Avebury and Henley-on-Thames

After a lovely weekend in Bath, we unfortunately had to return to London but that didn’t mean we couldn’t enjoy ourselves along the way home! Or at least try to attempt to enjoy ourselves…

Our original plan was to visit Avebury and its stone circle, as the village isn’t too far from Bath. I started getting unreasonably excited, as I do with anything vaguely neolithic or older. The henge monument is also a UNESCO world heritage site, but falls under Stonehenge’s site which I’ve visited previously, so I can’t turn my 25 into a 26/1007. Boo.

To make matters worse, with it being a beautiful day everyone and their grandma had decided to visit Avebury too… Which meant the car park was completely full… and the surrounding village had no other parking spaces… Boo.

Disappointed, we drove down the road. I then saw a big hill in the middle of a field and demanded we pulled over. “I’mma climb dat,” I announced and ‘dat’ turned out to be Silbury Hill, another part of the UNESCO collection. Great!

Except, I climbing it wasn’t permitted. BOO!

It made sense though. Past excavations to find out what the man-made hill consists of have made the structure very unstable and I hardly wanted to spend my Sunday being rescued after falling through the ground into an old tunnel.

The investigations showed that the centre of the hill (just a pile of rocks back then) dates all the way back to 2,500 BC (±50 years). The centre is mostly gravel and other local rocks. The second layer is a whole load of chalk, presumably to make the pile of rocks actually become a hill so it could become a landmark. Historians still aren’t sure of the hill’s purpose though.

Disheartened, I fell asleep in the car and awoke to find my parents furtively searching for a parking space in Henley-on-Thames. Okay!

Henley is famous for its regatta, where posh people take part in boat races and other posh people drink a lot of champagne. We were there the week prior and got to see the town start preparing for the enormous influx of people and then wandered into a place called the Chocolate Theatre Cafe for lunch, which was just as lovely as you’d expect. We then went for a very nice walk beside the river before heading home. Mmm.
I’m still pretty disappointed that we couldn’t stop at Avebury but I suppose that just means I’ll have to go back one day and do it properly!

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