes) or a longer walk on The Ridgeway. The National Trust also run guided walks of the Stone Circle at various times too. There is several places to stay within a short distance of Avebury.

Being such a sunny day, I thought I’d make time to explore the gardens of Avebury Manor. It’s such a tranquil spot and I loved the little touches like picnic blankets that you are welcome to use on the lawns. There was a lot of colour in the gardens too and the beautiful scent of roses and sweet peas and the peaceful sound of birdsong.

Avebury Manor Gardens

I spent a bit of time chatting to one of the volunteer gardeners in the Walled Garden and bought myself some rhubarb that had been grown there (I can see a crumble being made in the not too distant future). Talk about low food miles!

Here’s a little video that I created on my travels around some of the wider World Heritage Site:

Check out some of our other photos on Instagram too.




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