Mini Guide – Wild Wessex
With a diameter of 348m, Avebury is the largest stone circle in the world. It’s also one of the oldest, dating from 2850 BC to 2200 BC. Today, more than 30 stones are in place, and pillars show where missing stones would have been. There’s also an on-site museum displaying archaeological treasures.
Standing dignified atop Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge is a great archaeological mystery: despite countless theories about the site’s purpose, ranging from a sacrificial centre to a celestial timepiece, no-one knows for sure what drove prehistoric Britons to build it. The first stones were erected around 3000 BC, and the monument’s history is told at the visitor centre.
On the southern fringes of Dorchester, Maiden Castle is the largest and most complex Iron Age hill fort in Britain. The first defences were built on the site around 500 BC; in its heyday, the fort was densely populated with clusters of roundhouses and a network of roads. The steep-sided chalk ramparts flow along a hill’s contour lines and surround 48 hectares.