Walk of the week: Windmill Hill, Avebury Stone Circle and the Sanctuary

Length of route: 8.5 miles
Starting point: SU 099 722
Suitable for: Walking
Maps: OS Explorer Map 157 – Marlborough and Savernake Forest
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This lovely walk gives you a taster of the Stone Age in Wiltshire, seeing some of the spots our ancestors inhabited between 4000BC and 2000BC. The route starts at Winterbourne Monkton and ends in Avebury. There is car parking available at both destinations if you are travelling by car.

Starting at SU 099 722, take the footpath away from the road to head towards Windmill Hill taking a left and right in close succession and then continuing until SU 083 721 when you reach a crossroads. Take the path left to take you up to the Windmill Hill enclosure. The site is known as a causewayed enclosure with three concentric rings of ditches with crossing points between them. It is thought to date to around 3500BC and is essentially a meeting place for prehistoric farmers.

Once you’ve taken a stroll round the ancient enclosure, join the White Horse Trail heading east down Windmill Hill. Take a turning to the right to head south on a footpath before you reach the A4361. Follow the path until you reach a road which will take you into the west side of Avebury. Turn left and follow the road into Avebury centre.

Spend some time strolling around the Stone Circle, dating to 2600BC. The circle is 340 metres wide and is more than 10 times the size of Stonehenge. When you’ve finished admiring the ancient stones, rejoin the road and head east out of Avebury. It will eventually become a track and take you past Manor Farm onto the Herepath or Green Street. At the crossroads, take the right hand path onto The Ridgeway, following it until you reach the A4.

Take care crossing the A4 and then arrive at the Sanctuary. This is thought to date to around 3000BC and was a special ritual site. After an explore, continue along the A4 into West Kennet. Turn right on the B4003 at West Kennet Stone Avenue, which will return you to Avebury Stone Circle.

If you need to return to a car in Winterbourne Monkton, follow the A4361 out of Avebury – this will add around a mile and a half to your journey.


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