One of the oldest, and most mysterious monuments in the world, Stonehenge is an English icon. 4,000 to 5,000 years old, it predates the Egyptian Pyramids by around 1,500 years. The stones were dragged from up to 280 miles away, but after a few generations of use it fell into ruin.
Despite driving past it probably fifteen times when I studied in Exeter twenty year ago, the first time I visited was in June 2022. Since my university days the site has been improved significantly with a flash new visitor centre located 5 mins shuttle or 30 mins walk from the stones themselves.
Outside the visitor centre are huts that could have dated from the time that Stonehenge was built, though most of it is speculative, with different thatching approaches being trialled. The huts reminded me of visiting tukuls in Ethiopia.
The largest stones came from only 20 miles away, but that’s still a long way when pulling them on a sledge like this.
You can’t see the stones from the visitor centre, but that makes approaching them more of an experience, particularly if you take the option to walk through fields to them.
I caught my first glimpse of them above the long grass.
There’s a low rope fence around the stones, much closer to them than I expected, though it would have been better if English Heritage hadn’t used bright yellow hose pipes to water the grass between the stones.
Stonehenge attracts a million visitors a year, but even visiting around midday at the weekend in summer it didn’t feel too busy.
I’m not sure how I feel about these signs though, turning the stones into a posing photo opportunity.
To finish with the view of Stonehenge from the road, travelling back home as a passenger.