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Avebury, East Kennett and the Ridgeway - Circular Walk

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The walk starts in the main National Trust car park and passes Silbury Hill on its way to the West Kennett Long Barrow. It then passes through the village of East Kennett and crosses the River Kennet to join the Ridgeway, passing the Sanctuary. After a bracing walk north up the Ridgeway to Fyfield Down, with its sarsen stones, you return to Avebury along part of the Wessex Ridgeway.

Avebury lies in the centre of the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world, dating back to around 2400BC.

The village is surrounded by other monuments, some related to Avebury and some not - and some mysterious. The most mysterious is Silbury Hill, a man-made mound built around 2500BC, the purpose of which is still unknown.

The West Kennett Long Barrow, the largest of its kind in England and Wales at 350ft long, is well understood and well preserved. Built around 3250BC and in use for around 1,000 years, it was used as a collective place of burial where the remains of 46 skeletons were found.

East Kennett is a Conservation Area, with the Manor House, Manor Farm, Christ Church and the village school among the interesting buildings along this walk.

The Sanctuary is thought to have been used for the temporary storage of bodies prior to burial in the West Kennett Long Barrow.

The Ridgeway Long-Distance Path actually starts at the Sanctuary i.e. on the A4. Dubbed "the oldest road in Britain", it is now a National Trail, 85 miles long, running from here to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire. Much of it follows the ancient chalk ridge route used by prehistoric man.

The Wessex Ridgeway is a recreational trail that links the ancient Ridgeway at Avebury to the Dorset coast at Lyme Regis.

The 25,000 sarsen stones on Fyfield Down are resting in their natural setting, in contrast to the orderly rings and lines of sarsens placed by ancient people around nearby Avebury.

Many sarsen stones were used for housing from Roman times. The sarsen industry in the Marlborough area reached a peak by the mid-1800s and lasted until about 1930, when concrete became the building material of choice.  Despite many of the stones being removed from Fyfield, the site still holds the largest naturally deposited collection of sarsens in the country. 

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