Saturday 12 May 2012

A stargazing walk at Stonehenge

Moon Over Stonehenge
Cresent moon over Stonehenge Photograph: Alamy 
Distance 0.7 mile (1.1km) 
Gentle stroll 
1 hour 30 minutes 
Next to Stonehenge car park 
OS grid reference 
Walk in a nutshell
Beginning a few hundred metres from the famous stone circle, this leisurely walk takes you over grazed grassland and between prehistoric burial mounds. Around you are more than 350 monuments and earthworks.
Why it's special
For hundred of years, scholars and cranks have been speculating about the purpose of the stone circle and the surrounding earthworks. According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, Stonehenge was built by the sorcerer Merlin; while in the 1960s astronomer Gerald Hawkins suggested it was a computer to predict solar and lunar eclipses. To modern pagans it is a site of great religious significance.
Look and listen out for
Stone curlews – crow-sized birds whose large yellow eyes enable them to find food in the dark. They have an eerie, wailing cry.
But bear in mind
Dogs should be kept under close control because of grazing animals and ground-nesting birds.
How to get there
By car: Stonehenge is 2 miles west of Amesbury, near the junction of the A303 and the A344.

Step by step

Stonehenge wiltshire walk graphic
1 From the byway next to the car park, head through the pedestrian gate signed to the Cursus Barrows. Please be aware of grazing cattle.
2 If the night is not too dark, you'll see the group of bronze age round barrows ahead of you, standing on the horizon.
3 From the barrows head east to meet the byway once more, accessed through a pedestrian gate.
Source Guardian and National Trust