Day tour of Southern England Sites
First,we departed our Bath lodgings and then drove east to Avebury. Here we found a vast prehistoric site containing a stunning collection of ancient stones of excessive size coupled with a huge earthwork enclosure with four entrances. This is the largest stone circle in W. Europe which surrounds the remains of the 5th and 7th such circles. Here, the inner north and south circles date from around 2800 BC, the outer circles and earthwork from around 2600 BC and the two avenues from around 2400 BC.
After Avebury, we moved on to nearby Stonehenge which is the world’s most famous circle comprising a combination of engineering, astronomy and symbolism. At Stonehenge the sequence of construction was as follows:
- 3200 BC- a spacious earthen ring or ‘henge’ with a central timber setting and an outlying stone.
- Site briefly abandoned around 2400 BC.
- 2200 BC-two unfinished circles of Welsh bluestones replaced the posts. An earthen avenue was laid out.
- 2000 BC-the two circles were removed and the well know lintelled sarsen ring and internal horseshoe of five trilithons were constructed.
- 1600BC- bluestones returned. Outline of a bronze dagger and axes carved at cardinal points.
Each phase was a modified imitation of its predecessor.
After Stonehenge, we left for Salisbury where we availed of an excellent light lunch at a hotel. Then we walked to nearby Salisbury Cathedral or the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is of the Anglican denomination.. Key features:
- Early English Gothic architecture.
- Main body of the church was built 1220-1258 taking just 38 years.
- Tallest church spire in the U.K.
- Largest cloister and largest cathedral close in Britain (80 acres).
- Oldest working clock, dating from AD 1386
- Holds best surviving copy of the Magna Carta, dating from 1215.
- In 2008 celebrated 750th anniversary of consecration in 1258.
- Seat of the Bishop of Salisbury,
- Built on foundations extending to just 4 feet. This is due to the high water table.
After completing the visit to Salisbury we continued east to London and our lodgings for the night. Tomorrow, we visit the key sites of London.