Snowhenge


A fun fact about me is I like to explore. Another fact is if I have determined to do something, I will do my best to achieve my goal. This is all about the trip to Stonehenge and how we could of died on our journey (true story). This is the trip that should of been cancelled due to the weather, but went ahead as it was an opportunity not to be missed.


The Trip

Sunday the 18th March was an amber severe weather warning. It was snowing, therefore England was grinding to a halt. The media was telling everyone not to make any unnecessary journeys. It was certainly not the type of weather to be driving on the motorway. Needless to say I had planned to go to Stonehenge with my friend and as far as I was concerned, that was exactly what was going to happen. It was a good call!

From London, we took on the treacherous roads towards Stonehenge near Salisbury. The gritters had done a great job, however it was noticeable for some stretches of road that there was a considerable amount of sleet and snow layered on the road. This essentially meant being mindful of the roads and speeds.


The Man In The White Van

The journey was fine in general, however I remember praying at one point. This was when we were being overtaken by the man in the white van who was driving carelessly.

So what happened?

A driver decided to overtake us on the untreated fast lane covered in sleet. This resulted in a tidal wave of sleet cascading over the whole widescreen completely cutting off all vision of the road. You need to see when driving on a motorway...

Fortunately, I had a mental map of the road. I slowed down enough to be able to safely clean the windscreen with the wipers. Of-course I let the driver know how I felt about that move. But us surviving was the main thing, right?

Stonehenge

We made it to Stonehenge and noted the car park was quite a distance away. I refused to park in the visitor park as it was miles away from the site and I did not fancy a pointless 20-30 minute trek in the cold. Instead there was a side road next to the site, so we parked there instead for free.


As we arrived a man seemed bemused that tourists had still travelled to make it and told us that the sight was closed and we “could only see it from a distance”. He also made it clear that any attempt to jump the fence would result in an arrest (I guess he knew I was a photographer).

Stonehenge is an amazing spectacle to look at. It is a national treasure that is a reflection into England’s past and their ingenuity.


I had on trainers that were completely unsuited to the conditions, soaking in the cold wet sludge from the inches of snow and melted sludge. If you know me, you know I hate the cold. I had on 6 layers (at least). Believe me I kept myself warm with my snood, hat and gloves. However, some tourist didn’t read the memo and turned up in a mini skirt and felt cold for some reason. But at least they looked stylish for the pictures.


Facts about Stonehenge

  1. Stonehenge was built 5,000 years ago according to some scientist in the Neolithic period

  2. It consists of 83 stones

  3. Its purpose is still disputed (I guess there is no one to verify it from the day)

  4. It was named Stonehenge in 1610 AD by English heritage

  5. It is a world heritage site

  6. The average sarsen (large stone) weighs in about 25 tons

  7. The stones have sunk (due to earthworms according to the famous Charles Darwin) and have up to 8 meters of stone beneath the surface

  8. The stones travelled at least 240 km (the means of this remains disputed)

  9. People lived on the site prior the stone erection

  10. Stonehenge cost £6,600 in 1910 (£543,537.50 in today's money), it is probably worth a lot more if it were for sale.


Why Did We Visit It In The Snow?

To be honest the snow was a massive bonus. As a budding photographer, it is good to be different and try to put your own spin on things. I felt that snow pictures would paint the site in a different light. Most common images tend to be summer displays so why not get a snow picture.

I didn't like the cold aspect, especially with the wind. But we were in and out, took a few shots, saw what we needed and made a swift exit. The journey on the way back was a lot better as the roads had improved significantly.

My Suggestions

I would recommend visiting in warmer weather as the site was closed. This meant viewing from afar but for these attractions, the closer the better. I presume in the warmth you can stay for longer as well.

There is not much to do once the stones have been viewed. To be honest, I didn’t mind. For me, the stones were enough to make the journey. For others maybe not. I wouldn't bring small children here unless they don't mind looking at rocks.


How Much Does It Cost?

  • Depending on age it can cost from £10.50 – 17.50 and slightly more if you want to do gift aid

  • A family can go for £45.50 (2 adults 3 children)

  • Tours exist from different companies, however if you can read, just look up the facts as most tours are just recordings

  • There are special events that allow access beyond the large parameter. These cost more money and are limited (prices vary)

  • However you can view it for free at a distance like we did.


Summary

Overall I enjoyed the trip to Stonehenge. My advice is if you like exploring English heritage, then it is definitely a site worth visiting. If you are looking for activities and fun, then do not go!

As much as I enjoyed the snow, I would recommend a visit in warmer weather, but maybe off peak to avoid large crowds as you may enjoy it more that way. Please avoid the man in the white van!

Lastly you can pay for better access, however other than being closer to stones, it is hard to see what benefit that brought other than investing in the world heritage site.


Let me know what you, think. Was the journey in the snow worth it? Leave a comment below.

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#2018 #UK #England #stonehenge #worldheritage #history

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Croydon Photographer Blaqpix@gmail.com © 2017 by Christopher Bovell.