Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Stonehenge and Old Sarum

This morning we set off by coach for our short break away. Our first stop was Stonehenge, which is one of the wonders of the world. In Europe it is one of the best known prehistoric monuments but the historians are still quite uncertain as to what went on at Stonehenge in terms of the ceremonies and rituals. There has been activity on the site for 3500 years. The site is laid out to follow the passage of the sun and the changing seasons, with both the summer and  midwinter solstice being very important. The whole site includes burial mounds, processional ways and of course the great stones. No one really knows how the stones were transported and the circle constructed but it is an amazing structure to look at. It's difficult to get a feel for the size of the stones but you can just see a person to the left of the stones which gives you an idea.

When I visited Stonehenge as a teenager you could walk around and touch the stones but for safety of visitors and to protect the stones there is a path that takes you around them but not into the circle.

This stone is the heel stone and stands alone.   From the centre of the circle this stone aligns with the sunrise on the summer and winter solstice. This stone is smaller than the main stones.

As you walk around the path you see the stones from different angles and can see that there are different sizes of stones in different places in the circle.

This view is the back of the circle i.e. you would be looking into the summer sunrise from here. The lump sticking up on the really big stone is a tenon which would fit into the hole in the lintel  stone that would have been on top of it. 

Some of the stones have fallen over so the circle does not look exactly how it looked when constructed. You can find out more about Stonehenge Here

We walked back to the visitors centre through the fields and I just had to take a photo of this thistle. There were a lot of them along the path and I just loved the colour.

This smaller thistle looks a little pale and insignificant next to it.

We had lunch at Stonehenge and enjoyed a very tasty salted caramel ice cream as dessert. From here we travel to Old Sarum. This is the site of a saxon settlement, a royal palace and a cathedral all situated in the middle of an iron age hill fort. On the way into the site I couldn't help but smile at these two chihuahua puppies. They were brother and sister and were having a great time chasing each other

In order to get into Old Sarum you have to cross the bridge over the deep ditch. This was never a moat as it didn't contain water. If it had the water would have seeped through the chalk that it is built on and the moat would have emptied.

The castle is in ruins but there were a lot of walls built of flint that showed the footprint of the buildings.

Apart from the footprint  very little remains of the cathedral. This cathedral was built in the early 12th century but because of a poor water supply the cathedral was demolished and much of the stone reused in buildings in the new city of New Sarum or Salisbury as it is known today. You can find out more about the history of Old Sarum Here

From here we made the short journey into Salisbury where we are staying. After dinner and a walk we rounded the evening off with a couple of drinks in a pub in the town with our friends. Unfortunately no time for sewing today, but it has been a fun day.



  1. Fantastic stuff here. I think National Geographic did a documentary about Stonehenge many years ago, and it was fascinating. Incredible that such primitive folks could transport the stones to such a faraway spot and somehow manage to construct it. I’d love to see it some day.

  2. When we did our OE to England some years ago Stone Henge was top of the list. We also enjoyed visiting Avesbury, Woodhenge, and Salisbury Cathedral so much wonderful history in this little corner of the country. Enjoy your coach trip.