Stonehenge Without the Crowds


The Autumn Equinox is nearly upon us, and many people like to celebrate it at an ancient sacred sight such as Stonehenge.  I hadn’t planned to visit Stonehenge on this trip, having been there before.  But my route took me within two miles right at sunset, and I couldn’t resist.  The highway passes right beside the ancient stone circle.  Traffic crawled along; there was plenty of time to take in the awesome sight right from the highway.  Maybe it was the equinox, or maybe it was just some kind of Sunday evening rush hour.  Whatever the reason, I joined a long line of cars slowly making its way past the circle. Magic! No parking, no tickets, no shuttlebus from the parking lot, no grousing about the new roads and high-tech visitor’s center.


I did make a visit to nearby Avebury, a pretty village that has grown up inside a stone cirlce believed to be even older and more important than Stonehenge.


Some people were dressed in special Equinox finery. I saw a lot of happy-looking people in capes and floral wreaths.


Quite a few people were camping nearby, with the approval of the National Trust organization. Children climbed trees and dogs frolicked.


Actually, I prefer Avebury to Stonehenge.  It has all the mystery and none of the hype of the more famous circle.  The Avebury stones are smaller but the circle is much larger. The site is more relaxed but every bit as awe-inspiring as Stonehenge. How many thousands of generations of sheep have been calmly grazing around the ancient mysterious stones of Avebury?


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