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My parents were visiting me this weekend in Swindon, but since there are not that many sights in Swindon (maybe except the Magic Roundabout), we visited some of the sites worth seeing around Swindon in Wiltshire.

[thumb-001]Sat Mar 25 10:09:15 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
Lydiard House
[thumb-002]Sat Mar 25 10:10:59 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
Lydiard Park
[thumb-003]Sat Mar 25 10:13:14 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-004]Sat Mar 25 10:14:11 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-005]Sat Mar 25 10:15:06 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-006]Sat Mar 25 11:32:27 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
Barbury Castle Country Park

It is hard to believe that much of the lowland England was once covered with dense forest, where man lived by hunting and fishing. Around 3500 BC, farmers, arriving from Europe, settled on the chalklands where tree cover was light. With antler picks and flint axes, they cleared patches of woodland to grow crops. Their sheep and cattle grazed the land, preventing the re-growth of trees. When the soil was exhausted they moved on, creating paths as they went. Gradually, a network of trackways emerged along the chalk downs of southern England.

The Ridgeway was one of the most important of these upland ways, linking East Anglia with Wessex and the Dorset coast. By the Bronze Age (2300-750 BC), it had become an important trade route between England, Ireland and the Continent. Merchants travelling these routes, initially traded in gold, ornaments and copper weapons. Later, this included jet from Yorkshire, amber from the Baltic and blue faience beads from Egypt.

In the late 8th century BC, the Celts arrived in Britain bringing superior iron weapons and farming methods. This marked the beginning of the Iron Age. They were responsible for building many hillforts, like Barbury Castle and Liddington Camp, which is about 4 miles away to your right.

The upland tracks continued to be used throughout the Iron Age and Roman occupation. Only in Saxon times do we see a move to the valleys, with the growth of villages and field systems on the river terraces.

[thumb-007]Sat Mar 25 11:39:18 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)

You are now at the eastern entrance to the hillfort. It was built by the Celts in the 6th century BC as a refuge against warring tribes. At times of attack, people living nearby would bring their animals and shelter in wooden huts within this 11 acre enclosure.

A continuous wooden fence ran along the inner bank to protect defenders as they hurled stones and spears at their attackers. The outer banks were reinforced by huge sarsen stones. Today, these structures have collapsed but the scattered stones can still be seen.

Attackers, arriving at the fort breathless after the steep climb, would be confronted by the formidable sight of two massive earthern banks and ditches, much steeper than they are today. They would aim to attack the wooden gateway entrances as these were the weakest points and were usually surmounted by look-out towsers. Just behind you, to the left, are the remains of a semi-circular earthwork which strengthened the defences of this entrance.

The fort provided a natural look-out over the plain. Ancient trackways also ran close by, linking Barbury with other hillforts built along the chalk ridges. On a clear day, Liddington Camp and Uffington Castle can be seen in the distance over your right shoulder.

Over time, hillforts became more than just refuges but also focal points for families and tribes living in villages or isolated huts nearby.

[thumb-008]Sat Mar 25 11:42:18 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-009]Sat Mar 25 11:47:33 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-010]Sat Mar 25 11:54:26 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
THE RIDGEWAY - a National Trail

Welcome to the Ridgeway, a 136 km (85 mile) long-distance route passing through some of the finest scenery in south-central England.

[thumb-011]Sat Mar 25 11:54:52 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-012]Sat Mar 25 12:26:59 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
Wiltshire's White Horse Trail

Hackpen Hill White Horse

The 27 metre high frame of this horse stands here on the edge of the Marlborough Downs, fully exposed to the elements. The horse was cut in 1837 by the Parish Clerk of Broad Hinton to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Victoria. It's head points roughly in the direction of the next horse, which is only a short distance away.

[thumb-013]Sat Mar 25 12:50:04 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-014]Sat Mar 25 12:50:40 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-015]Sat Mar 25 12:50:49 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-016]Sat Mar 25 12:51:23 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-017]Sat Mar 25 15:49:25 2006 (600x800, 1536x2048)
Avebury: Church of St.James
[thumb-018]Sat Mar 25 15:52:40 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-019]Sat Mar 25 15:56:07 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
Avebury Stone Circle
[thumb-020]Sat Mar 25 15:57:29 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-021]Sat Mar 25 15:58:50 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-022]Sat Mar 25 15:59:42 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-023]Sat Mar 25 16:00:44 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
[thumb-024]Sat Mar 25 16:07:23 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
Welcome to Avebury

Here at Avebury you can see one of the greatest achievements of prehistoric Europe. The great stone circle and inner circles are surrounded by a massive bank and ditch, forming what is known as a henge monument 4500 to 5000 years old. Henge monuments are the best-known remains of the Neolithic period in Britain; Avebury is perhaps the finest example.

Further information about the Avebury monuments is available from the Avebury Museum, behind the Church in the village.

'The Avebury Henge' and outlying monuments are cared for by the National Trust.

The National Trust is an independent charity working to provide permanent protection for our countryside, coastline, historic buildings and monuments. By becoming a member, you would be making a vital contribution to the future of our heritage.

[thumb-025]Sat Mar 25 16:07:36 2006 (800x600, 2048x1536)
The World Heritage Site

The map on the right shows the extent of the World Heritage Site at Avebury. The Monuments here, together with those at Stonehenge, have been recognised as the finest examples of henge monuments and their associated sites.

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Last modified: Mon Sep 03 18:20:47 2018
Christof Meerwald <cmeerw@cmeerw.org>
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