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Constructed around 3650BC, this atmospheric chamber was in use for at least 1000 years, until it was sealed with chalk rubble and boulders.

Some archaeologists believe this happened at the same time the stone circles at Avebury were built, indicating a dramatic change in beliefs or religion.

Deep inside the chamber, I can’t resist letting out a ghostly “woooh”, which echoes around the old stones.

I’m quickly shushed by a serious-looking spiritualist kneeling on the ground nearby. Time to call it a day.

The next morning I check out Wiltshire’s eight white horses, landmark figures carved into the side of chalk hills. No mystery here though, they were formed by eccentric landowners just a few hundred years ago.

One of the most spectacular, at Cherhill, was designed in 1780 by Dr Christopher Alsop, known as ‘the mad doctor’, who shouted directions to its makers through a megaphone from the bottom of the hill.

Finally, I clamber to the top of Westbury Hill to get a view of the intricate crop circles in the fields below.

From geometric patterns to swirling circles, some of these appeared as recently as last month, yet as little is known about their origin as about Stonehenge’s.

One thing is clear though – Wiltshire shows no signs of getting any less weird over time.

Eat, sleep, drink

For top-notch veggie fare, head to the Circle Restaurant (High St, Marlborough, tel. 01672 539514). Sandwiches, soups and cream teas are the order of the day. Mains from about £5.

The Red Lion is a classic old thatched country pub within Avebury’s stone circle.

The pub grub is affordable with main courses from £8.89. 

For one of the best selections of real ale in the county, visit The Inn With The Well, a pub with plenty of character. Pints from £3.15.

Quaint Tudor wood panelling and roaring fires set the scene at The Sun Inn, where pints start from about £3.

Avebury Life is a budget B&B embracing Wiltshire eccentricity. It advertises to those coming to “experience the strength and energy of the stones” or “connect with the crop circles”. Double room with en suite from £70pn. 


Stay in a grand farmhouse a short drive from Avebury at Blounts Court Farm near Devizes. From £35pppn, it’s a bargain.

 

Getting there

Take the train from London Paddington to Swindon from £46.30 return. Then take the number 49 bus from Swindon to Avebury (doesn’t run on Sundays). 

thetrainline.com

english-heritage.org.uk

 

Photos: David Williams, Keith Chaloner/Visit Wiltshire, Britainonview, Getty


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Weird Wiltshire: From mystical Stonehenge to crop circles and ancient burial sites
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