The West Kennet Avenue leading to the Avebury circle can easily be seen whilst driving to and from Avebury on the whilst travelling along the B4003. Originally there would probably have been around 100 pairs of standing stones.
Each pair arranged roughly 20-30cm from the next pair with the stones of each pair standing around 15m apart. The Avenue ran for about 1.6 miles from the southern entrance of Avebury henge to a double stone circle on Overton Hill, now known as the Sanctuary.*
There is a second avenue, The Beckhampton Avenue, leaving Avebury by what it now the high street. This was a similar pairing of stones leading from what is now the hamlet of Beckhampton. In 1999 stones from this avenue were rediscovered as part of a project by three universities to test for its existence. There is also speculation that there might once have four avenues but so far there is no evidence to confirm this.
Seeing the car in the first photo is a little poignant because that car was on its final holiday adventure.
*From National Trust 2008 guide book to Avebury revised 2011.
St Nicolas church as it stands today was completed around 1500 to 1530. There is some evidence that to suggest that the church was used as both a prison and a hospital after the Second Battle of Newbury in 1664.
I invite you to read my post about ‘Old’ Newcastle on the Broad Oak Magazine blog. You may also like to read my previous post there about Cragside.
The historic town of Newbury is situated on the River Kennet and Kennet and Avon Canal. Wikipedia gives a brief history:
Newbury was founded late in the 11th century following the Norman invasion as a new borough, hence its name. Although there are references to the borough that predate theDomesday Survey it is not mentioned by name in the survey. However, its existence within the manor of Ulvritone is evident from the massive rise in value of that manor at a time when most manors were worth less than in Saxon times. In 1086 the Domesday Book assesses the borough as having land for 12 ploughs, 2 mills, woodland for 25 pigs, 11 villeins (resident farmhands, unfree peasant who owed his lord labour services), 11 bordars (unfree peasants with less land than villans/villeins), and 51 enclosures (private parks) rendering 70s 7d.
Doubt has been cast over the existence of ‘Newbury Castle‘, but the town did have Royal connections and was visited a number of times by King John and Henry III while hunting in the area.
Historically, the town’s economic foundation was the cloth trade. This is reflected in the person of the 16th century cloth magnate, Jack of Newbury, the proprietor of what may well have been the first factory in England, and the later tale of the Newbury Coat. The latter was the outcome of a bet as to whether a gentleman’s suit could be produced by the end of the day from wool taken from a sheep’s back at the beginning.
Newbury was the site of two Civil War battles, the First Battle of Newbury (at Wash Common) in 1643 and the Second Battle of Newbury (at Speen) in 1644. The nearby Donnington Castle was reduced to a ruin in the aftermath of the second battle.
Most people will be more familiar with the nearby Greenham Common, which until the end of the cold war was an important (and notorious) RAF base:
A large Royal Air Force station was established during the Second World War at Greenham Common on the edge of the town. In the 1950s, it became home to US Air Force bombers andtankers, for which it was equipped with the longest military runway in the United Kingdom. In the 1980s, it became one of only two USAF bases in the UK equipped with ground-launchednuclear-armed cruise missiles, causing it to become the site of protests by up to 40,000 protesters and the establishment of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. With the end of the Cold War, the base was closed, the runway was broken up for use as fill material in building the Newbury bypass, and much of the area was restored to heathland.
A more detailed history of the town can be found on the following link:
All happiness in the world comes from thinking about others, and all suffering in the world comes from preoccupation with yourself.
After breakfast it was time to say goodbye to Winchester and its Cathedral and set off on our homeward journey. We stopped off at Hidcote, the first garden that the National Trust took ownership of. We had lunch before strolling round the garden.
We got home mid afternoon and that was when we noticed the first of our recent problems…
After breakfast it was time to resume our walking tour around Winchester, taking in the sites that were on our ‘To Do’ list. We made our way to the Cathedral which we intended to revisit but when we arrived we noticed a long queue leading to the closed front doors of the Cathedral. Our immediate thought is that there must be a morning service about to take place. We decided to carry along the route and come back later. Whilst I was taking a photograph around the side of the Cathedral Mr C got chatting to a lady who was parking her bicycle, she informed him that the service about to take place was the ordination of the new Bishop of Basingstoke.
We carried on along our planned route and as we passed Winchester College we noticed that a guided tour was due to start in 30 minutes. We walked on to the new Bishop’s residence and Wolvesey Castle (the Old Bishop’s Palace). We wandered around the ruins until it was time to make our way back to the college. The tour was extremely interesting, our guide was very knowledgeable and informative. There were only three of us on the tour which added to the experience.
After the tour we made our way back to the Cathedral for morning coffee as we arrived there we realised that the service was due to finish shortly. After coffee we waited to see if we could get a glimpse of the Archbishop of Canterbury in front of the Cathedral. We weren’t disappointed. I was so close I could have stepped through the gate and shook his hand.
Lunch in in the guild hall was was rather chaotic due to it being full of people who had attended the service in the Cathedral. I had a cheese and chive scone with chutney, it was delicious. After lunch we visited Winchester City Mill and took a walk alongside the river Itchen. We then retraced our steps and visited the Cathedral to explore things I had missed on the first visit. When I had finished my explorations I was rushed to Peninsular Barracks so that Mr C could visit the Royal Green Jackets Museum to see the Waterloo diorama. On arrival we found that this part of the museum was closed in preparation for a new Waterloo exhibition that will be displayed in 2015 to celebrate the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.
After all that walking we returned to the hotel to put our feet up and relax before a return visit to The Old Vyne for our evening meal in Winchester.