Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Yay! I've seen the White Horse of Uffington! I'm just delighted - in many many years of nosing around the historical sights of Britain, somehow I've never managed to get to Uffington by daylight, until yesterday. And it's beautiful. For those who don't know, the White Horse is an abstract figure cut into the chalk hillside. It's 110 metres long and is reckoned to be up to 3000 years old. There's a better (aerial) shot here.

From close up the "horse's" head looks like this:

We actually did a whole fantastic day of touring prehistoric sites.

Silbury Hill, constructed 2400 BCE, 40 metres high, took 18 million man-hours. Nobody has the faintest idea what it was for.

West Kennet Long Barrow, 3600 BCE.  This was a tomb. 


You may recognise this place:

Stonehenge, 3500 - 1500 BCE
The facilities at Stonehenge are pitiful. I mean, actually embarrassing - it's possibly the single most iconic sight in the country, receives thousands of visitors a day, and yet the visitor centre is the worst in the country: a tiny muddy carpark, portaloos, and a gift shop in a fecking tent.

I say, go to Avebury instead:

Avebury is a chocolate-box-pretty village that just happens to have been built inside a huge prehistoric henge and stone circle. It's a World Heritage Site and so attractive it makes your teeth ache. (Heh. Anyone remember Children of the Stones?)

Built 2600 BCE. Posted on a smutblog 4600 years later.


Fulani said...

Looks like a cool day out.

The last time I was Uffington was about 20 years ago. But last week I was at a contemporary stone circle, one of only a couple built in the last decade or so. And then we spent time at the 19th century Druids' Circle at Ilton in Yorkshire, which has an amazingly priapic stone at its centre.

Janine Ashbless said...

Oh - I know the Druid's Temple very well, Fulani! We used it as a location in a live Call of Cthulhu scenario, some years back. It is just the coolest folly ever :-)

Craig Sorensen said...

Excellent pics. Very interesting sites.

That hill of unknown purpose is fascinating, and I love the tomb. Think of the effort to construct it 5600 years ago!

Madeline Moore said...

Fascinating stuff, Janine. You do go to the most amazing places.

Fulani said...

Didn't know the Druids' Circle had been used for LARPing (presumably that's what the Call of Cthulu thing was?).

The people we were with weren't at all sure the story about it being a 'folly' was accurate because while the Hellfire Clubs (Francis Dashwood and others) were long gone by the time the circle was built, there was a continuing interest in the occult. They wondered if, even if built on an expensive whim, it might have been used in that connection subsequently in the early/mid 1800s. If it was, of course, there's no public;y available information to corroborate it!

Janine Ashbless said...

According to the local guidebook, the Druid's Temple was built in order to provide employment to local men during a period of recession. Possible, certainly.