Touring around the
Stones, Horses and
Stonehenge, very close to
Salisbury in Wiltshire, is probably the best known stone circle in the world.
Within a short driving distance there are many other equally
interesting stone circles and other strange artifacts dating
back to prehistory.
4 of a 4 part series - click for Parts
Enjoy a day of self-guided
touring around Wiltshire. See better/bigger stone circles
than Stonehenge, a bevy of white horses, and other mysterious
Start from Salisbury
Starting from Salisbury, make your way north to Castle Rd, also
known as the A345. A short distance out of the main downtown
area, as you go up a hill, you’ll see the side road off to Old
Sarum on your left. This could be your first stop.
Next, continue six miles north on the A345, to the A303. Go west
(left) on the A303 for 1½ miles and turn right where the road
forks onto the A344. Turn right into the Stonehenge Carpark.
Stonehenge is amazing – slightly mysterious in purpose (but now
generally believed to be a type of star based calendar, perhaps
used to plan when to plant the crops), very old (the original
construction dates back 5000 years, with modifications and
changes occurring over the next 1500 years), and undoubtedly
impressive. Standing alone on an empty plain, it commands the
landscape for miles around, and a visit to Stonehenge is a de
rigeur part of any trip to this region.
Admission is £5, but sadly these days you’re no longer able to
walk among the stones themselves. All visitors are restricted to
a path around a perimeter, set some distance back from the
stones. Alternatively, you can save your money, especially if
you only have a short time to stop - great views are available
from the side of the road for free! Open all year except for
24-26 Dec and 1 Jan. Stonehenge is an English Heritage site, and
admission is free with a GB Heritage Pass.
Next, retrace your path back to the A345 and go north (left)
about half a mile to Woodhenge, on your left. This is believed
to have been a bronze age structure, but instead of stones, had
wooden posts in large circles. The wood has long since
disappeared, and all that remains now are stubby concrete posts
to mark where the rings of posts had been. Admission is free.
Not worth making a special visit to see, but because you’ll be
driving past, you might want to stop and have a look.
Pewsey White Horse
Next, continue north on the A345 almost twelve miles, then turn
right onto the small side road just before Pewsey (Swan Rd) and
right again onto Everleigh Rd. Follow this half a mile or more
and you’ll see the Pewsey White Horse on the hill to your left.
This is a fairly new horse, having been cut into the ground in
1937. There is parking on the road just above the white horse if
you want to get a closer look at it.
Alton Barnes White Horse
Return to the A345. You can either continue north up to
Marlborough and then go west (left) on the A4 to Silbury Hill
and the West Kennett Long Barrow (about five miles west on the
A4), or if you wish to add another White Horse, go north on the
A345 about two miles, then turn left onto the road to West
Stowell and Alton Barnes. About 3.3 miles along this road, turn
right at a ‘T’ intersection, and drive along this road about
half a mile. The Alton Barnes White Horse, dating back to 1812,
is on the left.
Hill and the West Kennett Long Barrow
Next, continue north on this country road for about 2.6 miles
then turn left onto another road that will take you to the A4 in
about 1.7 miles. Go left and within 0.8 of a mile, you’re at the
West Kennett Long Barrow (limited parking on the left) and
Silbury Hill (more generous parking on your right.
The West Kennett Long Barrow is a 100 yard long chamber tomb
dating back to about 3250 BC. It is not visible from the A4, but
you can walk over the fields to where it is located, about half
a mile away, and once there, you can enter the first part of the
On the other side of the A4, and only a couple of hundred yards
further west, is Silbury Hill – the largest prehistoric mound in
Europe (130 ft tall). No-one understands exactly why this was
constructed, making it another prehistoric mystery to ponder.
Silbury Hill is right next to the road, but you can’t actually
climb up it.
Avebury Stone Circles
Next, you’ll visit the incredible stones at Avebury, now
designated a World Heritage site. Due to the extensive nature of
the stone circles there, Avebury is even more awe inspiring than
Go back east along the A4 about 0.6 miles then go north (left)
one mile up the B4003 and follow this through the village of
Avebury so as to get an overall feeling of the scale of the
village and the stones. You can then either turn around and
drive back through the village on the A4361 to the carpark on
the right hand side, just south of the village, or continue a
short distance north to see two more White Horses before turning
around to return to Avebury.
Hackpen and Broad Town White
The first of these White Horses is at Hackpen. Go 4.5 miles
north on the A4361, then turn right on the country road. About a
mile and a half down you’ll see the white horse sort of straight
ahead (the road does a quick zig-zag up the hill the White Horse
is on). The Hackpen White Horse is thought to date back to 1838.
Then return the way you came to the A4361, turn right onto the
A4361 then immediately left onto Summers Lane, and follow this
1.7 miles to Broad Town, where you’ll see the Broad Town White
Horse on the right hand side, dating to 1864.
Return back to the A4361 and drive back to Avebury and to the
car park. You can then walk around the stones in the fields
around the village – the ring of stones is so large the village
fits in its center. There are no restrictions on going up to the
stones and touching them, and neither is there an admission fee.
In addition to the main stone circle, there is an ‘avenue’ of
stones and some others, primarily on the south side of the
village. Information in the car park shows you where all the
different stone formations can be found.
In the small village itself there is a haunted hotel – the Red
Lion pub – perhaps you might like to stop in for a drink!
White Horse, Oldbury Castle and Lansdowne Monument
Next, continue south on the A4361 back down to the A4, where you
can either continue on down the A4361 or make a slight detour
west on the A4 to another White Horse at Cherhill – 2.7 miles
away on the left hand side. The Cherhill White Horse, dating
back to 1780, is the second oldest of the White Horses, and is
just below the Oldbury Castle Iron-age hill fort (not a ‘castle’
as such). The obelisk nearby is the Lansdowne Monument, which
was erected in 1845 by the Third Marquis of Lansdowne to
commemorate his ancestor, Sir William Petty. This gentle rise is
the highest point between London and Bristol - England is a very
Devizes White Horse
Return back to the A4361 and then continue south about 6.3 miles
into the outskirts of Devizes. After going through three
roundabouts, turn right up Follow Rd. The Devizes White Horse is
about 0.7 miles up on the right. This is the most modern White
Horse – it was cut in 1999 as part of Britain’s millennium
Westbury White Horse
Return back to the A4361 and drive south then west 8.5 miles to
the A350, and take that south 4 miles to a roundabout and then
another 2.5 miles south to Westbury. In Westbury, turn left onto
Warminster Rd and then right onto Bratton Rd (the B3098).
Proceed about 1½ miles along Bratton Rd and you’ll see, on the
right, the Westbury White Horse, the oldest of the horses, which
is thought to date back to the late 1600s. The horse has been
restored over the centuries, and now the white is made by a
layer of painted concrete.
Back to Salisbury
To return back to Salisbury, continue along the B3098 about 7.1
miles to the A360. Turn right (south) and then follow the A360
in to Salisbury – a short distance of only 19 miles.
Note : A Garmin
compatible GPS route is available for this driving itinerary.
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15 Apr 2003, last update
28 May 2011
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.