Love in avebury

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To provide you with the best experience, cookies are used on this site. Find out more here. To build your own Itinerary, click to add an item to your Itinerary basket. Try Avebury. Standing beside cool ancient stone, looking up at a block of rock upended from the earth and stood on end by prehistoric man is a mesmerising experience.

Even better, though, if you can touch it. Hug it even. Here people have been living right inside the circle for millennia — and there is even a pub, the Red Lion, sitting surrounded by the stones. The circle here is far larger, the complex of stones far more sprawling. And to touch. The centre of it all is right outside that pub, where a cluster of megaliths stands in a field shared with sheep — and possibly a pagan group or two, lost in quiet reverie.

Sitting here for a selfie is practically compulsory. The landscape here is beckoning you outwards, away from the well-known stone circle and out into a prehistoric complex of sacred sites. The Sanctuary is just one of the ancient wonders a walk around this area yields, and a stroll down the Avenue between the stones is the best way to start. This was most likely a burial site, but as with most prehistoric sites, its story remains shrouded in ancient mystery and supposition. West Kennet Long Barrow was built around 5, years ago and was in use for around 1, years.

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Large sarsen stones stand sentry over the entrance but pass behind this curtain of rock and you can delve into a metre 42ft passage divided into chambers. Few people venture far into the darkness — and few places on the Great West Way are as memorably atmospheric. Or as spooky. This cone-like mound stands amid rolling emerald fields like a beacon alerting us to all that we do not know.

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Because nobody has a clue why people in around BC decided to build an earthen mound roughly the same height and volume as one of the smaller Egyptian pyramids. No burial remains have been found here. So what on earth was it for? Your guess is as good as ours.

All that we do know can be found in the Alexander Keiller Museum, back in the village of Avebury. The Stables Gallery here is home to one of the most important archaeological collections in Europe, while the Barn Gallery is a 17th-century threshing barn turned interactive exploration of the stones. Poke around the displays of Neolithic pottery, flint knives and arrowhe, and animal skeletons over 5, years old and make your own mind up about how all this came to be here.

The mystery lives on. Avebury is managed by the National Trust and is open throughout daylight hours, every day of the year. It is free to enter. By car : Avebury is just off the A4, a minute drive from Marlborough. The post code is SN8 1RF. There is a charge for parking free for English Heritage and National Trust members. There are bike racks near the Barn Gallery.

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Love in avebury

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The Romance of the Stones: Avebury and Beyond