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Avebury 4 Mile Walk

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by Tom Fieldhouse (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son. I love my city, and love to live here. I write about Bath a lot, and sometimes about travels in Ireland and France.
Published July 22nd 2020
Stroll along the stones
This is a gentle T shaped walk that takes in many wonders but begins and ends at Avebury stone circle, or 'henge'. This is an ancient stone circle, built of massive grey stones that were placed upright over 2000 years ago! Popular with both Pagans, history buffs and everybody else, the stones themselves are stunning. Only a third of the stones are above ground, and they are massive!

Part of the stone 'henge' circle, on the walk to the avenue.

If you park at the National Trust car park, then all in it is a gentle 4.65 mile stroll, with one steep hill (with a stunning view at the top). It is an ideal getaway for our currently socially distanced times, and offers a lovely combination of fresh air and ancient history.

Walking along the stone-lined 'avenue', out of Avebury

The beginning and end of the walk run between an avenue of grey sarsen stones, which are the grey giants that make up Stonehenge, located just a short drive (or long walk) away. The avenue actually marks the official end of the Ridgeway long-distance National Trail, which is just over 87 miles of stunning walking, and is England's oldest long-distance path. To join the avenue, you will need to head across the stone circle which surrounds the village, cross the road by the Red Lion pub, and follow the avenue stones. You may well see some very happy and footsore walkers who are about to end their Ridgeway odyssey!

A grumpy faced avenue stone, marking the way forward

Every single one of the avenue stones has lichen clad character, and many of them possess human features. The above image shows a very cantankerous yet endearing stone, on the left-hand side. Some folks say that there is a male side and a female side to the stones and that they mark what could have been a fertility ritual walk in Neolithic times. Who knows? Whenever I visit Avebury, I always feel very calm and almost spiritual. There is a palpable feeling of being enfolded by the stones, and walking beneath golden- brown rolling chalky fields.

Along the avenue, taken from the path itself.

The National Trust maintains and protects this place beautifully, and it is always immaculate. The path is mowed and flat, and so it is very pleasant walking, which is also ideal for dog walks, prams and disabled access (once through the gates). If you want to see the remarkable man-made Silbury Hill, then you will need to turn a sharp right once the stones stop, as the avenue is sliced up by the busy main road that leads in and out of Avebury. The hill is a steep walk, but the view of Silbury and the surrounding fields is breathtaking!

Silbury Hill in the distance. Another Neolithic feat of engineering.

The area around Avebury is packed with burial mounds, henges, and engineering from the past. Silbury Hill is manmade and resembles a flat-topped hillock. We had a look at the hill, then turned around and headed back towards the avenue and the road, crossing over to have a stroll through the fields. The flora and fauna here are stunning, and in Summertime it is easy to feel like you have stepped back in time to the 1950s or even earlier. There are many, many butterflies all around, which make this walk even more special.

A sunbathing local resident.

The end of the walk, where the avenue meets the henge.

If you fancy a bit of civilisation, then Avebury has a lovely cafe, called 'Stones', a wide paddock for picnics, a famous (and haunted) pub, and some very lovely gift shops. After four miles in the sun, the Red Lion may well be a welcome sight and offers a lot of outside seating with table service. Do leave some time to walk around the stones. There is so much to do and see in this magical place!

The Red Lion- a classic English Pub.

Another joy of Avebury are its beech trees. Their roots stretch everywhere, over the chalky ground.
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Why? Fantastic walk through ancient stones
When: All year round.
Phone: 01672539250
Where: Avebury, in Wiltshire- 1 hours drive from Bath
Cost: Free parking for NT members- 7 for all day. Access to the stones is free.
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