I had always wanted to visit Stonehenge. Looking at a picture of bold boulders standing in a circle in an ancient configuration shrouded with mysteries comparable to the how, whys and whens of other wonders of the world such as the Pyramids of Egypt.
I knew I had to do it.
I made all the necessary preparations including extensive online research on Stonehenge and decided on date to make my maiden visit to this global icon. I decided to make the trip late last June as I wanted to try to have a sunrise or a sunset experience of the site. “Carry your camera and be ready for great shots” that is how every guide that I checkedseemed to conclude. I made arrangements with my friends and we decided to have an experience together.
We decided to go by car. This world heritage mystery is allocated 70 miles southwest of LHR airport. Travelling from London, I had to take the M3 and A303 to Amesbury. Amesbury was our spot for food and accommodation. We could see the Stonehenge and Woodhenge sign posts clearly from Amesbury. You cannot get lost while you are Amesbury.
What it really is
There is a lot to Stonehenge other than the wonderful site and the exciting sunset. There is no other site in Europe that is comparable to this location when it comes to archeological richness. Visiting Stonehenge is more than just looking at a circle of stones, there are also other artifacts and exhibitions which can be viewed including re-created houses closely based on Neolithic houses dating to around 2,500 BC (which was around the time the large sarsen stones were being put up at Stonehenge) the remains of which were discovered just over a mile away during excavations in 2006/2007.
The stones stood above the ground dwarfing us. We could see the stones from the car park but once we were close to them, the view was different and the experience exciting. We took an audio guide that would take us through the tunnel and under the road to the site. We could not get as close as we desired initially because of the guided rope pathways and arranged for an early morning view of the sunrise.
The huge mysterious monuments clouded the weak yet golden bleakness of the sun. As the sky turned from blue, to black, to grey and gold, the shadows became longer and longer. Then the first sunrays got a peak through the stones and cameras began to click. It was a truly beautiful sight spiced by long history of man’s civilization.
I grasped the fresh air that came from the pure unaltered land. The breeze was smooth to the face and gentle to the skin. All this is as a result of the preserved chalk grassland. The landscape is just majestic. There are a number of rolling hills and dry river valleys on the site. We walked and enjoyed the fresh air in the upcountry environment. Rummaging through interesting terrains, we were taken thousands of years back.
There is also a lot of flora and fauna at this prestigious site and the surrounding countryside. It was my first time to see the Knapweeds and yellow rattle. Then there were the blue butterflies. I was told they are called the Adonis Blue butterflies. We also noticed a skylark.
At dusk, we headed to our camping site outside Old Sarum in Salisbury. Nobody is allowed to camp within the Stonehenge. However, we were told camping near Shrewton would have given us a closer view of the stones.