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STONEHENGE LEY, Wiltshire

This is the classic line discovered by Sir Norman Lockyear and extended by K.H. Koop. A modified version of it was used as a ley by Watkins before he read Lockyear. It is 22 miles in length, crossing over Stonehenge in a generally SW-NE direction.

Castle Ditches (ST 96302844) marks the SW end of the version of the line we are describing. Castle Ditches is a large hilltop earthwork of the type archaeologists are fond of calling 'fort'. It is undated. The banks and ditches are heavily wooded now, and permission to view the feature should be sought from Mr. C.S. Ridout at Withyslade Farm.

At the second marker, Grovely Castle (SU 04803580), the ley passes through a dewpond just outside the earthworks to the SW which the local farmer, with his countryman's experience, felt certain was as old as the camp itself. The ley passes through a slight dip in the SW embankment. Five skeletons were found in the chalk rubble in one part of the rampart, along with a sherd of pottery dated to the Iron Age.

The ley continues to the NE, passing by the bridge at Stapleford to reach a great bell barrow (SU 11504160) which is in sight of Stonehenge. The barrow is part of a major Bronze Age barrow cemetery known as the Normanton group. This bell barrow was found to contain a male skeleton on an elm plank, from which three poles rose to the top of the mound. Antlers, bronze daggers (one in a wooden sheath) and a cup were also discovered. The ley passes over the mound's SE flank.

The next marker is one of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world - Stonehenge (SU 12254220) and an aligned section of its Avenue (SU 12284225-12694260). Stonehenge was constructed in three main phases. Stonehenge 1, about 2200 BC must have been begun when the cursuses and long barrows in the immediate vicinity were already old. A circular earthwork about 380 feet in diameter was constructed, with the main bank inside the ditch - an unusual feature. The undressed sarsen known as the Heelstone was also erected during this phase, and the Aubrey Holes were dug. These features are obscure, consisting of 56 pits, some of which held cremations. It was these which Hawkins convincingly argues were part of a lunar observatory. Post holes discovered between the Heelstone and the earthwork may also have held wooden poles for astronomical purposes. Stonehenge 11 (about 1700-1600 BC) included the construction of the Avenue and the erection of a double circle of bluestones from Pembrokeshire within the earthwork. This was curiously left unfinished. Stonehenge 111 saw the erection of the huge sarsen structure which most people associate with Stonehenge. This was constructed from stones brought from 20 miles away (near Avebury) and dressed with great sophistication. In addition, some of the bluestones were dressed and re-erected within the sarsen circle. This phase occupied a period from about 1600 BC to 1200 BC Stonehenge tells us two things very clearly - that the evolution of a site over very long periods of time certainly did occur, and the choice of materials could be crucial. Never mid how they got the bluestones from Preseli to Stonehenge, the question is why? According to tone tradition. Merlin brought them over from Ireland. Other versions say that the Devil built the circle, that the stones cannot be counted and that they have healing properties. Detailed mapwork suggests that the ley enters the sarsen circle over fallen Stone 19 and exits over the fallen stones by Stone 27. It continues down the NW bank of the Avenue until the earthwork makes a sudden E turn away from the ley. The direction of the ley closely approximates to that of sunrise on the longest day.

In October 1977 two families were camping alongside Stonehenge. As an 8-mm film began to be taken of the stones, UFOs appeared in the sky overhead, resembling brilliant lights. One moved around another (clearly visible on the film shown on Granada TV's Reports Extra on 22 April 1978), and it seems that one light stayed motionless for 50 minutes. The witnesses felt, for inexplicable reasons, that the camp fire should not be allowed to go out. Prior to the sighting, compasses and a portable TV began to behave oddly. The film was carefully examined by Kodak, and shown to be genuine. The Kodak opinion was that the film recorded a natural phenomenon such as ball-lightning. An astrophysicist on the Reports Extra programme admitted that the behavior of the lights could not be that of ball-lightning, and suggested Army flares instead. When it was revealed that the Army had been consulted, and had stated that none of their activities on the date could have accounted for the lights, and that the witnesses had in any case seen the UFOs travel upwards before disappearing, the ridiculous nature of the scientist's opinion became apparent. Thus it was Stonehenge, symbolically, which provided the best visual evidence for the reality of UFO's.

The ley goes over a crossroads at SU 14384405 on the horizon from Stonehenge, passing close to 'Peters Mound', a small mound drawn to Professor Thom's attention by C.A. Newham, and considered to be of astro-archaeological importance. Continuing to the NE, the ley crosses Ablington Down and comes to Sidbury Camp (SU21705042) where it passes along the SE ramparts. This is an Iron Age earthwork covering approximately 11 acres. A little to the NE of Sidbury Hill the ley comes to a group of tumuli on Cow Down which are strung along an axis similar to the angle of the ley, and two of the barrows (SU 23005154) and 23095160) fall on the alignment. This site and Sidbury lie in an Army training area, so it is important to keep to the existing rather rough tracks

The ley continues over a former crossroads at SU23565200, but we have traced it no further.


Archives

Length 36 km

Bearing 49°/229°

StonehengeLine