ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A visitor's guide to the ancient and historic sites of Wiltshire in England

Updated on October 9, 2013
Imogen French profile image

Imogen is from West Dorset, in the UK. She works in publishing and writes mainly about the environment, gardening, and vegetarian food.

Wiltshire is a pretty county in western England that is rich in fascinating and historical sites to visit. Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury Hill are part of a designated World Heritage Site, because of their historical importance.

Stonehenge, viewed from the perimeter fence
Stonehenge, viewed from the perimeter fence | Source

Stonehenge

Probably the most famous archaeological site in Wiltshire, and indeed in England, is the stone circle of Stonehenge. Situated in central Wiltshire, near the town of Amesbury, Stonehenge draws people from all over the world to marvel at the ancient stones.

The prehistoric monument is thought to have been built around 3000-2,500 BC, and is constructed from huge slabs of bluestone that were brought all the way from Wales. The exact purpose of the circle is uncertain, but its positioning and correlation with the midsummer solstice indicates that it may have been a temple related to sun worship.

It is managed by English Heritage, who charge an entry fee to look around, although it can be viewed from a distance through the perimeter fence.

Avebury stone circle

The stone circle at Avebury is, arguably, more impressive than Stonehenge, being the largest stone circle in the world. It emcompasses part of the village of Avebury, and is intersected by the road. The large standing stones form an impressive sight, and the village itself is a very pretty and tranquil place to visit.

Avebury stone circle, Wiltshire
Avebury stone circle, Wiltshire | Source

Silbury Hill and West Kennet Longbarrow

I have included these two sites together as they are right next to each other. Silbury Hill is a large man-made chalk hill that can be seen for miles around, standing at 121 feet (37 metres) high. It is thought to have been built around 4750 years ago, and despite excavations its purpose is still much debated.

West Kennet Long-barrow, just across the main road from Silbury Hill, is a neolithic burial mound that was probably built about 1000 years earlier. It has been excavated, and you can walk inside the large chambered tomb. Evidence of many bodies were found within, and it is one of the largest known burial sites of its type.

Silbury Hill, Wiltshire
Silbury Hill, Wiltshire | Source

The White Horses of Wiltshire

Dotted around the county's hillsides you will find a number of white horses - large carved reliefs cut out of the chalk hills. Wiltshire has no less than 13 of Britain's 24 white horses. These vary in age and history: the Alton Barnes white horse was made in 1812, whereas the new Pewsey white horse was made in 1937 on the site of a much older one, dating back to the late 1700s. England's oldest white horse, at Uffington, dates back to prehistoric times, but this is just over the border in Oxfordshire.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury cathedral is a beautiful medieval building, boasting the tallest cathedral spire in England. Building of the cathedral started in 1220, with later additions over the following centuries. It was immortalised in John Constable's famous painting of 1823, and is also famous for housing the best original copy of the Magna Carta, dating from 1215.

Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable
Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable | Source

Old Sarum

Old Sarum is an ancient Iron age hill fort that was the site of the original Salisbury. Around 2 miles north of the present Salisbury, it was also home to the old Salisbury Cathedral, built in Norman times, and there is also evidence of Iron age, Norman, Roman and Saxon settlements on the site.

The hill rises to about 1,200 feet (400 metres), and a walk around the ramparts will provide a great view of "new" Salisbury and the current cathedral spire, as well as the surrounding countryside.

Discover more about this fascinating county at:

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/siteSearch?showTotals=true&terms=wiltshire&mode=Site

and

http://www.wiltshire-web.co.uk/index.asp

Related hubs by this author:

Top ten places to visit in Dorset, England by Imogen French

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ercolano profile image

      Sam Walker 

      6 years ago

      Ah these brought back memories, I used to live in Swindon and know these sites well. Thanks for the memories.

    • krosch profile image

      krosch 

      6 years ago

      Thanks, I thought it was likely a simple mistake or maybe a hub pages error, but I wanted to toss it out there.

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      6 years ago from Southwest England

      thanks all. I will take a look at those URLs Krosch, I hadn't realised they weren't linking

    • krosch profile image

      krosch 

      6 years ago

      You should make those URL's links so it is easier for people to link off from them and check out the other sites.

      Thanks for the cool run down of the area, voted up, and beautiful! :)

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 

      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      IF: I visited Scotland but have not yet been to England. This is my next stop. I love this hub because it takes you there!

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 

      6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Hi Imogen...you have a GREAT neighborhood! While aware of Stonehenge...I had no idea of all the other great history right next door. If I am ever able to pop over the pond...I will do it with a copy of this hub in my pocket so I don't miss anything!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)