West Kennett round
A circular walk with historic ancient monuments in the beautiful setting of Wiltshire's chalk grassland.
Brown hares, red kites and a vast array of wildflowers can all be seen around West Kennett Long Barrow, Silbury Hill and other archaeological features in this beautiful and ancient landscape.
Overton Hill car park, grid ref: SU118680
Park in the car park opposite the Sanctuary. Don't cross the road to visit the Sanctuary itself - you'll see this later. Head north along the ridgeway with the series of Bronze Age round barrows on your right.
See a Bronze Age barrow group on Overton Hill next to the National Trust car park.
After about 710yd (650m) turn left down the byway towards the clumps of beech trees on top of bronze age round barrows. Ignore the permissive path to your left and keep going along the byway and drop down the hill for a further 880yd (800m) or so.
At the crossroads of the byway and a farm track, turn left along a permissive footpath, keeping the fence line on your right. The clump of trees you pass through contains the remains of a Neolithic stone circle (much smaller than the famous Avebury Henge) called Faulkner's Circle.
When you reach the road, take care to cross over and take the left-hand pedestrian gate into a large, open field. The standing stones of West Kennett Avenue are on your right and lead to Avebury. Keeping the stone avenue on your right in the adjoining field, walk up and over Waden Hill, the top of which is the same height as Silbury Hill, now clearly visible to the south.
West Kennett Avenue
The standing stones of West Kennett Avenue - a 5,000 year old processional route our ancestors took from The Sanctuary to Avebury Henge.
Drop down the hill until you pick up the footpath that runs alongside the River Kennet and turn left towards the A4. Take very great care crossing over and follow the gravel footpath towards West Kennett Long Barrow.
West Kennett Long Barrow
One of the best-preserved long barrows in the country, West Kennett Long Barrow was in use for around 1,000 years and pre-dates Avebury Henge, The Sanctuary and Silbury Hill.
After you've crossed the stream and walked through the metal kissing gate, you can turn right and go up the hill to the Long Barrow (return the same way back to this point if you do), otherwise continue east along the field boundary keeping the fence line and a row of mature sycamore trees on your left.
Increasing numbers of red kite have been seen in this area. They are easily identified by their forked tails and white patches on their wings.
Cross over the stile and the farm track (Gunsight Lane) and keep going along the bridleway towards East Kennett. When you get to the road that leads into the village, turn left along the quiet country lane (though do take great care), cross the bridge over the river and turn immediately right onto a footpath at the bottom of the field, keeping the river on your right. When this path reaches a byway, turn left up the hill. Be very careful once more when crossing the A4 to finish your walk back at Overton Hill car park.
About 4,500 years ago, this site was a series of timber posts arranged in concentric circles. A double stone circle was subsequently erected that was twice the diameter of the timber monument. The processional West Kennet Avenue runs from here to Avebury Henge, 1.6 miles (2.6km) to the north-west.
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