Sheep contentedly munching near the stones

Sheep contentedly munching near the stones

Avebury is not as famous as Stonehenge but the great thing is that you can still walk amongst the standing stones and get a real feel for the place. The stones at Avebury do not form arches but they are set out in a huge complex pattern which probably performed much the same calendar-based function as Stonehenge. The outer Avebury circle is the largest stone circle in Europe and is an amazing example of an enormous engineering undertaking by neolithic people. Or alternatively, as Declan decided, they had help from aliens.

Declan tries to push a stone over

Declan tries to push a stone over

The only aliens at Avebury now are the sheep that graze between the stones providing a lovely homey touch to the experience of visiting. Though even the sheep were somewhat bewildered by the gathering of druids we ran into. A large group of men and women wearing robes and jackets with runic stitching, carrying little sickles and branches of mistletoe. Somewhat incongruously when we found them they were loudly singing a rendition of the Drunken Sailor song:

What shall we do with the drunken druid,
Had to much of his magic fluid

The whole thing was supremely, quirkily and wonderfully English.

Callum is content to rest on the stone

Callum is content to rest on the stone

To complete our neolithic experience, Avebury also has burial barrows and a white horse carved into the hill nearby. In our opinion the horse is actually a dog, but, hey, it’s an amazing large animal one way or another.

However, somewhat childishly all of this wonderful stuff paled to insignificance against the last sight of the day. As we were driving away we passed a huge field, golden with a ripening crop. And there, in the middle of the field, was a walloping great crop circle. 5000-year old stone circles are without doubt impressive; but a newly minted crop circle, that’s just cool.