September 30, 2012
Today (September 30th) is the last day of the season for Stonehenge inner circle tours (see below)
Due to conservation reason English Heritage, quite rightly, do not allow people to enter the Stones before or after the monument is closed to the public. Private access resumes in December and throughout 2013. These are very popular tours and demand far exceeds availability. They must be booked well in advance!
Stonehenge is open as usual during normal opening hours:
1 September – 15 October 2012 Daily 9.30 – 18.00
16 October 2012 – 15 March 2013 Daily 9.30 – 16.00
We continue operate daily tours of Stonehenge from London that include a regular visit to Stonehenge. A regular visit allows you to get within 30 feet of the stones.
(Stone Circle Access visits take place outside the normal opening times at Stonehenge, and are very early in the morning or late in the evening, and are not offered during the normal opening times.)
What is meant by conservation?
Is it protecting the site, maintaining the site, enhancing the site or keeping it exactly as it is?
Conservation is the process of managing change to a significant place in its setting in ways that will best sustain its heritage values, while recognising opportunities to reveal or reinforce those values for present and future generations (Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance for the sustainable management of the Historic Environment. English Heritage 2008). The Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan 2009 is the main document which sets out the overarching strategy for protecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. Other agencies such as the National Trust and the RSPB also have similar plans
Stonehenge Guided Tours
September 15, 2012
If you like your history to come alive and leap out at you off the page, there’s probably no better place to experience it in the whole of England than Wiltshire.
Image: Avebury Stone (Wiltshire, England) by Flickr user dev-pemcoastphotos.com
Here, the twin mysteries of Stonehenge and Avebury lie in store for those fascinated by the past. This is no dry and dusty text book lesson endured by generations of school children…these are fascinating history hotspots just a few miles apart which have defined our heritage for thousands of years.
Avebury lies within a 5,000 year old stone circle and its related earthworks, where in Stone Avenue dozens of pairs of standing stones stretch nearly two miles to the ceremonial site of The Sanctuary. To the northeast are hundreds such stones on Fyfield Down, and west lies the Neolithic tomb of West Kennet Long Burrow.
To the northwest, beyond the village limits, is Windmill Hill, a giant livestock enclosure whose origins go back nearly six millennia
Feat of Engineering
Stonehenge, a feat of engineering beyond imagination, is a 4,000 year old stone circle built on a site which can be dated back even earlier.
Archeologists have unearthed a simple circular ditch and earth rampart which predates the stones
Image: Stonehenge by Flickr user teamaskins
themselves by a thousand years, when a ring of huge timber uprights were erected there.
The giant megaliths we see today are made of sarsen – sandstone – each weighing on average 25 tonnes; they were transported from Marlborough Downs 20 miles away, and 30 were arranged in a circle and capped with lintels. Five even bigger structures were subsequently erected within the outer circle, known as ‘trilithons’ and again each supporting a stone lintel.
How this incredible journey was ever accomplished is still virtually unfathomable – and 4,000 years later historians are still trying to explain one of Britain’s most fascinating and enduring mysteries…
A Glimpse of the Past
And that’s not all…visitors to Wiltshire are spoilt for choice if they are looking for a glimpse of Britain’s past.
Woodhenge is only two miles east of Stonehenge, and is another age-old jewel in the crown of this amazingly historical county; pottery in the area has been dated back to late Neolithic and early Bronze Age times.
And Bluestonehenge or Bluehenge is a mere mile away, another prehistoric outpost which in recent years has undergone major excavations.
Radio-carbon testing of antler tools found at the site are still on-going; small stone chips found here have been tentatively dated to around 3,000 to 2,400 B.C. – the rock type is thought to have originated in west Wales, 150 miles away.
Link Source –Nicki Williams – Nicki Williams writes for leading on-line sports company Gear-Zone, specialists in camping and climbing equipment, waterproof clothing, and sportswear.
September 12, 2012
Get Up Close To The Stones At Stonehenge Like Few Visitors Do
With special access you are allowed right inside Stonehenge, walking among the stones close up and with a maximum of 26 people on the whole site. We have pleasure in releasing our 2013 Stonehenge ‘inner circle‘ tours.
Exclusive tours allow you into the inner circle of Stonehenge.
We have arranged with English Heritage for you to experience a unique guided visit to this ancient sacred site – beyond the fences and after the crowds have gone home. Walk amongst the stones and experience the magical atmosphere within the inner circle.
For those of you who have not visited this sacred site, we should mention that the complex is roped off. Visitors observe the stones from a distance and are not permitted within the temple complex. Our special access tours allow you to be amongst the stones. Your guide will bring to life its many myths, legends and rich and fascinating history.
Built nearly 5,000 years ago, Stonehenge is the most popular prehistoric monument in the world. Most visitors to the site are not allowed direct access to the stones.
On this tour you get that access, with a private viewing of the mysterious monoliths. We will enter the stone circle itself and stand beside the mighty Sarsen rocks towering above us. Our guide will explain the history of this ancient site, pointing out the altar, slaughter and heel stones, above which the sun rises dramatically on the summer solstice. There will be time to enjoy the peace, away from the crowds, as we experience Stonehenge at its most mystical and atmospheric best. Not to be missed!
STONEHENGE: Since 1978 visitors are no longer permitted access within the circle of stones accept on one of exclusive tours from London or Salisbury
|This is a very popular tour and must be booked well in advance!
We can also arrange extra dates for private groups, throughout 2013 ideal for couples, families and small groups – click here
|Demand for tickets far exceeds supply, dates are often sold out months in advance. Do not expect to get tickets without ordering well in advance
September 8, 2012
In Florida they’re planning what could well be the most tasteful Stonehenge replica yet.
It’ll be 60 feet down in the ocean and will form an artificial reef next to a collection of existing ones in the form of sunken ships, army tanks, pieces of a passenger jet, radio towers and a cemetery modelled after the mythical Lost City of Atlantis. It will comprise 15,000 cubic feet of stone reinforced with fibreglass rods and will take up half an acre of ocean floor.
“We’re going to build it in its completed form — not in its current form where half of it is missing,” says the creator – but efforts are to be made to reflect the original – “the columns will be oriented just like the real things standing in the English countryside — lining up with the summer and winter solstices.”
It looks like it will get official approval. The Environmental Resources Management department (the local equivalent of English Heritage) are all for it although they “would like to see smaller enclosed spaces added to the collection of stone columns to create hiding places for smaller creatures such as lobsters and reef fish”.
We notice that an earlier reef, an Atlantis-like graveyard, was taken over by a cremation services company . It’s used for green burials and “local families dive the reef on a regular basis to visit their loved ones.”
Could this be a way forward in the ongoing calls for Druids to be buried at Stonehenge?
Stonehenge Guided Tours – www.StonehengeTours.com
September 5, 2012
Why is England a good place to visit at Christmas time?
Christmas is Britain’s most popular holiday and is characterised by traditions that date back hundreds of years. Many Christmas customs that originated in Britain have been adopted in the United States.
There is nothing more magical than wandering through a British garden on a crisp, clear winter day: the sun, low in the sky, sparkling on elegant branches; the satisfying crunch of early morning frost underfoot; the delicate scent of winter-flowering shrubs.
Holly berries bring a splash of colour to the festive season. Shortly after New Year, snowdrops poke their heads through the earth. Hints of spring arrive in late February as buds begin to appear on trees and the petals of early daffodils unfold.
Join us for a host of sightseeing over the Christmas period. All of our fully guided tours on Christmas day include a delicious pub lunch. You will also see below our festive tours for Boxing day and New Years day.
Stonehenge, Windsor and Bath – NEW YEARS DAY 2013
All entrance fees included
Prehistoric Stonehenge, Elegant Bath and Royal Windsor all lined up for a fabulous New Year! Includes Festive Lunch
Stonehenge, Windsor and Bath with traditional pub lunch – Christmas Day
Luxury coach tour with professional guide
Explore the heart of England on Christmas day & see Royal Windsor, historic Stonehenge and Georgian Bath. Plus enjoy a festive lunch in a classic British country pub with Roast Turkey and all the trimmings! Includes festive pub lunch
Stonehenge and Bath with fish and chips pub lunch – Boxing day, 26th December 2012
With Champagne reception and lunch included
See Windsor, Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bath all in a day. Includes Champagne reception at Windsor, fast track entrance at Stonehenge and a classic country pub lunch. Fast track entrance at Stonehenge
We have may tours including Stonehenge over the 2012 festive period including some going into the inner circle.
Visit our website for full details: www.StonehengeTours.com
September 2, 2012
It remains one of the mysteries of history, and there are dozens of passionately held theories of what it is. But in my history of England class, Stonehenge remains one of the most popular topics, along with the intimate life of King Henry VIII and the dubious theory that J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” is a secret allegory of World War II and the ring of power is the bomb.
Photo taken recently by one of our Tour Guides on a Stonehenge Sunset Tour
Setting those other two colorful topics on one side permanently, it’s worth recalling what this large stone critter is.
Stonehenge is an ancient collection of huge stones in a circle, located on a plain in Wilshire about eight miles from modern Salisbury in England. It consists of a circular ditch and bank of earth, with a series of stones placed in rings. The site was built, revised, abandoned, reoccupied and modified over a period of more than 15 centuries, probably by several different prehistoric cultures. The name Stonehenge means “hanging stones” in Anglo-Saxon English. The ancient name of the site is lost.
Earliest construction may have occurred around 3100 B.C., but evidence suggests that the site was used by primitive peoples even before that, possibly as early as 8000 B.C. The earliest construction at Stonehenge was probably wooden posts placed in a circle, with an entry gate that points in the direction of the summer solstice. The posts were placed in holes, which can still be identified.
The wooden posts were then replaced by stone columns, called the “blue stones,” around 2600 B.C. after the beginnings of the Bronze Age. These stones were placed in a large circle, and possibly were moved later, but their original positions also pointed in the direction of the solstice.
The stone itself seems to be drawn from mountains at least 150 miles away, but some scholars have suggested that it may be quarried from rocks left much closer and deposited by glaciers. Legend has it that Merlin the magician moved the stones, a theory that this author much prefers. These early rings of stones weigh about four tons each and stand about seven feet high.
Some time after 2400 B.C., another ring of stones, called the “sarcen stones,” of even larger height was placed in a circle. These weigh at least 25 tons each and are about 13 feet high. Some of these larger stones are the ones placed flat on top of the standing stones, giving the appearance of gates, although over the ages some of these have fallen.
Within the inner circle several similar stones, of even great weight – up to 50 tons – were added at this period in a large U shape. They are about 3 1/2 feet thick, and 45 feet across the shape of the U. In the centuries that followed these stones seem to have been moved slightly, and other stones placed nearby. A solitary distant stone, called the “head stone” was placed some distance away about the same time as the U was established at the center.
Medieval legend says that the devil arranged the stones, and then threw the headstone at a monk to shut him up about the identity of the builder. It hit him on the heel and so the stone is called “friar’s heel” to this day. Construction seems to have ceased around 1600 B.C. On several of the stones images of ax heads are carved, which seem consistent with Bronze Age technology, but when these were added cannot be determined.
But what is Stonehenge? One theory says that it was some kind of burial site, and several graves have been found in the area. Several other deposits of cremated human remains have been discovered in the Stonehenge complex, and while these seem to have been deposited over a 500-year period, they may well have been added after the site was built, after it was known to be a sacral place, but it does not follow that it was designed to be a burial place.
Another theory was that it was a place of healing, like Lourdes is for modern believers. Yet another theory is that it had a political goal, and that ancient kings used it as a kind of national project to unify their people in one massive work project, which would have certainly required thousands of laborers.
It seems that the pyramids of Egypt served that purpose as well as being burial chambers, and so it is not impossible. But since modern historians cannot accurately say exactly how the thing was built, this theory is at best incomplete.
Yet another theory is that it was some kind of ancient astronomical site, from which people could track the movement of the sun and stars between solstices in the changing seasons of the year. The would make it one very large calendar.
British neo-pagans hold that Stonehenge was a site associated with the ancient Druids, and modern Druid believers are allowed to perform religious rituals on the site. But the age of the ancient Druids is believed by secular historians to have been much later than the known period of the actual constructions.
The original Druids were Celtic priests who lived much closer to Roman times. The earliest known reference to the actual Druids is found in Greek writers, and the earliest detailed description of them is found in Caesar’s Gaulic War, which dates at around 50 B.C. Modern Druid movements date to the Romantic period in modern literature, in the later 17th century A.D.
The medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth has a wonderful story that in the fifth century A.D., the last of the Romans, Aurelius Ambrosias, had hoped to raise a memorial to the thousands of British and Roman nobles who had fought to keep the Saxons out of post-Roman Britain. So he sent his son, Uther Pendragon, to go fetch the stones from Ireland, but after killing a bunch of Irish warriors, the knights required Merlin to use magic to transport and then raised the stones in what they called the “Giant’s Dance.” There Aurelius was buried, and Uther Pendragon went on to become the father of King Arthur. This story was known to many as the background for the romantic novel “The Crystal Cave” by Mary Stewart published in 1970.
Today Stonehenge continues to attract visitors, who are normally not allowed direct access to the stones but may walk around it. Closer visits are also permitted, but one is not allowed to touch the stones at all. These restrictions did not apply when I visited the site in 1972, and one could wander all over it. It does have a very strange quality to it, which is hard to put into words.
But it remains a mystery as to exactly what it is. Still, what would people in the distant future think, were they to uncover the ruins of one of our medieval cathedrals, and wonder what all the gargoyles and altar tables meant? There are Sundays when I hardly know what is going in my own church, much less what happened centuries ago.
Gregory Elder, Correspondent – http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
September 1, 2012
According to Comic Book Movie via Lucjan Kaliniecki’s Twitter, Thor: The Dark World will be filming some sequences at Stonehenge. Stonehenge has a history of having mystical significance in the Marvel universe, being used as a portal and such. We don’t know if Stonehenge will be used as a scene on Earth, or one of the Nine realms Thor may explore. I’d guess they would make Stonehenge be Stonehenge, because why else film there, and why film there if they want to obscure where it is since it is so iconic?
Also, in an interview with Examiner, Idris Elba explained that his role of Heimdall, the sentry of Asgard, will be expanded in the sequel. Elba: ”In the new film we’re going to get to know Heimdall the Asgardian a bit better, and we’re going to get to know Asgard a bit better…I can’t say too much, »
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