The locals will tell you that Wiltshire is one of those places in the UK that you drive through on the way to somewhere else. But if you do that, you will miss something rather special.
We have been lucky enough to arrange a housesit in the little village of Compton Bassett. It is proving to be the friendliest place we have ever done a housesit. In our first week, we have been to carols in the pub, mulled wine and mince pies in the village hall and even a local drinks party. It is almost impossible to go for a dog walk and not stop for a chat. The village is arranged along just one road, so they don’t bother with postal addresses. A number is all you need and sometimes a house name.
As we have been going around England, we have been enjoying the historical stories. Most of them have been from the last few hundred years. The landscape around here is all about stories from 4500 years ago. Our new local friends all said that we should start at Avebury. The ancient ditches and standing stone circles date back to between 2850BC and 2200BC. The site is so big that it surrounds the village. It is easy to wander through the fields and touch the stones. This is a place to marvel at the achievements of these ancient societies and feel very small in context of time.
While you are here, Avebury Manor is also worth a visit. The National Trust and the BBC had a join project here to recreate the rooms with each room representing a different period of the house. The emphasis the very much on touch and enjoy. You can try out the old beds and try to work out what all the old implements in the kitchen were for. But Suzannah’s favourite was the “Parlour Horse”. An old exercise machine for those wet English days when real horses were not such a good idea!
Now we have the taste for his Neolithic landscape, we can’t wait to explore some more.