We decided to head back home today via Stonehenge and a overnight stop at nearby Combe Bisset.

Jo and Neil (Castle Farm) came over to say goodbye as they were off out for the day.  They really are an exceptionally nice couple and we have so enjoyed our extended stay on their lovely campsite.  I am sure we’ll be back – perhaps when the weather is a little warmer (and maybe drier). 🙂

Before we headed east we couldn’t resist an hour or so on the Droves – just to see whether our Kestrel and Buzzard were still around.  We didn’t have to go far before we saw the Kestrel.  First on the wing:

And then when he landed on another post.

I was amazed he let me get so close (we were still in Bessie) but he had just found some tasty tid-bit so was anxious to eat it maybe.

Peter captured this image when the Kestrel decided to fly onto an overhead wire:

The Levels were looking particularly good today as the sun was shining and there was a beautiful clear light.

As we were driving along we noticed these horses come rushing onto the road ahead from one of the fields where there was no gate.  The photo is a little blurred as I took it through Bessie’s windscreen!

A car was coming the other way and they promptly went back into another field further down.  The driver of the car closed the gate and the horses trotted away.

All very odd.

On one side of us the sky was darkening ominously and the light was dramatic.

The Lapwings were gathering:

They really are the most charming of birds.

This house positively glowed in the stormy light:

And our friends the Swan Geese were having a whale of a time splashing in a puddle.

When we saw the Buzzard on the road ahead it was almost as if all our old friends had come out to say goodbye!

Including this rather ragged chorus line of Starlings

We even saw a Little Egret and a Heron fleetingly along the water’s edge but unfortunately they flew off before we had a chance to take a photograph.

It was sad to leave them all but we knew we must start heading for Stonehenge as it closed at 4pm and it was over 60 miles away.

Once onto the A303 the weather started to take a turn for the worse and the clouds overhead were leaden with rain but just before this happened a rainbow appeared (the second of our holiday) and the fields below glowed golden yellow.

The A303 was heavy with traffic and there were times when the dual carriageway turned to single that we came to a grinding halt, only to move on again for another few miles.  We were getting concerned that we wouldn’t make Stonehenge in time but arrived just before 3pm.

It has been forty-odd years since we last visited, and in those far off days there was no visitor centre or carpark – you just parked your car on the road and walked over the field to wander in and around those magnificent stones to your heart’s content. Of course, it has all changed now and is shortly to change again.  The rather shambolic entrance with turnstiles and shop is all going and a brand new visitor centre is being built about a mile and a half away.  There will be a “low key visitor transport system” to take people over to the stones and the A344 which cuts down the side of the site will be closed altogether, meaning that Stonehenge will no longer be squashed into that narrow triange of land between the roads.  Instead, this area will revert to grass.  I think it will be a huge improvement and will give the stones room to breathe again.  See the English Heritage website for more information:


For now, though, the turnstiles remain and we were amazed at the number of cars in the carpark.  We had thought that it would be less busy at this time of the year.  All nationalities were there – I heard Japanese, American and German voices amongst the throng.  To our relief the number of people didn’t impede our photographs and we were able to take plenty without another soul in them.  We had free audio guides to take around with us and they proved invaluable to help us understand the phenomenon that is Stonehenge.  It really is a magical and mysterious place.  Here are a selection of our photographs.  I have cheated a little with the featured image above – the sun was setting but it wasn’t quite as dark as that!

As we drove away the sun set in a most dramatic fashion.

What a pity we had to leave before this happened – imagine that sky behind Stonehenge!

We had managed to book into a Camping and Caravanning Club Hideaway site (Pennings Farm) at Coombe Bisset, just a few miles away, and a very nice little site it is too.  Fantastic views and there is just one other caravan there.  The farmer is charming and I’m sure we will be back when next we’re down in Wiltshire.  Apparently there is even a nature reserve just down the road so maybe tomorrow we will have to investigate before we finally drive home!

It’s been a fabulous holiday and we have been so lucky to see and do all the things that we have.  Thank you Bessie!