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Woodhenge panorama

What is Woodhenge?

Woodhenge is a true henge with a bank and an internal ditch. It was discovered in December 1925 by Squadron Leader Gilbert Insall from the air. The following year he noticed in the same field that the wheat was growing in a stronger pattern of rings of spots. He reported this to the local archaeological society which undertook an excavation. This discovered six concentric egg-shaped rings of wooden postholes; the remnants of a bank with internal ditch - henge; the skeleton of a child near the centre; and of a young man in the base of the ditch.

From centre of the bank to centre of bank is approximately 85m. The ditch is approximately 6m wide at the top and 2.4m deep. There was a causeway or entrance on the northeast side. The postholes were of varying diameters and depths suggesting possibly differing heights of posts. The current dating of the monument is from around 2200 - 2300 BC.

Where is Woodhenge?

It is approx 1 3/4 miles/3 km northeast of Stonehenge, off the A345 about 1 1/2 miles north of Amesbury. It is next to Durrington Walls.

What can you see at Woodhenge now?

The postholes are now marked by a set of low and elegant concrete markers. Their diameters approximate to the size of posthole found. Each ring has a different coloured top to aid identification. There are six posts with black tops which mark where a hole was found, but which did not fit into the regular pattern. You can make out the remnants of the bank, and early in the year, when the grass starts to grow and looks greener, you can see where the ditch was. Near the centre is a cairn of flints which marks where the grave of a young child was found. On the south side is an old concrete pillar with a brass description plate.

What was Woodhenge for?

Theories have varied over time. It has a near summer solstial alignment. The varying size of post was interpreted as being the roof of a thatched building, but this is now dismissed. It was thought to be a model or prototype for Stonehenge, but current dating shows that Stonehenge was well under construction by the time Woodhenge was built. Its current use is given as ceremonial/ritual ie we haven't got a clue what it was for!

Can I visit Woodhenge?

Yes there is 24 hour access. There is only one regular guided tour of Woodhenge which runs from Salisbury and includes an inner circle tour of Stonehenge.


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