Friday, December 04, 2015

Avebury stone circles

The Avebury stone circle is the lesser known cousin of the popular Stonehenge. Located near the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, it became a part of our day-tour itinerary only at the urging of our driver, Vic. "It's my favourite attraction in this region," he declared. "You absolutely must see it."

The most commonly cited advantage of visiting Avebury over Stonehenge is the proximity to the stones. Unlike the Stonehenge, where barricades stand between you and the monument, here it's possible to walk right up to the stones and touch them. In fact, that's probably why a whole bunch of them have been stolen over the years. 

Vic shook his head disapprovingly as we drove up the the small road that bisected the circle. Pulling up at the roadside, he waved for us to follow him into the field. Here and there, amongst the mud and tire ruts, were little pegs that marked the spot where stones once stood. "There used to be a lot more of them," he grumbled. Indeed, as we followed the stones in a vaguely circular path through the village and strings of strategically located cafes, we could see that the line was often broken by empty spaces. 

In a toss-up between Stonehenge the Avebury circle, I can definitively say that I prefer the Stonehenge hands-down. Both of them have equally remarkable origins, but because the Avebury stones look so roughly hewn and are spaced so far apart that you can only see the circular layout from air, I couldn't quite appreciate them. Still, we were lucky that the famously grey weather of England let up for a bit, and we did have a very nice walk though the country-side that afternoon.

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