Stonehenge Byway

Mad Alan and Bubba
Mad Alan and Bubba of the Loyal Arthurian Warband

I parked my camper between two thorn trees on the Drove, just passed the crossing where the old A344 used to run, and spent the night there.

In the morning there was a frost, despite the lateness of the season, with a thin mist rising in the hollows as the sun began to warm the landscape.

It was May the 1st: Beltane.

The Drove—full title “the Netheravon Cattle Drove”, also known as Byway 12—is an ancient right of way cutting across Salisbury Plain. Historically it was probably used to drive cattle from the village of Netheravon to Salisbury Cattle Market: hence its name.

It is a wholly unremarkable stretch of unmade road, pot holed and rutted, with a few scattered thorns along the verge. What gives this road its special significance is where it passes on one part of its journey: along the stretch from Lark Hill to the A303 it skirts Stonehenge on its Western side, close enough to get a good view of the monument without having to pay English Heritage for the privilege.

The current cost of entry to Stonehenge is £15.50 for adults, £9.30 for children, or £13.90 for students and senior citizens.

Tickets have to be booked in advance.

Park up on the Drove and you can get almost as close for free, without booking, and without the annoyance of having to pass through English Heritage’s new £27 million Disneyfied visitor centre.

Not that I was there to see the monument today, enigmatic and mysterious though it is. I had other purposes in mind….

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