Stonehenge A303 Road Improvement Scheme - Frequently Asked Questions

Barrows in the early morning mist with person

Frequently asked questions about the road improvement scheme proposed for the A303 at Stonehenge.

How will this tunnel make a difference to the Stonehenge landscape?

The Stonehenge landscape is one of the most important prehistoric landscapes in Europe. There are more than 350 burial mounds and monuments telling the story of thousands of years of our past.  The wider 2,100 acres of landscape, cared for by the National Trust, is rich in natural history from brown hare to skylarks and Adonis blue butterflies. A long tunnel of at least 2.9km would improve access throughout the landscape (especially the two-thirds of the World Heritage Site south of the current A303) for local people and visitors, improve the setting of its monuments and create more space for nature to flourish.  

Are there any other options rather than building a tunnel?

Other options within the WHS, such as a surface dual carriageway, would have a major and negative impact on the Site and its monuments.  They would also do real damage to the reputation of the UK as caring for its heritage.

What is the National Trust’s preferred tunnel option?

We would like to see the longest tunnel possible but we recognise that any plans need to be both deliverable and affordable  if we’re to finally solve the long running challenge of the highly damaging A303, a major trunk road for the SW of England, that runs through the Stonehenge landscape. Results of the preliminary assessment work we undertook jointly with Historic England suggest that a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km [1.8 miles] if designed well, could bring substantial benefits to the World Heritage Site.  

Would a tunnel have an impact on the archaeology of the landscape around Stonehenge? 

There will be a need for further detailed research to assess and understand any potential impacts of any scheme proposed by Highways England. We have carried out initial work to assess the possible impact of different locations for entrances to tunnels, and any associated road within the World Heritage Site.  Early results suggest that a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km could bring significant benefits for this special place: re-uniting the archaeologically rich wider Stonehenge landscape and allowing people to explore and better understand this place that is so important for the human history of these islands.  It would also give visitors and the local community far greater access to this wonderful landscape.

There has been talk of tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge for years. What is the latest and why is it taking so long?

There has been a long running debate about what to do with the A303 in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site for decades. The last scheme to dual the road between Amesbury and Berwick Down was cancelled because of a lack of funding.  The Government has been looking at options along the A303 in the SW as a whole and has committed funds from the Road Investment Strategy to carry out assessment and design of a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km as part of the Amesbury to Berwick Down road improvement scheme.