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Jan 5, 2022

Avebury is a village in Wiltshire, famous for its neolithic stone circle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The henge and stone circles are thought to date from about 2500 BC to 2000 BC and are roughly contemporary with the more famous Stonehenge20 mi (32 km) to the south. The circular bank and ditch, which is almost a mile in circumference, encloses a much later mediaeval village, with a Saxon church and Elizabethan country manor. Many of the stones are missing or buried, having been considered evil by the local farmers during mediaeval times, they were toppled or broken up, many of which to be revealed and restored in the 1930s by the famous archaeologist Alexander Keiller. The village and henge lie at the centre of one of the most exciting megalithic landscapes in the world, with the remains of two prehistoric processional avenues of stones leading from the circle, leading to other nearby prehistoric points of interest such as West Kennett Long Barrow and Silbury Hill.

Avebury standing stones

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The site is managed by the National Trust , who provide good directions, opening times and other details on their website.

Avebury lies at the heart of the Wiltshire Downs, accessible easily from the M4 motorway, and is located about 6 miles west of Marlborough, along the A4 (Bath Road) at the junction of the A4361 and the B4003. Local signposting directs visitors to the official tourist car park which is situated just south of the circle itself off the A4361. There is a local village car park located in the centre of the village, but this has restricted parking for non-residents during daylight hours.

The nearest train stations are 10 miles away in Pewsey or 11 miles in Swindon.

The Trans-Wiltshire Express (service 49) offers an hourly service between Swindon, Avebury, Devizes and Trowbridge. Swindon is on the main line to London. Other buses running nearby connect to Marlborough and Chippenham.

Map of Avebury

The village of Avebury can be best explored on foot, though access to the henge requires some climbing and walking over rough grassland and may not be suitable for all. Apart from the driest seasons of the year, it is advisable to have waterproof shoes or walking boots, since the grass can be wet and muddy, and the exposed chalk on the slopes of the henge can become slippery when wet. Two roads bisect Avebury, splitting the massive circle into 4 ‘quadrants’ and each quadrant is fenced separately with sprung gated access.

In some seasons, parts of the henge may be roped off to prevent erosion, so please observe the signs and help keep this monument for future generations. At certain times of the year, one or more quadrants may have sheep grazing the grass and care should be taken to avoid letting any out, and dogs should be kept on a leash. The east-west road is the village High Street to the west and Green Lane to the east and is generally much quieter to cross than the main north-south road which is unfortunately the main road to Swindon and thus carries a fair amount of fast moving and heavy goods traffic. This main road takes a double hairpin bend at the centre of the circle, where it joins the High Street, and much care should be taken in this area. It is possible to walk to the other related local sights which make up the Avebury landscape, but in less favourable weather, car transport is advisable.

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