The archaeology of the Stonehenge Landscape
Please note: The Stone Circle itself is managed by English Heritage, however the visitor shuttle and visitor centre exhibition are free to National Trust members on display of membership card at the visitor centre ticket kiosk. Entrance is by timed ticket and booking may be required. The landscape surrounding the monument is owned and managed by the National Trust.
Follow in the footsteps of the people who built and used Stonehenge and visit the ancient places, prehistoric monuments and former settlements surrounding the famous stone circle. The National Trust cares for over 800 hectares of land within this World Heritage Site and visitors can wander freely across the grasslands. Step back in time and discover what lies beneath.
King Barrow Ridge
Bronze Age burial mounds stand among ancient beech trees, with views of Stonehenge and the downs. Hazel coppice and mixed woodland provide shelter for wildlife such as the Green Woodpecker. In summer, chalk downland flora and woodland edges attract butterflies such as the Marbled White, Common Blue and Ringlet.
This gigantic bank and ditch forming the Neolithic henge was built to mark the area that had only a generation before been home to the builders of Stonehenge. This huge circular earthwork is 500m across and it contained timber structures similar to nearby Woodhenge. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of houses, timber circles and a broad track flanked by banks and ditches leading to the River Avon.
When Stonehenge was being built 4500 years ago, thousands of people travelled long distances to gather here. Hundreds of arrow heads have been found here, some of which were used to shoot domestic pigs which were eaten at great midwinter feasts.
This impressive bank-and-ditch earthwork is more than 2.5km long. It may have been the ceremonial route and entrance to the stone circle - and recent excavations suggest it even predates it. Though much eroded it can still be seen on its final approach to the stone circle.
Winterbourne Stoke Barrows
A resting place for some of the most important people of the Bronze Age, this impressive barrow group contains every style of barrow to be found in Southern England.
This enormous earthwork, one of the best preserved in Britain, was built over 5000 years ago using simple antler picks to dig out the chalk and earth. The huge rectangular enclosure stretches for nearly 2 miles and pre dates Stonehenge by hundreds of years. Its ceremonial or ritual use remains a mystery, many believe it may have been used for processions.
This mysterious lone unshaped sarsen stone is known as the Cuckoo Stone and lies only a few metres from where it once stood upright. In ancient times it would have been the focus of rituals and ceremonies from the Neolithic period to Roman times. It's rare to find examples of naturally occurring sarsen stones like this one in this landscape.
Most of the stones used at Stonehenge are thought to have come from the Marlborough Downs which is twenty miles to the north.
In their simplest form round barrows are giant mounds of chalk, earth or turf which were placed over burials, and sometimes cremations, during the Bronze Age. The Stonehenge landscape contains the densest concentration of round barrows anywhere in Britain.
On your way to Stonehenge you are able to disembark from the visitor shuttle at Fargo Wood where there are ancient burial mounds and lots of wildlife to discover (less than a mile from the stone circle).