Passing my friends the Stones on what’s starting to become a familiar journey. I’m at the very beginning of wearing my own groove in the legendary A303 – the route to the South West! – as many travellers have done before (look out for a separate article on this legendary road soon!). To my surprise, the Stones at Stonehenge have become a kind of happy stopping-off point – roughly half way, it eases the journey to think of calling in on them, like visiting friends for a cup of tea on a long trip.
This probably would never have happened had I not found the back way in! Someone said “As it is now, any emotional experience at Stonehenge must be virtually impossible”, and it’s true it’s crowded and fenced off and it seems like you can’t get very close. But with a mission to find the secret approach it became fun and lightened the whole issue of the restricted access and the £20 entry fee. Ha ha, yes there is a way to see the Stones for free! Well, there are various websites that tell you how to do it – you can come through the Army camp above the site at Larkhill and work your way along a track, it’s a much more satisfactory and powerful approach, more in keeping with a pilgrimage or special journey. Once you’re there, you’re basically alongside the path that you pay the £20 to access, you get the same view and a nice sense of having come your own (completely legal!) way. Also this way is open 24 hours a day! So your friends are always in to receive you whatever time you stop by.
This way, the Stones seem to make sense with a potent sense of atmosphere and character. I’m looking forward to perhaps getting to know the individual characters more, and observing the way they fit together and rest on each other, almost conversing, or of course, holding a counsel.
The whole episode was made even more fun and fortuitous by running into a friend from the Bay Horse, Totnes, who had been living there within sight of the Stones for a fortnight in his van. So it really did seem a friendly pit-stop.
Passing the other day, the gate to the track directly off the A303 was open – this gives access to the secret way in without looping round through the Army camp – so maybe access isn’t as restricted as you would think. The Stones are waiting for you!