Friday, June 01, 2012

Standing Stones - 27 May 2012

On Sunday we continued the Shaftesbury tour. Two towns in particular were highlights, Blandford Forum is a sizeable market town, which owes its uniform Georgian good looks to two local builders who rebuilt the town in brick, after a fire raised the town in 1731.

Our other favourite spot was the tiny, remote hamlet of Ashmore – the highest village in Dorset, built around the duck pond.

After completing the tour, we were not far from Avebury, one of the prehistoric henge sites in Britain, and now a World Heritage site.

The BBC ran a series 'The Manor Reborn', where they followed the restoration of the Avebury Manor. As the house had had so many owners, and no real record of what it looked like, the restoration team had a free hand. 
The result now is a mixture of eras, reflecting significant periods for different owners and apart from the hand painted Chinese wallpaper, visitors are allowed to touch anything, sit in the chairs, play billiards or the piano. Quite different to the usual 'look but don't touch' museum piece type of property.

The library is now a lovely tearooms, with bone china tea-service and great cakes. A very nice touch.

Much of the village of Avebury (including the Manor) was probably built with some of the Standing Stones, before they were discovered by the outside world. Despite this, many of the stones still remain in their original locations, and are an impressive sight.

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