Tuesday 14 June 2011

Around Wiltshire

On our way back from Roche Court we saw a sign for Figsbury Ring and we just had to go and explore.

Figsbury Ring was a hill fort of the Iron Age, dating around 400 B.C., consisting of a bank and outer ditch enclosing about 15 acres with two entrances.

Excavations showed that the camp was not extensively occupied

it probably served as a place of refuge for farming communities in times of emergency.

Stonehenge was magnificent. Our first view as we were driving towards it took my breath away. It is unfortunate that I could not take a photograph of that sighting but there was a lot of traffic and nowhere to stop.

This ancient stone circle is an exceptional survival from a culture now lost to us

it evolved between 3,000 and 1,600 B.C.

it is aligned with the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset

its exact purpose remains a mystery: was it a sacrificial temple, a calendar, or just a show of power?

We managed to see three of the Wiltshire White Horses, some dating back 250 years. Eight still remain on view.

This one is near Pewsey, dating from 1937.

On our way to Avebury we stopped to look at Silbury Hill, Europe's largest human-made prehistoric mound,

constructed over a short period between 2400 and 2300 B.C.  It was not conceived and built in a single campaign but grew lager over several generations.

We do not know the purpose or meaning it held for neolithic people - some suggest that the construction of it was a way of bringing people together.

On our last day we visited Old Sarum, a massive Iron Age hill fort that was re-used by the Romans, Saxons and Normans

before growing into one of the most flourishing settlements in medieval England.

You can see the ruins of a castle, a royal palace and a cathedral (before it was moved to Salisbury)

as well as enjoying views of the stunning Wiltshire countryside.

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