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More than 2,000 people gathered in the snow of Stonehenge to celebrate the winter solstice.

Druids, lead by Arthur Pendragon (centre), take part in the winter solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire

Druids, lead by Arthur Pendragon (centre), take part in the winter solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire

Despite the actual sunrise, – which took place at 08.09am – being obscured by mist, Peter Carson of English Heritage said: “Stonehenge looked spectacular in the snow and it was a great way for people to start their festive season.”

The Pagan community came out in force to celebrate the annual festival, along with many whom were merely curious to experience the event.

As well as the traditional Druid and Pagan ceremonies, a snowball fight erupted as people enjoyed the cold weather.

“The popularity of the winter solstice has grown over the years as more is known about Stonehenge and the winter solstice and the whole celebration has grown in popularity, ” Mr Carson said.

Lance Corporal Paul Thomas, a serving soldier of 15 years who fought in Iraq, was “knighted” with a sword by a Druid calling himself King Arthur Pendragon.
The word solstice comes from the Latin phrase for “sun stands still”. During the winter solstice the sun is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year, meaning shorter days and longer nights. The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.

The Sun’s passage through the sky appears to stop, with it seeming to rise and set in the same two places for several days. Then the arc begins growing longer and higher in the sky, reaching its peak at the summer solstice.

The solstices happen twice a year because the Earth is tilted by 23.5 degrees as it orbits the sun. Since ancient times people have marked the winter and summer solstices.

The stones at Stonehenge are aligned with the sunlight on both the summer and winter solstices. These times told prehistoric farmers that harvest was coming or that the shortest day of winter had passed.

Recent excavations of animal bones at the site suggest that huge midwinter feasts were held at Stonehenge, with cattle moved there to be slaughtered for the solstice celebrations.
External links:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/uknews/8219063/Druids-gather-in-the-snow-and-ice-at-Stonehenge-for-the-winter-solstice-sunrise.html
http://visit-stonehenge.blogspot.com/2010/12/stonehenge-summer-solstice-tour-2011.html
http://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/2010/12/21/stonehenge-winter-solstice-21stdecember-2010/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8219230/Druids-and-Pagans-celebrate-winter-solstice-at-Stonehenge.html

Stonehenge Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours of Ancient Britain

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Had to share a few Wessex snowy pictures with you………

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HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in bad weather

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Few people realize that the origins of a form of Christmas was pagan & celebrated in Europe long before anyone there had heard of Jesus Christ.

Pagans at Stonehenge

Pagans at Stonehenge

 

No one knows what day Jesus Christ was born on. From the biblical description, most historians believe that his birth probably occurred in September, approximately six months after Passover

One thing they agree on is that it is very unlikely that Jesus was born in December, since the bible records shepherds tending their sheep in the fields on that night. This is quite unlikely to have happened during a cold Judean winter. So why do we celebrate Christ’s birthday as Christmas, on December the 25th?

The answer lies in the pagan origins of Christmas. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast.

In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. In January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The festival season was marked by much merrymaking. It is in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers was born. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born.

In northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun long before the participants had ever heard of Christ. The pagans of northern Europe celebrated the their own winter solstice, known as Yule. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun God, Mithras, being born, and was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year.

Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means “wheel,” the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. Hollyberries were thought to be a food of the gods.

The tree is the one symbol that unites almost all the northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were often brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder to inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again. Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility. The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshipping huge trees.

In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.Christmas (Christ-Mass) as we know it today, most historians agree, began in Germany, though Catholics and Lutherans still disagree about which church celebrated it first. The earliest record of an evergreen being decorated in a Christian celebration was in 1521 in the Alsace region of Germany. A prominent Lutheran minister of the day cried blasphemy: “Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ.”The controversy
External links:
http://ukpagan.com/
Stonehenge Stone Circle
http://www.paganfed.org/
http://www.pagan-network.org/site/

Stonehenge Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours of Stonehenge

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Good news for Stonehenge and the new visitor centre.
STONEHENGE
has been given a £10m boost, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, it has been revealed.

The grant will support work to remove the existing visitor facilities allowing the experience of the stones to be more naturally integrated with its ancient processional approach and the surrounding landscape.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

These improvements will give people the chance to explore what the site would have been like thousands of years ago.

The project aims to improve the visitor experience, including the creation of a new carefully designed visitor centre which will include education and exhibition spaces to help people learn more about Stonehenge’s history.

The project will also support training opportunities and a new volunteering programme.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Stonehenge is one of the archaeological wonders of the world. It demonstrates the vital role heritage plays within the UK’s tourism industry as well as being a great example of our fascinating history.

“This Heritage Lottery Fund investment will help transform this site and give people a much greater understanding of why it is so significant.”

This is really great news for the monument and will greatly improve the experience for the visitor

Stonehenge Tour Guide
Histouries UK – The Best Tours in Wessex

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New Stonehenge theory:
Neolithic engineers may have used ball bearings in the construction of Stonehenge, it was claimed today.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge Mystery

The same technique that allows vehicles and machinery to run smoothly today could have been used to transport the monument’s massive standing stones more than 4,000 years ago, according to a new theory.

Scientists showed how balls placed in grooved wooden tracks would have allowed the easy movement of stones weighing many tons.

No-one has yet successfully explained how the heavy slabs used to build Stonehenge were shifted from their quarries to Salisbury Plain.

Some, the bluestones, weighed four tons each and were brought a distance of 150 miles from Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Attempts to re-enact transporting the blocks on wooden rollers or floating them on the sea have not proved convincing.

The hard surfaces and trenches needed when using rollers would also have left their mark on the landscape, but are missing.

Experts hit on the new idea after examining mysterious stone balls found near Stonehenge-like monuments in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

About the size of a cricket ball, they are precisely fashioned to be within a millimetre of the same size.

This suggests they were meant to be used together in some way rather than individually.

The Scottish stone circles are similar in form to Stonehenge, but contain some much larger stones.

To test the theory, researchers from the University of Exeter constructed a model in which wooden balls were inserted into grooves dug out of timber planks.

When heavy concrete slabs were placed on a platform above the balls, held in position by more grooved tracks, they could be moved with ease.

Archaeologist Andrew Young described the experiment in which he sat on top of the slabs to provide extra weight.

He said: “The true test was when a colleague used his index finger to move me forward – a mere push and the slabs and I shot forward.

“This proved the balls could move large heavy objects and could be a viable explanation of how giant stones were moved.”

The team went on to carry out a life-size test funded by an American TV documentary maker.

To reduce costs, the scientists used relatively soft green wood rather than the hard oak that would have been plentiful in Neolithic times, when Britain was covered in forest.

This time, the researchers used hand-shaped granite spheres as well as wooden balls.

The results proved the technique would have made it possible to move very heavy weights long distances.

Professor Bruce Bradley, director of experimental archaeology at the University of Exeter, said: “The demonstration indicated that big stones could have been moved using this ball bearing system with roughly 10 oxen and may have been able to transport stones up to 10 miles per day.

“This method also has no lasting impact on the landscape, as the tracks with the ball bearings are moved along leap-frogging each other as the tracks get moved up the line.”

Neolithic people were known to cut long timber planks, which they used as walkways across bogs, Prof Bradley pointed out.

Although the tests do not prove for certain that the ball bearing method was used, they show “the concept works”, he said.

He added: “This is a radical new departure, because previous ideas were not particularly effective in transporting large stones and left unanswered questions about the archaeological record they would have left behind.”

The next stage in the project is to provide mathematical evidence of how much force would be needed to keep a stone moving.

Ultimately, the scientists hope to conduct a full-scale experiment in Aberdeenshire using more authentic materials, stone balls and a team of oxen.

Stonehenge Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in Wiltshire

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Rich in History is something Wiltshire is famous for, particularly Salisbury Plain, the large area of chalk downland within Wiltshire.

Salisbury Plain is steeped in history, both ancient and modern and can justifiably claim to be the cradle of English civilisation. In prehistory, tribes from Europe migrated north and settled on Salisbury Plain.

Wessex Map

Wessex Map

Remains of defence earthworks, burial and ceremonial grounds are scattered throughout Wiltshire. Many of these sites have public access. The most world renown is Stonehenge, a World Heritage Site, north of Salisbury and close to Amesbury. Also a World Heritage Site are the Avebury stone circles (both an outer and a smaller inner circle), not so famous as Stonehenge but equally impressive. Avebury is a few miles west of Marlborough in the north of Wiltshire.

From Overton Hill, near Avebury, the famous Ridgeway begins. This is thought to be Britain’s oldest road, used by prehistoric man, herdsmen and soldiers, and follows the northern escarpment of Salisbury Plain north-eastwards through the ancient landscapes of Wiltshire into the Chiltern Hills of Berkshire. The Ridgeway is 85miles (139km) in length, accessible to the public, and has National Trail status.

As well as the more ‘modern’ Roman Roads that criss-cross the Wiltshire countryside, Roman and Norman settlements continue very much in evidence, often developed on earlier Iron Age hill fort sites such as Old Sarum. This location was the original Salisbury site, a hill fort occupied by the Romans then latterly by Normans following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The exposed nature of the Old Sarum site and disagreements between the clergy and the military led to the building of the new Salisbury cathedral in 1220 A.D. to the south. The townspeople soon followed and medieval Salisbury grew to the city it is today. Old Sarum, rich in history, with its ruined fortifications is open to the public throughout the year.

The Middle Ages were a time of great prosperity for Wiltshire with sheep grazing the chalk downlands and the handwoven woollen cloth in great demand. Many famous buildings, villages and even towns were built from the proceeds. The Industrial Revolution changed everything as mechanical production took over and the weaving industry moved north into the West Riding of Yorkshire.

In more recent times much of Wiltshires rich prosperity has come from the many military establishments scattered over the Plain. Wiltshire airfields and army garrisons have trained and deployed troops and aircraft across the world on both fighting and peace-keeping operations and played pivotal roles in the great military campaigns of both World War I and II.

Each week I will be blogging on a specific area of Wilsthire and talking about its rich history.

Stonehenge Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in Wessex

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Your Journey begins here…

If you are visiting Wiltshire as an independant tourist, you will find a

Wiltshire Tourist Brochure Download
Wiltshire Tourist Brochure Click to Download

great selection of tourist information links from various online sources I have put together for you.
Wiltshire, England – a county of contrasts and diversity. Steeped in history, yet alive to the present – Wiltshire repays the time you spend here with interest.

Explore lively market towns, rolling open scenery, stately homes and magnificent gardens plus experiencing the bustling city culture of Swindon and Salisbury.

VisitWiltshire offers a great range of quality assured accommodation with splendid Wiltshire hotels, friendly B&Bs, self-catering cottages, camping and caravan sites.

There are attractions galore – including iconic Stonehenge, and Avebury. Famous sites such Salisbury Cathedral, Longleat,Wiltshire’s White Horses, Stourhead, and the Kennet & Avon Canal combine with lesser known gems such as Lacock and STEAM.

Here you’ll find interestingly different local shops, quaint tea rooms, gastro pubs, restaurants and events throughout the year.

Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, in front of a roaring fire, walking or cycling, Wiltshire is waiting to welcome you, . . again, and again.

A Taste of Wiltshire

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Britain’s finest 13th century cathedral with the tallest spire in Britain. Discover nearly 800 years of history, including the world’s…

Avebury Stone Circle

Avebury Stone Circle

Originally erected 4,500 years ago, Avebury is the largest stone circle in the world. many of the stones were re-erected…

Around Wiltshire

Wiltshire is a beautiful county of great diversity. With a population of nearly 430,000 and with much of the county designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wiltshire is the perfect destination for a relaxing break at any time of the year. Visit the World Heritage Sites of Stonehenge and Avebury, admire the beauty of our gardens and country houses; walk the White Horse Trail to see our eight white horses carved into the hillsides; meander along the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal or take a leisurely wander through our market towns and pick up the real flavour of country life.

To help you plan your break to this special part of England, find out more about the towns and villages of Wiltshire, the bustling town of Swindon and the cathedral city of Salisbury.

When you’ve decided where you want to go, you can plan your journey using our Travel page and if you need more information you will find a list of Tourist Information Centres with contact details.

Places to Visit in Wiltshire,

A relatively sparsely populated county with grassy uplands and vast rolling plains, sleepy picture box villages like Castle Combe near Chippenham which has one several awards for being the prettiest village in England and Bradford-on Avon in the west close to Bath.

Wiltshire is the gateway to the West Country but also meets Cotswold country in the northern part of the county. It is also surrounded by the extremely picturesque counties of Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Much of the county is agricultural and a very large part is devoted to pasture land.

Salisbury, the county town, is particularly beautiful and dominated by its Cathedral and spire. This is the tallest in England and rises majestically over the plain.

Wiltshire is also the home of some historic attractions – Splendid Longleat in Warminster, Bowood, the magnificent family home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, Corsham Court, Wilton House, Stourhead and there can be no monument in Britain more steeped in legend and mystery than Stonehenge.

External Links
The official tourism website for Wiltshire
http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk

Wiltshire Tourist Guide
http://www.wiltshiretouristguide.com/

Enjoy Wiltshire!

Stonehenge Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours of Wiltshire

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Sir Christopher Wren, the famous 17th century architect, left his mark on Stonehenge – but in a quite unexpected way. His name is skillfully chiselled into one of the 40-tonne sarsens that watches over the dig.

Christopher Wren Grafitti - Stonehenge

Christopher Wren Grafitti - Stonehenge

Was Christopher Wren a Mason ?

“Records of the Lodge Original, No. 1, now the Lodge of Antiquity No. 2”
mention him as being Master of the lodge.

Christopher WrenOne of the most distinguished architects of England was the son of Dr. Christopher Wren, Rector of East Knoyle in Wiltshire, and was born there October 20, 1632. He was entered as a Gentleman Commoner at Wadham College, Oxford, in his fourteenth year, being already distinguished for his mathematical knowledge. He has said to have invented, before this period, several astronomical and mathematical instruments. In 1645, he became a member of a scientific club connected with Gresham College, from which the Royal Society subsequently arose. In 1653, he was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, and had already become known to the learned men of Europe for his various inventions.

Christoher Wren

Christoher Wren

In 1657, he removed permanently to London, having been elected Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College. During the political disturbances which led to the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the Commonwealth, Wren, devoted to the pursuits of philosophy, appears to have kept away from the contests of party. Soon after the restoration of Charles II, he was appointed Savillian Professor at Oxford, one of the highest distinctions which could then have been conferred on a scientific man. During this time he was distinguished for his numerous contributions to astronomy and mathematics, and invented many curious machines, and discovered many methods for facilitating the calculations of the celestial bodies. Wren was not professionally educated as an architect, but from his early youth had devoted much time to its theoretic study. In 1665 he went to Paris for the purpose of studying the public buildings in that city. and the various styles which they presented.

He was induced to make this visit, and to enter into these investigations, because, in 1660, he had been appointed by King Charles II one of a Commission to superintend the restoration of the Cathedral of Saint Paul’s, which had been much dilapidated during the times of the Commonwealth. But before the designs could be carried into execution, the great fire occurred which laid so great a part of London, including Saint Paul’s, in ashes.

Wren was appointed assistant in 1661 to Sir John Denham, the Surveyor-General, and directed his attention to the restoration of the burnt portion of the city. His plans were, unfortunately for the good of London, not adopted, and he confined his attention to the rebuilding of particular edifices. In 1667, he was appointed the successor of Denham as Surveyor General and Chief Architect.

In this capacity he erected a large number of churches, the Royal Exchange, Greenwich Observatory, and many other public edifices. But his crowning work, the masterpiece that has given him his largest reputation, is the Cathedral of Saint Paul’s, which was commenced in 1675 and finished in 1710. The original plan that was proposed by Wren was rejected through the ignorance of the authorities, and differed greatly from the one on which it has been constructed. Wren, however, superintended the erection as master of the work, and his tomb in the crypt of the Cathedral was appropriately inscribed with the words Si monumentum requiris, circumspice; that is, If you seek his monument, look around.

Wren was made a Knight in 1672, and in 1674 he married a daughter of Sir John Coghill. To a son by this marriage are we indebted for memoirs of the family of his father, published under the title of Parentalia.

After the death of his wife, he married a daughter off Viscount Fitzwilliam. In 1680, Wren was elected President of the Royal Society, and continued to a late period his labors on public edifices, building, among others, additions to Hampton Court and to Windsor Castle. After the death of Queen Anne, who was the last of his royal patrons, Wren was removed from his office of Surveyor-General, which he had held for a period of very nearly half a century. He passed the few remaining years of his life in serene retirement. He was found dead in his chair after dinner, on February 25, 1723, in the ninety-first year of his age.

Notwithstanding that much that has been said by Doctor Anderson and other writers of the eighteenth century, concerning Wren’s connection with Freemasonry, is without historical confirmation, there can, Doctor Mackey believed, be no doubt that he tools a deep interest in the Speculative as well as in the Operative Order.

The Rev. J. W. Laughlin, in a lecture on the life of Wren, delivered in 1857, before the inhabitants of Saint Andrew’s, Holborn, and briefly reported in the Freemasons Magazine, said that “Wren was for eighteen years a member of the old Lodge of Saint Paul’s, then held at the Goose and Gridiron, near the Cathedral, now the Lodge of Antiquity; and the records of that Lodge show that the maul and trowel used at the laying of the stone of Saint Paul’s, together with a pair of carved mahogany candlesticks, were presented by Wren, and are now in possession of that Lodge.” By the order of the Duke of Sussex, a plate was placed on the mallet or maul, which contained a statement of the fact.

C. W. King, who was not a Freemason, but has derived his statement from a source to which he does not refer (but which was perhaps Nicolai) makes, in his work on the Gnostics (page 176) the following statement, which is here quoted merely to show that the traditionary belief of Wren’s connection with Speculative Freemasonry is not confined to the Craft. He says:

Another and a very important circumstance in this discussion must always be kept in view: our Freemasons (as at present organized in the form of a secret Society) derive their title from a mere accidental circumstances connected with their actual establishment. It was in the Common Hall of the London Gild of Freemasons (the trade) that their first meetings were held under Christopher Wren, president, in the time of the Commonwealth.

Their real object was political-the restoration of monarchy; hence the necessary exclusion of the public and the oaths of secrecy enjoined on the members. The presence of promoting architectures and the choice of the place where to hold their, meetings, suggested by the profession of their president, were no more than blinds to deceive the existing government.

Doctor Anderson, in the first edition of the Constitutions, makes but a slight reference to Wren, only calling him “the ingenious architect, Sir Christopher Wren.” Doctor Mackey was almost afraid that this passing notice of him who has been called “the Vitruvius of England” must be` attributed to servility. George I was the stupid monarch who removed Wren from his office of Surveyor-General, and it would not do to be too diffuse with praise of one who had been marked by the disfavor of the king. But in 1727 George I died, and in his second edition, published in 1738, Doctor Anderson gives to Wren all the Masonic honors to which he claims that he was entitled.

It is from what Anderson has said in that work, that the Masonic writers of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth, not requiring the records of authentic history, have drawn their views of the official relations of Siren to the Order. He first introduces Wren (page 101) as one of the Grand Wardens at the General Assembly held December 27, 1663, when the Earl of Saint Albans was Grand Master, and Sir John Denham, Deputy Grand Master. He says that in 1666 Wren was again a Grand Warden, under the Grand Mastership of the Earl of Rivers; but immediately afterward he calls him Deputy Wren, and continues to give him the title of Deputy Grand Master until 1685, when he says (page 106) that “the Lodges met, and elected Sir Christopher Wren Grand Master, who appointed Mr. Gabriel Cibber and Mr. Edmund Savage Grand Wardens; and while carrying on Saint Paul’s he annually met those Brethren who could attend him, to keep up good old usages.”

Brother Anderson (on page 107) makes the Duke of Richmond and Lennox Grand Master, and reduces Wren to the rank of a Deputy; but he says that in 1698 he was again chosen Grand Master, and as such “celebrated the Cape-stone” of Saint Paul’s in 1708. “Some few years after this,” he says, “Sir Christopher Wren neglected the office of Grand Master.” Finally he says (on page 109) that in 1716 “the Lodges in London finding themselves neglected by Sir Christopher Wren,” Freemasonry was revived under a new Grand Master. Some excuse for the aged architect’s neglect might have been found in the fact that he was then eighty-five years of age, and had been long removed from his public office of Surveyor-General. Brother Noorthouek is more considerate. Speaking of the placing of the last stone on the top of Saint Paul’s-which, notwithstanding the statement of Doctor Anderson, was done, not by Wren, but by his son-he says (Constitutions, page 204): The age and infirmities of the Grand Master, which prevented his attendance on this solemn occasion, confined him afterwards to great retirement; so that the Lodges suffered from many of his usual presence in visiting and regulating their meetings, and were reduced to a small number.

Brother Noorthouck, however, repeats substantially the statements of Doctor Anderson in reference to Wren’s Grand Mastership. How much of these statements can be authenticated by history is a question that must be decided only by more extensive investigations of documents not yet in possession of the Craft. Findel says in his History (page 127) that Doctor Anderson, having been commissioned in 1735 by the Grand Lodge to make a list of the ancient Patrons of the Freemasons, so as to afford something like a historical basis, “transformed the former Patrons into Grand Mastefs, and the Masters and Superintendents into Grand Wardens and the like, which were unknown until the year 1717.” Of this there can be no doubt; but there is other evidence that Wren was a Freemason. In Aubrey’s Natural History of Wiltshire (page 277) a manuscript in the library of the Royal Society, Halliwell finds and cites, in his Early History of Freemasonry in England (page 46) the following passage: This day, May the 15th, being Monday, 1691, after Rogation Sunday, is a great convention at Saint Paul’s Church of the Fraternity of the Accepted (the word Free was first written, then the pen drawn through it and the word Accepted written over it) Seasons, where Sir Christopher Wren is to be adopted a brothers and Sir Henry Goodrie of the Tower, and divers others. There have been Kings that have been of this sodality.

If this statement be true-and we have no reason to doubt it, from Aubrey’s general antiquarian accuracy-Doctor Anderson is incorrect in making him a Grand Master in 1685, six years before he was initiated as a Freemason. The true version of the story probably is this: Wren was a great architect-the greatest at the time in England. As such he received the appointment of Deputy Surveyor-General under Denham, and subsequently, on Ocnham’s death, of Surveyor-General. He thus became invested, by virtue of his office, with the duty of superintending the construction of public buildings.

The most important of these was Saint Paul’s Cathedral, the building of which he directed in person, and with so much energy that the parsimonious Duchess of Marlborough, when contrasting the charges of her own architect with the scant remuneration of Wren, observed that “he was content to be dragged up in a basket three or four times a week to the top of Saint Paul’s, and at great hazard, for £200 a year.”

All this brought him into close connection with the Gild of Freemasons, of which he naturally became the patron, and subsequently he was by initiation adopted into the modality Wren was, in fact, what the Medieval Masons called Magister Operis, or Master of the Work. Doctor James Anderson, writing for a purpose naturally transformed this title into that of Grand Master-an office supposed to be unknown until the year 1717. Aubrey’s authority, in Doctor Maelsey’s opinion, sufficiently establishes the fact that Wren has a Freemason, and the events of his life prove his attachment to the profession.

Whether Sir Christopher Wren was or not a member of the Fraternity has long been debated with lively interest. The foregoing statement by Doctor Mackey gives the principal facts and we may note that two newspapers announced his funeral, Lost boy (No. 5245, March 2-5, 1793) and the British Journal (No. 25, March 9, 1723).

Both of them allude to Wren as “that worthy Freemason.” Brother Christopher Wren, Jr., the son of Sir Christopher Wren, was Master of the famous Lodge of Antiquity in 1729. The subject is discussed in Doctor Mackey’s revised History of Freemason also by Sir John S. Cockburn, Masonic Record, March, 1923, in Square and Compass, September, 1923, and many other journals, as well as in Records of Antiquity Lodge, volume i, by Brother W. H. Rylands, and volume ii, by Captain C. W. Firebrace, there is much additional and valuable firsthand information favoring Wren’s active connection with the Fraternity, some items personally checked by us at the Lodge itself.

Brother K. R. H. Mackenzie in the Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia says,

There can be little doubt that Wren took a deep interest in speculative as well as operative Masonry (see Book of Constitutions) and that he was an eminent Member of the Craft cannot be doubted, but the dates respecting Wren’s initiation are vague and unsatisfactory, none of the authorities agreeing. It would seem certain, however, that for many years he was a member of the old Lodge of Saint Paul’s, meeting at the (Bose and gridiron, in Saint Paul’s Churchyard.

Brother Robert F. Gould (History of Freemasonry, me ii, page 55) says, The popular belief that Wren was a Freemason, though hitherto unchallenged, and supported by a great weight of authority, is, in my judgment, unsustained by any basis of well-attested fact. The admission of the great architect-at any period of his life-into the Masonic fraternity, seems to me a mere figment of the imagination, but it may at least he confidently asserted, that it cannot be proved to be a reality.

Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, Renning’s Cyclopedia of Freemasonry, says, In Freemasonry it has been general for many years to credit Sir Christopher Wren with every thing great and good before the ” Revival,” but on very slender evidence. He is said to have been a member of the Lodge of Antiquity for many years; “and the maul and trowel used at the laving of the stone of Saint Paul’s, with a pair of carved mahogany candlesticks, were presented ” by hind and are in the possession of the Lodge.

Doctor Anderson chronicles him as Grand Master in 16S5; but according to a manuscript of Aubrey’s in the Royal Society, he was not admitted a Brother Freemason until 1691. Unfortunately, the early records of the celebrated Lodge of-Antiquity have been lost or destroyed, so there is literally nothing certain as to Wren’s Masonic career, what little has been circulated is contradictory. It is, of course, more than likely he took an active part in Freemasonry, though he was not a member of the Masons Company; but as the records are wanting, it is idle to speculate, and absurd to credit to his labors on behalf of our Society what there is not a title of evidence to prove.

Brother Hawkins, an editor of this work, also prepared for the Concise Cyclopedia of freemasonry, the following summary of the arguments on both sides of the question at issue: Those who contend that he was not a Freemason reply as follows:

1. No reference to the convention mentioned by Aubrey has yet been discovered elsewhere, and it remains uncertain whether it ever was held and whether the proposed adoption of the illustrious architect took place or not; also it is inconsistent with the dates given in the 1738 Constitutions.

2. In the Constitutions of 1723, he is only described as lithe ingenious architect,” without any hint of his being a Freemason.

3. It is incredible that Doctor Anderson, when compiling the 1723 Constitutions, should have been ignorant of the details of Wren’s Masonic career which he gave so from in 1735; moreover, he has claimed as Grand Masters are most all distinguished men from Adam downwards, though there was no such office as Grand Master until 1117, and his dates are inconsistent with that given by Aubrey.

4. Subsequent writers all quoted from the 1738 Constitutions and therefore their evidence is worth no more than Doctor Anderson’s, and no such records as Preston refers to can now be found, nor can the legendary history of the candlesticks and the mallet be authenticated. Such are the arguments for and against Wren’s connection with the Craft; those who claim him as a Freemason must reconcile as best they can the conflicting dates given by Aubrey and Anderson: and those who regard his membership as equally a fable with his Grand Mastership must somehow explain away the contemporary evidence of the two newspapers that in the year of his death called him ‘ ‘ that worthy Freemason.”

– Source: Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freema
sonry

External links:
http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/christopher_wren_freemasonry.html

http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/609

http://www.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk

http://www.StonehengeTours.com
The only way to get close up to the stones and see 5000 years of grafitti carved onto them is by joing in private access tout.  This is where you visit Stonehenge when the site is closed to the public, usually at sunrise or sunset. 

If you look very  closely at the heel (south west view)stonesits even possible  to se a funny carved handshake?

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On October 31st, we celebrate Halloween,thought to be the one night of the year when ghosts, witches, and fairies are especially active.

Most people think of Halloween today as simply a day when children dress up in costumes and go from home to home to “trick or treat” and collect enough candy to make any parent cringe. Halloween was much more significant in ancient times, however. October 31st was a very important day to the ancient Celts of Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain. No kidding around in costumes and trick or treat bags; Halloween was much more serious to the non-Christian Cults a thousand years ago.

Halloween remains a popular day in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Ireland, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Children get to dress up in their favorite costumes and ring doorbells throughout their neighborhood to collect as much candy as possible. In the United States’ Halloween is the second most popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating and reaps a huge financial bounty of retail selling of frightening costumes to children and adults alike, decorations and candy. But for eons, the history of Halloween encompased ancient beliefs about the world – both living and dead.

Understanding the history of Halloween can perhaps help you decide what to let your children take part in, and what to keep your children away from. Also, knowing the origin of Halloween and its history can also help Christians view the adult, youth, and child activities associated with Halloween celebrations in the light of Christ’s truth.

What Is The History of Halloween?
Halloween originated among the Irish Celts, Scots and Anglo-Saxons in Britain long before the Christian era. Originally called Samhain, it was a time when they believed the division between the worlds of the living and the dead became very thin and when ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished. The name “Halloween” is a shorter form for the Gaelic name All-hallow-evening. Pope Boniface IV instituted All Saints’ Day in the 7th century as a time to honor saints and martyrs, replacing the pagan festival of the dead. In 834, Gregory III moved All Saint’s Day to Nov. 1, thus making Oct. 31 All Hallows’ Eve (‘hallow’ means ‘saint’).

On the night of Samhain, it was believed spirits of the restless dead and mischievous spirits would freely roam about with humans and during this one night spirits were able to make contact with the physical world as their magic was at its height. The Celts believed that by allowing the dead to have access to the world on this one evening, they would be satisfied to return to the land of the dead. The Celtic people would put out food offerings to appease the spirits who might inflict suffering and violence on them and Celtic priests would offer sacrifices, animal and human, to the gods for the purpose of chasing away the evil, frightening spirits. They built fires where they gave sacrifices to the Celtic deities to ensure protection from the dead spirits. Samhain was also a time when it was customary for the pagans to use the occult practice of divination to determine the weather for the coming year, the crop expectations, and even who in the community would marry whom and in what order.

When Rome took over their land, the Samhain was integrated with two other Roman festivals: Feralia and a festival to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. By the time Christianity come on the scene, Halloween had already taken root from the pagan beliefs and was integrated into Christian practices. As the Europeans found their way to the New World, they brought with them their traditions which soon evolved to fit their new country.

Many customs still observed today come from these ancient beliefs. For example, the elaborately carved jack-o-lantern is said to have been named after the Irish story of a greedy, hard-drinking gambling man, Stingy Jack, who tricked the Devil into climbing a tree and trapped him there by carving a crude cross into the trunk of the tree. In revenge for being stuck in the tree, the Devil cursed Jack and made him walk the earth at night for eternity. The jack-o-lantern of today is carved with a scary face to keep Jack and other spirits from entering their homes.

A problem for the Celtic people was… if the souls of dead loved ones could return that night, so could anything else, human or not, nice or not-so-nice. So, to protect themselves on such an occasion, these superstitious people would masquerade as one of the demonic hoard, wearing masks and other disguises and blackening the face with soot to hopefully blend in unnoticed among them. This is the source of modern day Halloween costumes portraying devils, imps, ogres, and other demonic creatures.

 Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
For Christians, the origins, history, and current practices of Halloween has its root in Satan, the author of deception.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. [John 8:44]

While some might say that Halloween is now only a fun children’s holiday, it should be noted how much the modern day American practices and modern day witchcraft have in common with the ancient beliefs of the Celtic people. Contrary to some beliefs, the historic Samhain was not a time for witches and the worship Satan. Samhain was the end of the crop season and the official beginning of autumn. The ancient Celts celebrated a successful crop season on Samhain, giving thanks for the bounty of the harvested crops. The satanic celebrations now observed on Halloween is a more recent invention of more contemporary Satanists who have focused more on this season as a time when the dead can easily communicate with the living therefore making divinations and sacrifices more attainable. Modern day Halloween has thus become a mixture of ancient beliefs, occult practices and a highly commercialized children’s holiday.

While some people consider celebrating Halloween to be a sin, others simply feel that Halloween quite simply shouldn’t be a holiday at all! A few Southern states have been known to ban trick-or-treating on Halloween, especially when it happens to fall on a Sunday. Halloween parties are renamed “fall festivals” and children replaced scary costumes with costumes of Bible figures, historical figures, or no costume at all.

Considering that Satan is the father of lies, it can be understood how many are confused and deceived about this holiday. Like Christmas and Easter, both Christian celebrations, the true origins of Halloween, a non-Christian celebration, are eons old and some of the true meanings of the traditions of these celebrations have been distorted over time. In recent times, Christmas appears to be more about presents, parades and feasts than about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Traditions surrounding Halloween have followed the same fate. All too often we think of Halloween merely as a time of dressing up in costumes in going trick or treating around the neighborhood. In antiquity, the traditions of Halloween were of enormous significance throughout Scotland, Ireland and Britain.

Have a spooky one!  I will be at Avebury Stone Circle for the Samhain gathering.

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When one thinks of Wiltshire the images which spring most readily to mind are the spacious rolling downland of Salisbury Plain and associations with pre-history which are at their most stunning at Avebury and Stonehenge. Whilst Wiltshire is more complex than this a journey northwards to the Marlborough Downs will reinforce this picture of sweeping chalk downland and ancient times. Here, there is also the handiwork of more recent history, in the famous Wiltshire White Horses. There are now eight of them and they have their own newly opened long distance path, ‘The White Horse Trail’.

The Vale of Pewsey and Savenake Forest, part of the Kennet District, offer a complimentary landscape which also has many enjoyable walking opportunities; and the Kennet and Avon canal, joining the two rivers, provides delightful waterside rambling through peaceful rural countryside.

South of Salisbury Plain the Wylye and Nadder river valleys offer lovely walks, once again through a quiet rural landscape a million miles away from the hustle of industrial Swindon in the north of the county.

Guide Books:

  Guide Books: [For further information]
100 Walks in Wiltshire by: Various contributors. An omnibus of local walks covering the whole of Wiltshire. The book is ideal for family outings and as a valuable reference book for residents and visitors to the region. There is a wide choice of routes with perhaps two thirds spread over the northern part of the county. Salisbury Plain is not well represented, but this is largely due to Ministry of Defense activities, which do not co-exist well with peaceful country walking. However all the best parts of Wiltshire are covered. The walks vary in length from 2 to 12 miles, the majority being in the 4/6 mile range. Sketch maps and route descriptions are on facing pages.
Walks in Mysterious Wiltshire by: Laurence Main. Discover Wiltshire’s secret places. Wiltshire has long been associated with both historic and prehistoric sites, most notably Avebury and Stonehenge. See and experience these for yourself and contemplate their significance as temples, secular monuments or ancient observatories. Many more mysteries await walkers in this historic area; white horses carved on Wiltshire’s hillsides, sites of ancient battles, neolithic burial sites and a network of ley lines, those ancient trackways often associated with spirit pathways. There are stories of Wiltshire’s witches, folklore traditions, Arthurian legends and even UFO’s! These are just some of the prospects offered in 27 well planned routes of interest to all the family.
Waterside walks in Wiltshire by: Nick Channer. The 20 circular routes in this book are all between 2 and 9 miles in length. Each walk instruction also includes details on how to get to the start by car, where to park, and what food and drink are available locally. For greater clarity, the route descriptions are divided into numbered paragraphs, which correspond with the numbers on the accompanying sketch maps. There are also seperate sections about places of interest to visit nearby. From walks near Heytesbury, once the home of war poet Siegfried Sassoon, the Vale of Pewsey and the National Trust village of Laycock to Salisbury’s watermeadows and Devizes’ flight of 29 canal locks, this book provides the walker with many interesting and exhilarating hours in the open air.
50 Walks in Wiltshire by: David Hancock. 50 themed walks of between 2 and 10 miles, each with fascinating background reading, clear, easy-to-follow route descriptions and detailed sketch maps. Locations include: Chute Standen; Great Bedwyn; Savernake’s Royal Forest; Wootton Rivers; Ramsbury; Clarendon; Amesbury; Avon Valley from Downton; Pepperbox Hill; Vale of Pewsey and Oare Hill; Salisbury; Lydiard Park; Great Wishford; Till and Wylye Valleys; Fyfield Down; Old Sarum; Avebury; Barbury Castle; Cricklade; Dinton and the Nadder Valley; Ansty; Wardour Castle; Ebble Valley; Bowood Park; Bremhill; Heytesbury; Devizes; East Knoyle; Fonthill; Tollard Royal; Roundway Hill; Holt; Castle Combe; Lacock; Bowden Park; Malmsbury; Sherston; Box Hill; Stourhead; White Sheet Hill; Westbury White Horse; Corsham; Longleat Estate; Bradford-on-Avon; Frome Valley; Bath.
Ten Walks in West Wiltshire by: RA West Wilts Group. All are circular and they vary in length from 4 to 11 miles. Locations are as follows: Bradford on Avon – Little Ashley (6km); South Wraxall – Stonar School – Little Chalfield (8km); Warminster – Arn Hill – Upton Scudamore (9km); Holt – Staverton – Whaddon – Broughton Gifford – Great Chalford (10km); Brown’s Folly – Farleigh Wick – Monkton Farleigh (10km); Westbury – Upton Scudamore – Old Dilton (11km); Steeple Ashton – West Ashton – Yarnbrook (13km); Bradford on Avon – Westwood – Freshford – Farleigh Hungerford – Avoncliff (13km); Bratton – Bratton Castle – Edington (14km); Nockatt Coppice – Bidcombe Wood – Cold Kitchen Hill – Brimsdown Hill ( 18km).
Walking in West Wiltshire Book 2 by: RA West Wilts Group. The ten walks in this booklet have been devised and written by ten members of the group. Accordingly the descriptive narratives show a variety of different styles. For ease of use a detailed sketch map is shown opposite each walk description with the route clearly highlighted. Paragraph numbers in the description are shown on the maps at relevant points. This guide allows you to share in the discoveries of experienced ramblers with good local knowledge. The walk starting locations are as follows: North Bradley (8.5km); Semington (8km); Trowbridge (9km); Bradford on Avon (9km); Steeple Ashton (6.5km); Thoulstone (9km); Kingston Deverill (11.5km); Shearwater (10km); Melksham (10.5km); Heytesbury (7km).
Walking in West Wiltshire Book 3 by: RA West Wilts Group. In this book members of the RA West Wilts Group have devised a further ten interesting and enjoyable walks using their local knowledge and experience. For ease of use a detailed sketch map is shown opposite each walk description. Also highlighted are paths providing links with adjacent walks described in the book. The walk starting locations are: Edington (8.5km); Heytesbury (11km); Melksham (10.5km); Horningsham (10.5km); Bradford on Avon (11.5km); Codford (15km); Warminster (12km); Westbury (8km); Broughton Gifford (9.5km); Sutton Veny (15.5km).
Somerset, Wiltshire and the Mendips Walks by: Brian Conduit. 28 routes colour coded for difficulty, varying from extended strolls to exhilarating hikes.The guide introduces you to the area and highlights the most scenic walks. OS Explorer mapping is included. Locations include: Nunney Combe; Nettlebridge and Harridge Wood; Devizes and Caen Hill Locks; Ilminster and Herne Hill; Langport and Muchelney Abbey; Salisbury and Old Sarum; Lacock and Bowden Park; Fovant Down; Old and New Wardour Castles; Avebury; West Kennett and Silbury Hill; Glastonbury; Lambourne Downs; Uffington Monuments and Vale of the White Horse; Ham Hill, Montacute and Norton Sub Hamdon; Cadbury Castle and the Corton Ridge; Hinton Charterhouse and Wellow; Bradford-on-Avon, Pewsey Downs; Stonehenge; Barbury Castle and Ogbourne St Andrew; Wells, Ebbor Gorge and Wookey Hole; Savernake Forest.
Literary Strolls in Wiltshire ans Somerset by: Gordon Ottewell. 40 attractive strolls throughout Wiltshire and Somerset, each with a strong literary association. In Wiltshire, you follow in the footsteps of such remarkable people as multi-talented William Morris, architectural commentator Nikolaus Pevsner, war poet Siegfried Sassoon and Celia Fiennes, the pioneer travel writer. The walk locations include: Swindon and South Cotswold Area – Inglesham; Marston Meysey; Oaksey; Broad Town; Hodson; Barbury Castle; Bishopstone. Chippenham and Devizes Area – Kington St Michael; Kington Langley; Bremhill; Bromham; Broughton Gifford; Poulshot; Bishops Cannings. Salisbury and Warminster Area – Heytesbury; Steeple Langford; Hindon; Tisbury; Mere; Newton Tony; Pitton.
Ten Walks Around Devizes by: Graham Hillier and Ron Wiltshire. 10 circular walks created with the intention of starting and finishing at the focal point of Devizes Town – The Market Place. There is much of interest to see on these walks including a visit to the site of the Civil War battle of Roundway Down; a stroll along Quakers Walk, once an elm lined avenue from Roundway Park to Devizes; the remains of Devizes Castle and a medieval deer park enclosure; several stretches along the Devizes canal and the sites of several macabre events desribed in the text. Other locations visited on the walks are Gypsy Patch, Roundway Hill, Hartmoor, Potterne Village, Potterne Woods, Drew’s Pond, Hillworth Park, Sleight and Stert, Consciences Lane, Rowde, Lower Foxhanger’s, and Rangebourne Mill.
11 Half Day Walks in North East Wiltshire by: North East Wiltshire Group – Ramblers’ Association. All the walks are around five miles in length so that only a morning or afternoon is needed to complete them. The walks are well described and sketch maps are included. The walks have been chosen to show the variety of countryside in the area. The walk locations are: Avebury and the Sanctuary; Berwick Bassett Common and Windmill Hill; Love’s Copse and Love’s Lane; Poulton Downs and the Railway Path; Wexcombe and Grafton Downs; Castle Hill and Stanton Fitzwarren; Hare, Aughton and Inham Downs; Hippenscombe Bottom; The Kennet Valley; The Ridgeway and Hinton Downs; Rivers Key, Ray and Thames.
20 Walks Around Swindon by: North East Wilts Group – Ramblers’ Association. This booklet describes 20 circular routes from 2 to 7 miles. Locations are: Cotswold Water Park; Highworth, Red Down and Hannington; Cricklade and Cotswold Water Park; Blunsdon, Stanton Fitzwarren and Kingsdown; Lechlade, Buscot and Kelmscot; Bishopstone, The Ridgeway and Ashbury; Liddington Hill and Downs; Chiseldon and The Ridgeway; Upper Upham; Chilton Foliat and Hungerford; Downs and Og Valley; Barbury Castle, Smeathes Ridge and Burderop Down; Manton and Fyfield Downs; Wootton Bassett, Little Park Farm and Wilts and Berks Canal; Clouts Wood and Elcombe; Peatmoor, Shaw and River Ray Parkway; Lydiard Park and Purton; Coate, Day House Lane and Greenhill; Coate Water and Broome Manor; Old Town Railway and West Leaze.
12 Walks Around Marlborough by: Bert Toomer. The walks in this booklet were devised to take you to the best vantage points in the area and to bring you back to your starting point. Locations are: Circular from Ramsbury; Aldbourne, Ewin’s Hill and Ramsbury; Baydon, Hodd’s Hill and Membury; Great Bedwyn, Wilton and Kennet and Avon Canal; East Croft Coppice; Ramsbury and Littlecote; Piggledene, Stony Valley and Devil’s Den; Marlborough and Mildenhall; Martinsell Hill, Draycot and Gopher Wood; Martinsell Hill, Kennet and Avon Canal and Wootton Rivers; West Woods, Gopher Wood, Knap Hill and Wansdyke; Milk Hill, Wansdyke, Tan Hill and Kennet and Avon Canal; Milk Hill, Wansdyke, Stanton St Bernard and Kennet and Avon Canal.
Nine Downland Walks by: BertToomer. The collection of walks in this booklet will help you make the most of the fine countryside that lies between Swindon and Marlborough. Clear route instructions and sketch maps are provided. The walk locations are: Barbury Castle, The Ridgeway and Burderop Down; Upper Upham and Snap; Smeathe’s Ridge, the Ogbournes and Four Mile Clump; Chiseldon and Hodson; Rockley, Totterdown and Fyfield Down; Ridgeway Path, Shipley Bottom and Sugar Hill; Burderop Down and Smeathe’s Ridge; Hackpen Hill, Rockley, Totterdown and the Ridgeway; Ogbourne St. George, Whiteshard Bottom and Chase Woods.
8 Easy Walks Around Salisbury by: South Wilts Ramblers’ Association. This is a set of eight walk cards contained in a plastic wallet. Each card has a brief description of the walk, the starting point and a sketch map on the front and the route directions on the reverse. The walks are between 2 and 5 miles long. The walk locations are: Charlton All Saints and the River Avon; Godshill Enclosure and Millersford Circular; Breamore House and The Mizmaze; Bowerchalke and over Marleycombe Hill; Fovant Badges and Chiselbury Camp; Old and New Wardour Castles; Great Wishford, Grovely Wood and River Wylye; Battlesbury, Middle and Scratchbury Hills.
10 Short Walks Around Salisbury by: South Wilts Ramblers’ Association This is a set of ten walk cards contained in a plastic wallet. Each card has a brief description of the walk, the starting point and a sketch map on the front and the route directions on the reverse. The walks are between 4 and six miles long. The walk locations are: Salisbury to Old Sarum; Figsbury Ring and Winterbourne; East Grimstead, Bentley Wood, Blackmoor Copse, Farley; Pepperbox Hill and Barford Down; Charlton, Downton and Trafalgar House; Breamore and Whitsbury; Nunton and Odstock; Broad Chalke and The Ox Drove; Dinton, Compton Chamberlayne and Fovant; Great Wishford and Grovely Wood.
10 Longer Walks Around Salisbury by: South Wilts Ramblers’ Association. This is a set of ten walk cards contained in a plastic wallet. Each card has a brief description of the walk, the starting point and a sketch map on the front and the route directions on the reverse. The walks are between 8 and 13 miles long. The walk locations are: Old Sarum to Stonehenge and Amesbury; Around Downton; Woodfalls; Martin Down, Pentridge and Vernditch Chase; Downlands and Valleys; Swallowcliffe, Ansty and Alvediston; The Inner Chase; Old Wardour, Tisbury and Castle Ditches; Sherrington, Great Ridge Wood and Knook; Salisbury Plain and the Till Valley.

 Needless to say we feel its better to join a local guide to explore the area but if you are visiting the area then the books I have listed above may be of great use, enjoy!

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