Nov 18, 2011

The Henges (Stonehenge, Woodhenge and Avebury)

Back from my trip to the UK and time to look at my photos!   Most of you follow me on Google + or on Facebook so these are not very new but they are cleaned up and processed much better.   I am not a fan of editing my photos on my older MacBook pro when I'm traveling.  It's just painful to try and stitch images together or do any kind of editing.  The processor is just way to slow, besides I'm traveling, who wants to spend their evenings editing photos?

All that being said, I have way to many images for 1 post.  So I'll try and space them out over the next few days (or a week) with different posts.  And I'm gong to post everything ass backwards, newest to oldest just to confuse things.

Fortunately for me, I currently have a few friends living in the UK who were adventurous enough that they wanted to take me out, and take their own car!  Thank Jason!!!!   I would have gone regardless as I had already planned for a few train and bus rides, but much better to visit with friends.

So this post is actually the last day that I managed to get out shooting.  Jason picked me up on Sunday morning and we toured the henges - Stonehenge, Woodhenge and Avebury.   I've been to Stonehenge in the past (I'll cover that in a minutes), neither of us had been to Woodhenge and Jason had been to Avebury.  Each of us was to see something new!

Stonehenge -

Most people know about, have read about or have watched documentaries about Stonehenge.   Definitely one of the most interesting places on this planet.  I won't debate what it was used for cause the juror is still out and many religious groups all claim their piece of Stonehenge.  All I know is that it is one eerie and strange place.   During my first visit there in 2008, I was completely stunned.  I'm pretty sensitive to ghosts and places where things have happened in the past.  Those who visited the farm can contest to that!  haha.   I spent 2 hours there in 2008 and the feeling has never left me.  I've been wanting to get back ever since.  Some may remember the creepy photo I took during that visit;

Apologies for the bright colours, I was heavy into the HDR world back then.  But those clouds centered around that place just blew me away.   And having the strange creepy feelings didn't help.

This time round, we had great weather.  Almost to good, there was no clouds in the sky so no dramatic images this time but the strange sensation was still there when I approached the site.

I shot mostly panoramic's from multiple angles this time to that people could see the scale of this place.   If you click the images below, it will open a bigger view of the pano.  But if you click the link underneath you will get a huge view.  Warning the images are BIG and could take a minute or 2 to load.  But then you can zoom in and see the detail surrounding this site. I would recommend downloading them so you can see them in your viewer.  Normally I don't post full size images as I dislike people stealing my images but I want my FB, Blogger and Google + friends to see this place.  Check them out now cause I will probably remove the links in a day or so when the search engines pick up on them.

(Click the image for the link underneath for the huge version)

The lighting was tough due to the bright sun, I had no tripod so everything is shot handheld and trying to minimize the number of people in the shot is a pain.  Fortunately we go there before the crowds go to bad.  There were a few light planes circling around, must be amazing to see this from the air.

A few others shots;

The bright sun made shooting a pain at the closest spot to the site, but made for a neat shot.

Woodhenge -

So just a few km's away from Stonehenge is Woodhenge.  As you can see from the photos, no grounds, no ticket stands, no gift store.  It's in the middle of a field on a dirt road.  Barely even a sign marking the site.  There has been some info about the site on various documentaries and there does seem to be some interesting ties to Stonehenge.   It's not much to look at, but as soon as you set foot on the site that strange vibes start humming through your body.  Something definitely took place here.

The site is still very much "still being discovered" with digs taking place around the area.  They have found a road leading down to the Avon River, the same as at Stonehenge and it appears that groups traveled between the two sites for the ceremonies that took place.

It's not much to look at, given that the wood is all gone.  But the concrete pillars in the image mark where the wood poles were.  It must have been very strange looking given how close together some of them are;

An explanation of the ring configuration. 

The entire circle 

The pole marking the center of the henge.  Here they found the body of a young child.  Sacrifice?  Unknown, but they did find other bodies buried at the site as well.

We followed this up but finding the Stonehenge Inn Pub where we had an excellent Sunday homemade roast beef meal and beer.  Oh my!

Avebury -

After our wonderful meal, and catching the first few laps of the F1 race in the pub, we moved on to the village of Avebury.   This site is not as well known as Stonehenge but is more known then Woodhenge.  All I know is that it's a royal pain in the ass to photograph!

Unlike Stonehenge, the site is huge and is spread out into an area 16 times the size as Stonehenge.  The stones are not as big but you can touch them and walk around.  The village is set inside the site.   Didn't get any strange feelings about this place at all but there were a few things that get you scratching your head.   All around the site is a big barrow but the resulting gully is on the inside not the outside.  If you were doing a defensive barrow the gully would be on the outside, but this one is on the inside.  Very weird looking ;-)

It's a very nice walk around the site.  A few photos of the rocks and the village.

 The "causeway" through the barrow and the gully.

 The stones are not as big as Stonehenge but I sure wouldn't want to move them.

 A little black and white for effect.  Walking along the top of the barrow.

Cobblestones in the village.

Have to admit I don't know as much history about this site as I do the other two.   Something for me to read up on over the winter ;-)

What I find very strange about all 3 sites is that each had thousands of people visiting and performing "whatever".  Then suddenly all 3 spots were abandoned.  Why?  How does something that was so big suddenly stop and the sites become forgotten, only to be found my Roman's and people in our modern times?   I can envision how they were built, make some guesses as to why they were built but I just can't wrap my head around how something that was obviously such an effort to create would be abandoned and forgotten.  It's not like England was suddenly unpopulated.  The mysteries of the world!

We didn't set out to find any of these sites.  In fact I didn't know anything about them!    Jason's GPS led us down a series of strange roads that had us scratching our heads.  Well it knew that we wanted to see strange things I guess.  The first one we found was the the Aston Barnes white horse built in 1812. Could see it for miles!  

Later in the day was we left Avebury, we ran across the Hackpen White Horse built in 1838.

A little research soon discovered there is quite a series of these white (chalk) horses all around Wiltshire.  Could be fun to drive around and locate them all.  Something to do the next time!

It was a rather busy day topped off by some rather nice sunset;

Next two posts will be Bath and London.    Have a great day everyone and hope you enjoyed the show! 


  1. Very cool! A person could spend weeks and weeks wandering around some of the strange stuff in the UK!

  2. Looking good. Glad you had a good time and were able to get some more photos.

  3. Wow - fantastic post Scott (both of them!). Thanks so much for taking the time to write it up and post your photos. I know how much work it is.

    What a beautiful place. That's really interesting about the feelings you get near Stonehenge. Did you need to get physically near to the stones to have the feeling or was it a general feeling once you were in the vicinity/area?

    Thanks for providing the panos -- pano9 is fantastic with the shadows; adds a beautiful sense of depth to the image. Also having people there sometimes helps us viewers with perspective, so it's not always bad!

    Beautiful b&w cobblestones too. Love that!