Avesbury vs. Stonehenge: Battle of the Ancient Ruins

Finally ready to leave North Wales we scoured the map in search of our next destination. On the tour we had places in our mind of where we wanted to visit but we never settled on a real plan. Deciding it was best to go south before going north we made our way towards the town of Avebury.

Avebury Stone Circle

Unimpressed at Avebury Stone Circle...

After doing a tiny amount of research before setting off we found a story about the Avebury stones. Apparently the stones were older and far more impressive than that of Stonehenge and luckily for us the two sets of ancient rock formations were only 20 miles away from each other. Ticking off Avebury first we set off on the 4 hour car journey south.

Without a GPS I wouldn’t have been able to find Avebury as it had no visible signposts at all. You leave the M5 at some obscure junction and then follow some small and winding lanes through the hills for around 10 minutes.  When you arrive in Avebury there’s one main field reserved for parking with the fee of £5 for no matter how long you’re staying.

After a short walk from the field you’re greeted by your first set of stones. I know you have to try and see the positive in things like this but we seriously couldn’t. They were literally a few big rocks stuck in the ground that were then surrounded by a whole load of man-made smaller rocks. While on the ground you can’t see a ring shape at all and to be perfectly honest it felt like you could be anywhere in the world just looking at a few big rocks. If you have a helicopter to see the stones from a birds-eye view you may get a better experience but personally I wouldn’t detour if going to see Stonehenge.

It didn’t take us long before we walked back to the car and made our way to the most famous stone circle of them all. Because we set off pretty late and the journey took us a while we didn’t get to Stonehenge till around 5pm. I’m guessing because of the time we didn’t have to pay to park there and so managed to get away with only paying the entrance fee. With Stonehenge you have the option of either standing behind a fence to look at it for free or paying £7 to go under a tunnel to the other side of the fence and see it closer up and unobscured.

Stonehenge

I may have jumped over the barriers to get this photo... oops!

With Stonehenge being on my bucket list I didn’t want to waste the opportunity of being there and so paid the £7 to take a walk around. You get an audio headset for some info on Stonehenge but I was too busy taking photos to actually listen to it. There’s a small rope barrier around the stone circle itself but I kinda agree that you shouldn’t be able to go up and touch them simply because I know they would be ruined by graffiti and people scratching their names in to the rock. There are points in the walk around Stonehenge that allow you to get very close for a nice photo and then far away for an awesome panoramic shot.

On the way around we managed to get some awesome photos and the person I was with started listening to the audio tour to give me some awesome info but broken down in to one or two sentences. I personally still haven’t made my mind up on how the stones got there… still swaying towards Aliens. I’d spent ages trying to balance my camera on top of my bag to take a timed shot of me and my friend (I left the tripod in the car) and thought the photo came out well until I loaded it on to the computer. Apparently somebody else wanted to get in to the shot as well… Never mind.

Overall Stonehenge was definitely the better of the two. Even though it’s more expensive and you can’t actually touch them I felt I got a better experience from Stonehenge… and it’s just fucking awesome!

Stonehenge

It took me ages to get a shot with no people walking past in it!

 

 

 

Author: Dan Collins

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14 Comments

  1. We were the cheap bastards who stayed behind the fence.

    I was a bit gutted because my parents were telling me how when they went years ago they had the place to themselves and could do as they pleased, no crappy walkways…

  2. I think it looks really cool! I’m glad to hear you say that you liked it because a couple people I know have said it’s not worth it, but we still want to visit. I choose to listen to you, random stranger on the internet, over people I know 🙂

  3. Ah yeah man it was awesome. I’ve been told by so many that it wasn’t worth it but at the end of the day its Stonehenge! It’s brilliant haha.

  4. We’re hopefully heading there in Sept after we leave London, so I’m glad I read this! Someone else mentioned that Avebury is great so I was considering checking that out… but good to know it’s perhaps not worth the time. 🙂

  5. Yeah. I wasn’t too fond of it… it had a whole load of man made stones all shaped the same dotted around the place (the small pointy one in the image) and you couldn’t really sit down as there was animal poo everywhere with flies buzzing around them… not my type of place!

  6. Ooooh! I have to say good on ya for jumping the fence, we debated how it is wrong to cordon off one’s heritage and say “you can only experience it THIS ONE way – from afar, no touching”. I read on the BBC (=true, duh) that they probably wrapped the stones in woven wickerwork and then rolled them/floated them in rivers where possible. All the way from Wales. Aliens might have helped a bit too.

  7. Oooh good to see the Welsh involved anyway haha

  8. Amazing photos! That last one is well worth the time it took to get a good shot without anyone in it, I’m sure. How many people can say they have that?! Not me! 🙂

    Sara

  9. Yeah it was worth waiting for!

  10. I went to Avebury and Stonehenge a few years ago. I agree Stonehenge shouldn’t be missed, but I wonder if you saw the right part of Avebury? The stones cover a much larger area, so it would be easy to miss the circular part. They are in a different arrangement from Stonehenge, but part of the stones are in a circle that is surrounded by a deep moat that was dug out with deer antlers (!). You can also go right up to the stones.

  11. Hmm, yeah I think I went to the right place in Avebury but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. The stones were really far apart from each other and the field was dotted with a LOT of man made stones which ruined it for me. There was poo everywhere too haha

  12. I guess Avesbury is for the particularily interested. Stonehenge is just awesome! It is there to rock the world. It’s not planted by aliens, but by rockstars from the future. Waiting for them to come back and finish the stage. 😉

  13. I like your thinking… I like your thinking A LOT!

  14. Avebury is older and far bigger than Stonehenge. It’s the largest in Europe and surrounds the village. There are 3 circles of huge stones. Some are missing and marker stones have been placed to show where they once stood. The National Trust car park is too expensive, so we parked next to the Red Lion pub for free and had a nice lunch there.
    The sheep are a natural and cost-effective way of stopping nature reclaiming the site, which otherwise would be tangled with woods and brambles and be inaccessible. A few pats is more natural than having a sterile machine-cut pristine lawn.

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