Stonehenge Renewed

stnhng2One of Britain’s most popular, and some say, most mysterious attractions is having a makeover to make it a better experience for visitors.

I must admit that when I visited Stonehenge I was disappointed. It wasn’t the stones themselves which let me down, as I could appreciate the skill of the craftsmen that went into building the structure, and I certainly have high regard for the mathematicians who placed the stones so accurately as to receive the sun’s rays during the Summer Solstice. My disappointment was entirely due to the fact that the presentation of such a magnificent monument to ancient craftsmanship was extraordinarily poor.

For instance, a busy road, the A344, ran right beside it, robbing the site of any sense of mystery or bewilderment. It seemed like Stonehenge had no more importance than the corner store. Also, the presentation was lousy. There was little information about the monument, and you stood behind a simple fence to gaze out at it, it was all very anticlimactic, and you got no sense of how special the place really was.

Stonehenge attracts over one million visitors a year, yet a visit to see the stones was often a miserable experience.

Fortunately, English Heritage, the body which now has responsibility for Stonehenge is doing something to really emphasise the monument’s importance, by undertaking work to make a visit to Stonehenge a far more pleasurable and interesting experience.

The first thing to go is that damn road. The A344, I do so love the romantic names the British give to their roads, will be closed around the vicinity of Stonehenge and alternative ways around the site will be built. The present road will be ripped up and will revert to grass, as it was during the time Stonehenge was used as an important assembly place in ancient times.

A new visitor’s centre is located at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles (2 kilometres) from the site. This will be a sophisticated exhibition and education centre which will allow visitors’ to more fully understand Stonehenge before setting out to see it. A new low-key transit service will transport visitors from the visitors’ centre to a point near the stones.

To give some idea how the Neolithic people, who worshipped at Stonehenge, lived all those years ago a couple of historically-accurate buildings are constructed.

Although there is still much debate about the true origins and use of Stonehenge, at least those who do visit the site will be in for a much better experience than was possible before.

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