Thought I'd finish my Avebury area tour by checking out East Kennett Longbarrow, Little Avebury and Harestone Down SC.
Parked near the church, and headed up towards the circle in gale force winds and a temperature of just below zero. It was a battle between sunshine and snow flurries, with both trying to break from the clouds.
Harestone Down initially appeared underwhelming, but the longer I spent looking around the more I could get a sense of place. As I passed the seemingly randomly placed collected stones beneath the platform of the circle, and headed off in the direction of Little Avebury I found the way fenced off. Whilst walking down towards East Kennett Longbarrow, I looked back up at the circle, and that was when it really revealed itself, up on the ridge above.
Coupled with the massive EKLB, I glad I braved the cold.
This week I'm a refugee from some building work in my home; on Monday I visited Avebury on a bright and frosty morning. Sort fell in love with the place again after a period of disenchantment. Today, still on the run from building dust, I headed back out there with a walking companion. My friend parked in the West Kennet lay-by and we headed up towards the White Horse Trail in search of the Harestone Down stone circle. I first read about this site many years ago in Terence Meaden's book 'The Secret's of the Avebury Stones' (this was also the first book I bought about Avebury) but had never got around to visiting.
We headed towards East Kennet and took the green track up to some fields where East Kennet long barrow was visible. Following the White Horse Trail uphill we came to an area of rough grass on a hillock - climbed over what looked like a wooden horse jump to get up to a scatter of large sarsen stones - at first glance there did not seem to be any particular circle like structure, though we noticed one deeply grooved stone. What deeply impressed me, however, was the absolutely astonishing panoramic view. Stretched out before us was not only a great view of East Kennet long barrow but also clear views of West Kennet long barrow, Silbury, Avebury, and in the distance Windmill Hill. This must be one of the best views in the whole of Wiltshire.
Unfortunately, I discovered the battery in my camera was flat and I had left my spare charging so only managed to get a couple of pics before my camera turned itself off. It didn't matter though, the clouds made the sky and landscape majestic - no photo of mine could ever do it justice.
From Harestone Down we headed to Langdean stone circle (also mentioned in Terence Meaden's book). I looked back at Harestone as we walked away heading south and have to say a stone circle did seem to take shape around the tussocky mound. We stopped for a bit in a field with three or four sarsen clusters in it. Something about this field reminded me of Piggledene though the stones were not scattered as they are there.
I'm no archaeologist nor do I have any aspirations in that direction - I can only report on my impressions when visiting ancient sites/landscapes. My impression of Langdean is that it is a sarsen drift as there is a scatter of stones clustered in a valley bottom. It is true that one of these groupings of stones was circle like.
We followed a track back to East Kennet village, gifted with some superb views of East Kennet long barrow for most of our walk. Perched on the horizon with its resident trees shorn of leaves, it is a magnificent barrow - seen from the Harestone Down perspective it seemed to be very much in the foreground of this spectacular landscape.
We visited this site for the first time a couple of months ago with Pete G and his friend Mick as our guides. The views of Silbury and West Kennett long barrow are fantastic from here as is the whole of the landscape. Just a short walk up from East Kennett long barrow, though i would never have found the place without Pete. We parked the car at a farm below East Kennett longbarrow and didn't have any real problems although we were warned we were on private land and that we left our car there at our own risk of the threat of runnaway tractors! Although the stones are scattered it is still a great site due to it's views of the landscape and great positioning.