Travelodge Amesbury Stonehenge
A303 Eastbound Countess Servic, Amesbury, EN SP4
More about Amesbury
St Mary & St Melor Parish Church of Amesbury
Travel Tips for Amesbury
AMESBURY near Stonehenge ? Or the other way round
"Amesbury surrounded by history"
The town is great as a 'staging post' for getting up to the Stonehenge Down and countryside around. Several good walks allow exploration of the famous stones as well as the outstanding Avon Valley. A clear chalk river fed by waters from the Salisbury Plains and springing in the Vale of Pewsey to the North of Amesbury. It flows south through Salisbury and enters the sea at Christchurch, west of Bournemouth.
The old stone bridge over the Avon at Amesbury dates from 1775 when the owner of the adjoining mansion the 3rd Duke of Queensbury , and Lord of the Manor, arranged for its erection. His mansion is now a sedate retirement residence. Some pictures of the building can be seen on:
"Not a market town nor a stage coach halt"
These days Amesbury is 'just off the A303' and on the road to Salisbury. So whilst being strategically placed for visits to Stonehenge, cannot boast of being an "important" town. But it nevertheless has some nice shops and local watering holes that provide an insight into the way of life of the folk here in Wiltshire.
Nearby up on the hill is Boscombe Down, a former WWII airfield and important defence base which is involved with the evaluation of rotary aircraft and others by the QinetiQ company.
Regular bus links Amesbury to Salisbury and Pewsey and other places using Wilts & Dorset Bus Company.
A lovely Norman church stands on grounds that have seen Christian worship since the foundation of an Abbey here over 1000 years ago. The Parish church is St Mary & St Melor. Melor was a Breton and son of Meliau, King of Brittany.
Amesbury - A World Heritage Site
"So where's this stone circle then??"
Driving on from Stonehenge and Woodhenge, we spotted another stone circle on the map near to the village of Amesbury, so we thought we'd take a look. We drove around near the village for a while spotting the occasional large stone from the car window. It wasn't until the third driveby that we realised that the village of Amesbury itself was bang in the middle of several huge circles! The scale of them makes Stonehenge seem like a lego model! Although the stones aren't shaped into impressive oblongs and joined together like the Sarsen stones at Stonehenge, they are arranged in large circles and upended, which is still pretty impressive!
As with most prehistoric stone circles, the monument has not survived unscathed, but this surely only adds to the interesting history about the circle and the people who have lived nearby? It seems that in the 17th century the villagers of Amesbury decided that the stone circle they live within had devil worshipping connotations and should be destroyed (into the bargain, the stones, once broken up by burning in a fire pit, made excellent builing materials for new housing!)
Some of the stones still remain buried, but others were resurrected by Alexander Keiller who bought the Amesbury site in the 1930s and began to restore buried stones to their original positions. His work remains unfinished and there is still some debate as to whether it should be continued.
Amesbury is a small town just outside Salisbury - in fact the town closest to Stonehenge but not many people know where it is. We spent some time here in between buses when exploring Wiltshire, as was a bit of a transport hub for when you want to see both Stonehenge and Avebury the same day (nowadays you have to change back at Salisbury instead). Just outside Amesbury is the great Salisbury Plain with all its many army bases which are like little towns in themselves. Not the prettiest sights, but you only really come across them if you side track with public transport. Otherwise, you will just be fascinated by the many crossings for tanks everywhere along the major road to Marlborough. Small and sleepy, the town itself still has an attractive side to it in the form of nice cottages and a lively centre where people meet in the cafes or whilst shopping at Coop.
If you continue from Stonehenge towards Amesbury for a couple of miles you will come to a roundabout. Turn left here on the A345 to Marlborough and after almost a mile at the top of a hill there is a sign to Woodhenge where there is a small carpark.
this site was discovered by aerial photography between the wars. It is a Neolithic ceremonial monument (dating from about 2300 BC) and consisted of concentric rings of wooden posts possibly forming a roofed building or a wooden Stonehenge-type monument. It is thought that there may have been nearly 40 similar wooden structures in the ancient kingdom of Wessex - some of them much bigger.
This is an early Bronze Age site that originally consisted of 6 concentric rings of timber posts. It is now marked with concrete pillars representing the width of the timbers posts. The site was surrounded by a henge and had a couseway entrance to the NE marked by entrance pillars.
The site overlooks the huge henge known as Durrington Walls to the north. The shape of the henge is marked on the OS map and sections can still be seen.
Oddly enough, this is a little visited site, 'just round the corner' from Stonehenge. It's not as spectacular as Stonehenge, but has a lot of feeling. Sitting quietly in the centre, I found it very easy to pick up evidence of people from the past moving around in sandalled feet. The stones marking the position of the long gone wooden posts lend themselves to experimental rambles in different patterns!! Woodhenge is in Wiltshire.
The concrete posts mark the positions of the original timbers, evidence for which was obtained by evacuation. The rings are oval, with the long axis aligned on the midsummer sunrise. A bank with a ditch on the inner side surrounded the monument, which was entered by a causeway to the north-east.
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Travelodge Amesbury Stonehenge
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Address: A303 Eastbound Countess Servic, Amesbury, EN SP4