Stonehenge

and Uffington



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Stonehenge is perhaps the most well known English attraction outside of London, if not in the whole country. Sited on Salisbury Plain, people have been fascinated with the mystery of its construction and purpose for hundreds of years, and the evidence is that it was in use for much longer than that beforehand.

I believe I've been to Stonehenge three times, two of which were when I was much younger so it might actually be twice only. These pictures are of course from my most recent visit. It was under two hours to drive from London. This trip was however my first ever visit to the Uffington White Horse.


Stonehenge

Stonehenge bathed in the wintertime afternoon sun. There have been a number of henges at the site, but the current incarnation is reckoned to be about as old as the pyramids of Egypt, having been built around 2500 BC. This puts it almost on a par with the Megalithic Temples of Malta, and Skara Brae in Orkney.



Goal-post like trilithons form the iconic shape of Stonehenge. There is more than one type of stone used in the circle; sarsens which form the uprights, and bluestones from over one hundred miles away.

Trilithons at Stonehenge


Detail of the stones

Three trilithons still form part of a ring of the ancient circle. It's usually not possible to go right up to the stones, the punters are kept well back to avoid wear and vandalism. However access is permitted for the summer solstice.



A wider shot of Stonehenge with some figures for scale. Some restoration work was carried out during the 20th century, including straightening up of one of the taller stones.

Scale of the henge


Slaughter stone

Looking at Stonehenge from the Heel Stone, with the Slaughter Stone in the foreground. My back is to the main road, which somewhat detracts from the peaceful air of the place.



A blackbird keeps watch on behalf of English Heritage. At least I think it's a blackbird - I'm hopeless with birds…

Blackbird, I think…


Uffington White Horse

On the other side of the M4 from Stonehenge is the not-quite-so-famous Uffington White Horse. Another ancient and mysterious creation, the horse is "drawn" with a chalk filled trench on the hillside. Unfortunately from the ground there's nowhere decent to photograph it from, as you can see.



Close up of the Uffington White Horse's head. It's estimated to be even older than Stonehenge, dating back to the Bronze Age some 3000 years BC.

Horse's head


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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2011-2014