Circular route from Durrington Walls to Stonehenge
This walk explores two major historic monuments, Durrington Walls and Stonehenge, in the heart of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.
Take in views of Stonehenge from the chalk grasslands
On this circular walk you will discover the landscape in its full glory from the Bronze Age barrows to the First World War military railway track, as well as its diverse wildlife and plants.
Woodhenge car park, grid ref: SU151434
At Woodhenge car park, walk through the gate opposite Woodhenge and go into the field. As you walk downhill you are entering Durrington Walls.
At the centre of Durrington Walls you are standing in the biggest complete henge in Britain. Next, turn left and walk up the hill, you came down to the corner of this field until you have reached a gate.
Have a look around you and appreciate the nature of this henge as an enclosed valley. If you were here more than 4,500 years ago you would have seen several shrines around the slopes, and Neolithic houses outside the henge. It is thought that Durrington Walls was built and used around the same time as Stonehenge about 4,500 years ago.
Go through the gate, cross the road through another gate. Walk past the sarsen stone to the other end of the field on your right.
The Cuckoo Stone
This mysterious lone sarsen megalith lies between Woodhenge and the Stonehenge Cursus. It's a rare example of a naturally placed sarsen stone as the stones used at Stonehenge are thought to have come from the Marlborough Downs, to the north. In ancient times it was a standing stone but today it lies on its side.
Turn right and follow the track until you meet a crossroad of footpaths. Turn left and follow the bridleway until you see a sign saying King Barrows and turn right. Follow the footpath round past the woods and you will meet a gate on your right-hand side.
The old railway track
Stonehenge Landscape has a rich military history. The Lark Hill Military Light Railway (LMLR) line, ran through the landscape from Amesbury to Larkhill and on to the Stonehenge aerodrome from 1914 until 1929. It was built as an extension to the existing Amesbury-Bulford railway in response to the increase in military activity during the First World War. The line to Stonehenge closed in 1923, with the LMLR closing completely in 1929.
Go through the gate on your right and follow the path straight down the valley and through the gate at the bottom of the hill and then continue up the hill.
King Barrow Ridge
Bronze Age burial mounds stand among ancient beech trees, with views of Stonehenge and the downs. You can see them to your left or south east of you. These are the only barrows that have not been excavated as they were covered by trees until a storm hit in 1990.
You are now walking along the avenue which is the final approach to Stonehenge.
This impressive bank and ditch earthwork is more than 1.5 miles (2.5km) long. It may have been the ceremonial route and entrance to the stone circle and recent excavations suggest it even pre-dates it. Though much eroded it can still be seen on its final approach to the stone circle.
Spend some time at Stonehenge and explore its history. A ticket can be purchased from an English Heritage member of staff. Once you are ready to move on walk across the field you were in to your left and there is a gate at the bottom left hand corner of the field.
Stonehenge was built about 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic period (New Stone Age) and is one of the most impressive stone circles of its time. Take the opportunity to go round the stone circle and learn about its purpose and how the stones were transported here. Have a look around and see the landscape of other historic monuments in the area.
Go through the farm gates (or climb the stiles) at the bottom and walk up the hill keep the fence on your left hand side until you reach the end of the field.
The Cursus is a huge, rectangular earthwork enclosure. At 1.75 miles (2.8km) long it's one of the largest of its kind. Pre-dating Stonehenge by around 500 years, its ceremonial or ritual use remains a mystery. It may have been used for processions.
Go through the gate at the end of the field and walk past the woods on your right. You have reached the same crossroads as in point 4. You can trace back your steps to Durrington Walls by following points 1 to 3 in reverse.
Woodhenge car park, grid ref: SU151434
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