Stonehenge, Avebury, Lacock and Castle Combe

September 13, 2014

Today after breakfast all 6 of us walked to the Abbey Hotel to go on a Mad Max tour of Stonehenge, Avebury, Lacock and another visit to Castle Combe, which was our favorite of the Cotswold villages.  We left right on schedule today, and it took about 1 hour to drive from Bath to Stonehenge.  Kevin, our guide and driver, told us President Obama had just been to Stonehenge a week ago and that it made things a little crazy.  We walked to the new Visitor’s Center, where we caught a bus that took us to the site.  Kevin gave us audio guides so we could walk around the monument at our own pace.  Building of the monument started about 5,000 years ago, and although they don’t know exactly what it means, they have some theories.  One is that it was a calendar of sorts—they do know that it has astronomical meaning.  The first stones came from Wales, but later some came from closer sites.  They don’t know what religion was involved, but do know that the Druids didn’t built it, even though they hold festivals here now.  A henge is a ditch and a bank, and they were made using antlers and other sharp objects as tools.  The largest stones weigh about 30 tons, the smallest about 3 tons, and the ones at Stonehenge have been shaped.  The remains of about 64 people were found in the Aubrey Holes, and there are also burial grounds in the area.  We walked around for about an hour and then went back to the Visitor’s Center for some souvenirs.  Jay and Barbara had the “deluxe’ hot chocolate—it was sinfully good with marshmallows and lots of whipped cream.  On the way to Avebury, Kevin stopped so we could get photos of a chalk horse in the hillside, and we fed apples to some real horses here.  There is chalk under the topsoil in this area, and there are a number of horses on hills.  Avery is a nice town with some thatched roof cottages.  There are also about 100 large stones next to the town (there were 400 originally) and here you can walk right up and touch them.  They don’t have as many visitors as Stonehenge, which gets about 1 million a year, and there you have to stay on a walkway behind ropes to prevent damage to the soil.  Kevin says thatched roofs cost between £600 and £800/sq. meter and that they can last up to 35 years.  We stopped for lunch in the Red Lion Inn in Lacock.  Jay and Barbara had wine and shared a cheese plate.  We walked around Lacock with Kevin and he showed us where scenes from Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone were filmed.  The house in the Harry Potter film was where  James and Lily were supposed to have lived.  Many buildings in Lacock dated to the 14th century, and there were stocks behind the George Inn.  From Lacock we went back to Castle Combe, where we were 2 days ago on our Lion’s Tour.  We just walked around by ourselves this time and enjoyed the atmosphere.  The roofs of the homes in the Cotswolds are made of Cotswold stone.  The buildings were built between the 15th and 17th centuries.  We returned to Bath around 5:30 and went right to the Loch Fyne, a Scottish restaurant pretty close to Henrietta House.  The front desk person made a reservation for Gayle, and the food was very good.  Most of us had fish and some of us had great Dauphinoise potatoes.  After dinner everyone went back to the hotel, but Barbara and Jay walked a few blocks to take pictures of Jane Austen’s home.  It was too dark to get good pictures of the gardens across the street where she spent a lot of time.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Stonehenge-2

Stonehenge

Stonehenge-3

Stonehenge

Stonehenge to Avebury

Stonehenge to Avebury

Avebury

Avebury

Avebury-2

Marylee at Avebury

Avebury-3

Thatched roof in Avebury

Lacock

Harry Potter's parents lived here in The Sorcerer's Stone - Lacock

Lacock-2

Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth filmed here - Lacock

Castle Combe1

Sign entering Castle Combe

Castle Combe2

Castle Combe

Dinner in Bath at Loch Fyne

Dinner at Loch Fyne (the seventh head is our waiter)

Jane Austen's home in Bath1

Jane Austen's home in Bath



© Jay 2014