Monday 4 July 2011

A Favourite Car Journey From London To Stonehenge.

A Favourite Car Journey From London To Stonehenge.

Having lived in Wiltshire and worked in London I was frequently asked about how to make a day of driving to Stonehenge. I have driven this route many times and I hope you enjoy It!

The first part is not at all picturesque but a means of departing London. Take the Main M4 out of London and follow this to Junction 14 the turning for Hungerford.
The moment you do this the English country side is around you. Follow the road A336 to the T junction, turning left on to the main A4. In just a few minutes you can see the signs to Hungerford the first stop on our journey you will find a car park on the high Street.
Hungerford is a small historic town located in the midst of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and yet it is only 4 miles from the M4 and has a direct rail link to London.
The town's historic market status is retained by the significant number of small independent retail and commercial businesses providing visitors and residents alike with personal service across a wide range of products. Hungerford has an excellent variety of eating places and there is ample local accommodation. Most famously for those fans of Bargain Hunt there are many antique shops including Hungerford Arcade Antiques a regular haunt on the show. 

The town today is surrounded by open common land, five minutes walk from its centre where visitors may enjoy a relaxed walk and an abundance of flora and fauna. The Town hosts a number of unique annual events, including Tutti Day, a 3 week Arts Festival (including Carnival Day) and a late night Victorian Extravaganza in December
Returning back to the A4 or Bath Road turn left in following signs to Froxfield. 
Froxfield village is on a stream that is a tributary of the River Dun. The road between London and Bristol follows the valley of the stream and passes through the village. The road has followed this course since at least the 13th century and since the 1920s has been classified as the A4 road.
The Kennet and Avon Canal follows the Dun valley through Froxfield parish, passing within 550 yards (500 m) of the village. The canal has a series of locks in the parish from Oakhill Dow  Lock to Froxfield Bottom Lock.
Passing this village we open out onto some truly beautiful rural country side including the Savernake forest

Savernake Forest is privately owned by the Earl of Cardigan and his family, and is held in Trust. It extends to some 4,500 acres, and is the only-privately owned Forest in Britain. Much of its timber rights are leased to the Forestry Commission. Running right through the middle of the Forest is Capability Brown's 'Grand Avenue'. This avenue of beech trees - now a Private Road - was laid out in the late 1790's, and at just over 4 miles long it stands in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest Avenue in Britain

Next to Marlborough, just keep following the signs to Marlborough its a direct route with a straight Road. Please stop as you wish this is only a guideline.
Marlborough, in the north east corner of Wiltshire, is the archetypical English market town — a place where coins were minted in Norman times, Tudor kings hunted for deer and where coaches heading west from London stopped to feed and water their horses.
Back on to the A4 in the direction of Bath/Fyfield, passing west Overton and  West Kennett
Shortly after this on your left and our next stop is Silbury Hill

The largest man-made mound in Europe, mysterious Silbury Hill compares in height and volume to the roughly contemporary Egyptian pyramids. Probably completed in around 2400 BC, it apparently contains no burial. Though clearly important in itself, its purpose and significance remain unknown. There is no access to the hill itself.
From here follow the A4 to Beckhampton rounder about turning right to follow the A4361.
A short distance from here is Avebury Circle.


In the 1930s, the pretty village of Avebury, partially encompassed by the stone circle of this World Heritage Site, was witness to the excavations of archaeologist Alexander Keiller. Keiller opened the museum here to display his findings in 1938 in the old stable building of Avebury Manor where he lived.
In re-erecting many of the stones, Keiller uncovered the true wonder of one of the most important megalithic monuments in Europe. You can see his fascinating finds on display in the museum, still housed in the stables but now also in the 17th-century threshing barn, where interactive displays and activities for children bring the landscape to life.
Avebury Manor has just reopened following a major transformation for a new BBC series entitled The Manor Reborn. At this point you may choose to have something to eat at the Red Lion Pub in the middle of the Stones. Or as an alternative would be to return to the A4 for a short Journey to Cherhill where the Black Horse pub can be found on the right hand side. Opposite the Pub are Landmarks of the Landsdown monument and White Horse. I can highly recommend the Black Horse, having eaten there many times.
Landsdown monument The Lansdowne Monument, also known as Cherhill Monument, is a 38 metre stone obelisk erected by Third Marquis of Lansdowne to the designs of Sir Charles Barry to commemorate his ancestor, Sir William Petty in 1845
White Horse Cherhill also known as the Oldbury Whire Horse
The Cherhill white horse is the second oldest of the Wiltshire horses and is just below the earthwork known as Oldbury Castle, very well placed high on a steep slope, the horse is easily visible from below and from a distance.
It may well have been inspired by the Westbury horse, as it was cut in 1780, just two years after that first Wiltshire horse was recut to a new design. The Cherhill white horse is the work of a Dr Christopher Alsop of Calne, sometimes referred to as "the mad doctor". He is said to have directed the marking out of the horse from a distance, calling instructions through a megaphone. Dr Alsop's design for the horse may have been influenced by the work of his artist friend George Stubbs, famous for his paintings of horses and other animals.
Take the A4 back to Beckhampton and follow the Route to Devizes, then Pottern Road
A360 continue on this road through west Lavington, Shewton Maddington Street Leading on to Amesbury Road (Still A360)
At the Junction of A360 And B3086 follow the A344.
Stonehenge will be found about 1.5 miles on your Right.
Route back to London Can be achieved by continuing to the A303 at junction point A34 to return to Newbury and the M4.
Stonehenge For an unforgettable day out, visit the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge.  Located near Salisbury in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, it is a highlight of the South West.
The true meaning of this ancient, awe-inspiring creation has been lost in the mists of time. Was Stonehenge a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar? How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones from so far away and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure? Surrounded by mystery, Stonehenge never fails to impress