Everyone has heard of Stonehenge, but have you heard of Avebury? Avebury is the largest stone circle in Europe and is located in southern England, and unlike Stonehenge, it’s free to visit.
Avebury was constructed around 2600 BC during the Neolithic period and consists of a large outer henge (large ditch with bank) that contains a large stone circle and two separate smaller stone circles in the center. The henge measures 420 meters across and is so large that there is a village built inside of it with roads cutting the monument into quarters. Leading to the monument is a long pathway lined with standing stones. Many of the stones of the circles within the henge are massive and would have required a lot of effort to stand upright.
The original purpose of the monument was thought to be for religious and ceremonial purposes. Modern day Druids and Pagans still use the site for rituals, which often draw a crowd.
The locals destroyed many of the standing stones and filled in the ditch for religious and practical reasons during the late Medieval and Early Modern periods. Antiquarians in the 17th century had recorded much of the site before its destruction and the monument was restored in the 20th century.
We toured Avebury on a beautiful spring day and found the place packed. The parking lot was full, but we were lucky to find parking down a nearby narrow gravel road.
We found the site very peaceful and to be a popular spot for picnicking and just hanging out. If you find yourself in southern England, don’t miss Avebury!