Heading West from London, our destination was Stonehenge, the great, ancient stone monument we’ve all heard so much about. It’s about a two hour drive from where we were in London and we’d been prepared, by most people we’d mentioned it to, for disappointment. In fact most people wondered why we were even bothering with it “It’s just some rocks”. Yeah. Well. When you put it like that…isn’t cheese just some curdled fatty cow liquid….and when has cheese ever let you down?
But it didn’t deter us, we were going to see it whether it was just rocks or not. Looking up our route on the map, we noticed that we were actually going to pass one of the lesser known henges; Woodhenge. Located a few miles East of the stone one, this was more of a hidden and less touristy henge and when we got there we could see why.
It should really be called “Use-Your-Imaginationhenge” or “Concrete-Stump-Representation-Of-The-Monument-Formally-Known-As-Woodhenge” would be much more accurate.
It’s still an interesting place to visit though and if you’re making the trek to see Stonehenge you may as well pop in to Old Woody too! For more information on Woodhenge, check out this pretty vague plaque we found. They should just say “We have no idea about this one, sorry”.
From there Stonehenge was right around the corner, we knew we were close by the amount of traffic congestion. Unfortunately, and I think this is what people were talking about, there are two roads that run very closely alongside the rocks, so not only do you have the tourists and the locals but you also get the people that had no idea it was even there but when they see it, they slow down and try to take snaps on their phones which causes huge delays. Of course we picked a bank holiday Monday to visit so the place was absolutely bopping! Wise right. We’re off for 3 months, everyday is saturday, and we pick the one day that the rest of england has off….classic
Literally bus loads of tourists were piling into the car park, which costs about 3 quid, and bottlenecking into the ticket booth. I don’t know what’s included in the entrance fee (an audio guide seems to be) but one thing’s for sure, we didn’t have time to stand in no queues. We walked to the top of the car park and dodged our way through the ensnarled traffic to get to a path that runs alongside a chain link fence keeping people like us out. From this pathway you can pretty much see everything you need to see (in fact we later learned that if you drive a bit further down the road there’s a farmers track that you can park in and avoid any fee at all, but at least doing it our way, we feel like we contributed towards the conservation of the henge). Getting a photo without the fence in, however, requires some climbing skills and a high pain threshold.
But the results were worth it. Take that, entrance fee.
Oh…and in order to take this photo of some ducks I got my hand stuck in a fence. So I guess that was worth it……
Climbing the fence probably caused about 3 pounds worth of damage so I guess we came out even in the end…
As we continued West, we spotted another of the great Henges as we passed an unassuming looking farmer’s field.
Sticks and Stones may henge my bones but bails will nev……
I also thought I spotted Sheephenge but Tess doesn’t believe me.
Our next port of call was on the recommendation of Bea and Rob Fields; Glastonbury. Glastonbury is famous for its massive music festival which has turned the small town into a hotspot for hippies! Mom?
With giant golden Buddhas, shops called “The Psychic Piglet” and mountains of crystals and gemstones you almost feel healed and more “at one” with yourself just finding a place to park, but that was not why we were told to visit.
Once we realigned our chakras we decided to climb a hill. But not before we stopped to enjoy the view of this haunting young telephone box.
Glastonbury Tor is what you need to see they told us, it’s well worth the hike. I’d never heard of Glastonbury Tor or felt much like hiking but all that changed when I saw this.
(that funny little tower on that tiny little hill.) No, the phone box with a dog wearing a crown in it… of course I mean the tower!
We parked up and got our hiking boots on. Or at least tried. To be honest we were tired out just trying to find the beginning of the trail never mind actually scaling the hill.
It’s a good job there are rest stops along the way.
Once we started walking we realized that “ittybitty” hill was a force to be reckoned with. Then we saw a man (who closely resembled a 50yr old greg biskup) jog up and realized we were sadly out of shape. But when we got to the top it was obvious that all our toiling, whining and whinging were worthwhile. The view over South-Western Britain is unparalleled from such a vantage point. On a clear day you can see to the Western coastline. Well that shut us up for a bit.
There is much history and legend surrounding the Tor ranging from the Biblical: It is thought to be one of the possible locations of the Holy Grail.
To the Gruesome; the Tor was the place of the execution of Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, who was hung, drawn and quartered along with two of his monks.
To the Mythical; Some believe that it was the location of the underworld king’s spiral castle and is now the entrance to Avalon, the land of the fairies.
Whatever the past, all we know is that it’s a perfect place to sit and think as you look out over the green and pleasant land.
Whilst we were sitting and thinking, we saw two people lugging big bags of wood all the way up, turns out they were bringing up the firewood for the Queen’s Jubilee Beacon, ready to be lit that night along with 4200 other beacons around the world, the first being lit in Tonga and the very final one being started by Her Madge outside Buckingham Palace after the Jubilee Concert.
It’s really too bad we weren’t sticking around to see the beacons burn because Glastonbury Tor would have been an amazing place to watch some of the other beacons light up. But, we had miles to cover and a campsite in Wales with our names on it, so we had to descend that Tor and get back on the road!
Goodbye free spirited, breathtaking Glastonbury, ancient and mysterious Stonehenge, halfheartedly preserved Woodhenge and regal and prestigious Bailhenge…you’ll all be remembered as heros.