What's special about the Stonehenge Landscape?

The sunset casting long shadows across the barrows near the Cursus

Once you've headed out into the landscape and away from the sights and sounds of modern life you can't help but appreciate the feeling of space all around you. Intriguing as no other place, the Stonehenge Landscape is a palimpsest, its monuments remain deeply connected to each other and to the living landscape. Here is a place to relax, and to wander on journeys of self-discovery.

 

Nature

The area's chalk grassland is one of the most diverse habitats in Wiltshire with stunning displays of wildflowers, providing nectar sources for insects.  The ongoing grassland reversion project is bringing more and more species back to this landscape where in recent years there was just arable and pasture farmland.

The landscape is home to many animals including deer and hare, a wide variety of birds and increasing diversity in flora and insects.

Beauty

The Stonehenge Landscape is ever-changing.  In the summer the wide open grasslands teem with life, in winter it can be a challenging environment with little shelter - but offers rewarding and invigorating walks for hardy hikers.  This gently rolling, wide and open landscape is somewhere where you can embrace the feeling of being away from the business and noise of everyday life - to rest your eyes on distrant horizons and just be in the moment.  For those who love more wooded walks, then King Barrow Ridge is a must - with its rows of ancient beech trees surrounding ancient barrows, it has a unique atmosphere of its own.


History

Known for the iconic Stonehenge Monument, this landscape is one of the richest in the world for its long-used and intricate complex of ceremonial features.  Today, most of them are little more than traces in the landscape - lumps and bumps - tantalising hints of the thousands of people who worked, lived and worshipped here, and their creation of avenues, barrows and stone circles.

Because so much of the archaeology is hard to spot, or lies underground, it is not always apparent just how rich in ancient features this landscape is - here is an artists impression of the main features of the landscape. Artists impression of the Stonehenge Landscape (PDF / 3,8MB) download

Lesser known is the significance of the Stonehenge Landscapes later history.  In WWI the Stonehenge Airfield was crucial as a training ground for the worlds earliest wartime aviators.

Barrow with long grass

The archaeology of the Stonehenge Landscape

The great scale of the Stonehenge Landscape makes it difficult to grasp the enormity of the archaeology that lies within and below it. This list gives you an idea of some of the key features beneath your feet.