I didn’t take History G.C.S.E, I don’t particularly have a keen interest in the subject, but every now and again, I like to immerse myself in learning something new about our ancestors.
On a really quick side note, before I start explaining our trip to the wonder that is Stonehenge…Am I the only one who “thinks” in black and white when it comes to the past? It’s difficult to explain, because thanks to archaeologists and historians, we are able to envisage the past, and create our own visions of perhaps what it was like to walk the earth, thousands, even millions of years ago. But one thing which really blows my mind, is the concept of time…
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument. We know that as fact, however, I had no idea just how vast the time frame was over which the stones were erected in Wiltshire. The whole site, which includes burial mounds, carefully landscaped earth banks and ditches, The Avenue, which was a parallel pair of ditches and banks leading 2 miles down to the River Avon, and more incredible features, were created across THOUSANDS OF YEARS…BC might I add.
This might help put it into perspective:
-Before the Stonehenge monument itself, archaeologists have found evidence of the site being used for ritual purposes dating back to 8000 BC! (Just think about it, that’s over TEN THOUSAND years ago!).
-The main construction of the stones commenced in 3100 BC
-The Parthenon in Greece was finished in 432BC
-The Colosseum in Italy was constructed around 70-80AD
-Machu Picchu, Peru was built in the 15th Century.
-William Shakespeare died in 1616
And obviously the Tudors, Victorians etc you know the rest…
After driving up from the South Coast, we actually caught our first glimpse of Stonehenge from the road which was pretty amazing, we could already see a small crowd, however for obvious reasons you cannot park close to the English Heritage Site. Instead, we headed to the visitor centre, to buy our tickets and hop on the bus to the main attraction.
At just over £17 per ticket (including gift aid) this is a little pricey to “look at some stones” which is what some people might say, but it is 100% worth it. Plus save yourself £2 by bringing some earphones with you, so that you can download the audio guide for free instead of renting one.
Alex and I had a mini debate about whether we were fortunate or unfortunate with the weather. Yes it would have been lovely to have witnessed Stonehenge in warmer temperatures, without the rain and with a gorgeous blue sky backdrop for our photos, however, the rainy day added to the air of mystery and emphasised the harsh conditions that people back then, would have had to have endured during the depths of Winter.
While no one knows the true reason behind Stonehenge, or why it was built across many centuries, and despite having to accept the fact that we will probably never actually get to the bottom of it, it is left to your personal interpretation.
I listened to the audio guide from beginning to end (this is a rarity, I normally switch off and ask my family all my questions), but on this occasion, every single clip fascinated me.
As you are probably well aware, many campers head down to Wiltshire during the summer solstice to watch the arrangement of the stones align with the sunrise – a vision which I imagine to be an awe-inspiring moment. Plus, in the colder months, the stones align with the sunset during the winter solstice, which suggests to me that the Neolithic people built this monument to worship the changing seasons, upon which they so greatly depended for the rearing of their of their livestock and sheer existence.
Looking around and seeing and listening to people from all over the world, it just brought home how lucky we are to live near such a magical monument and the whole experience of walking in the footsteps of those who worshipped the Earth, in all its beauty, long, long before us, was surreal.
I will leave the exhibition centre as a surprise, just in case you do decide to go, because it really does make you stop, think and wonder…
Well children, that concludes today’s history lesson… haha no seriously, when I posted on Twitter that we were off to Stonehenge for the day, so many lovely bloggers were saying how much they’d like to visit too! So if you do pop down to the South of England for a weekend break, or maybe like us, Stonehenge is really only down the road, make sure you spend a day immersing yourself in all its glory!
If you like going on an adventure in the countryside or forest, you’ll love this post and if you live in the Midlands, you HAVE to explore this beauty.
Have you been to Stonehenge before? What did you think? Let me know in the comment box!