Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wonderful Wiltshire

More on our weird and wonderful day in Wiltshire...

In addition to our experiences in and around the stone circles, we also had a chance to visit some of the other mystical and magical sites in the area. Less than two miles from Avebury, several other sites called to us...

We toiled up a long hill for the chance to peek inside a neolithic long barrow. The West Kennet Long Barrow is an ancient tomb, thought to have been in use for over 1000 years, until it was finally sealed up by the Beaker people -- among the ancient first peoples of this area.

This is the entrance to the long barrow.

The barrow goes pretty far back.

A ghostly glimpse of the inside.

At the very back, water trickled down a wall. In this picture you can just see the posy of flowers left on the floor of the site by the travellers who sometimes sleep there.

We prowled around the nearby Silbury Hill, a man-made mound created over hundreds of years for a still-unknown purpose.

We trekked through the Roman waterworks at Bath.

A lot of roman statuary about, but my favourite was this bearded Celtic laddie.

Outside the baths, we were charmed by this elegantly-clad street performer. (That's a 8' unicycle behind him, and of course, he's wearing his safety net....)

This is a shot of Woodhenge, the remains of a bronze-age wooden structure similar in shape to Stonehenge. The timbers are gone, of course, but the pattern remains, marked by concrete blocks. The posts would have aligned with the centre aligned to mid-summer sunrise.

The mound in the middle marks the resting place of a small child.

We had a chance to ramble through the beautiful cathedral at Salisbury, home to a copy of the Magna Carta, Wordsworth's final resting place, and ...

Some very decent gargoyles. Check out these evil little sprites, gnawing on this poor sinner's face.

Salisbury Cathedral also houses this remarkable 14th C face-less clock, once housed in a separate bell tower:

Nearby, the mound and stone remains of Old Sarum (the Roman name for Salisbury) are atop a hill.

Throughout the day, as we drove around the region, we were lucky enough to spot some of the chalk horses on the hillsides.

There are seven in total, and we managed to spy three. Much of the area of Wiltshire is chalk, the result of once being at the bottom of a vast, inland sea. These hill figures are created by scraping away the surface layer to uncover the chalk below.

The Cherhill White Horse, carved circa 1780.

The Westbury White Horse. This one appears to be smiling, but in fact the smile is just a person walking along the edge of the feature. Gives a bit of a perspective as to the size...

And to finish? A beautiful descendant, perhaps, of the earliest models for the Chalk Horses.

Next post -- Stonehenge.



A Novel Woman said...

LOVING these posts! Keep 'em coming.

kc dyer said...

Yay! Will do!


Anita Daher said...

Oh my gosh...incredible!!!!!