I often find myself drawn to places through a sense of what has happened there in times long since forgotten. When walking across fields, through woods and alongside rivers, I become aware that my thoughts are wandering and visions of what these sites would have looked, sounded and smelled like centuries ago come to the forefront of my mind.
Visiting the nearby stone circle at Avebury this weekend, this sense of remnants from a prior time, floating in the air and imprinted on the ground beneath my feet, was present with each step I took.
National Trust car park aside, the village still looks much as it would have done five hundred years ago: a wood fire burning at the local inn; the smell of smoke wafting across the landscape; the thatched roofs of a cluster of barns and cottages. As I walked I could hear the clattering of horses’ hooves on the cobbles, the clanging of a blacksmith beating their shoes into shape. In the wood fire smoke I could see the locals gathering at the inn after a long day tending the fields, raucously sharing tales over a tankard of ale or mead.
It is the combination of romantic medievalist and earth-loving witchy woman in me which makes this type of site so special in my eyes. The history seeping from the ground is palpable, as is its magick. Stepping within the circle of megalithic stones I instantly feel protected, as if these monuments are a collective people watching over anyone within their boundary.
Having places like this on my doorstep is a real treat and being able to feel the energy of long gone communities within the landscape makes me feel both fortunate to live in the British Isles and a little bit cross with myself for not having explored more of it.
With that in mind, here is a list of places I wish to visit this year along with some favourites I’d like to reacquaint myself with (in italics):
1. Lindisfarne, Northumberland
2. Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire
3. Castlerigg Stone Circle, Cumbria
4. Alderley Edge, Cheshire
5. Isle of Man
6. Iona, Argyll
7. The Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire
8. Long Meg and her Daughters, Cumbria
9. Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire
Thank goodness I invested in a National Trust membership!