I've long been fascinated by the Neolithic and Bronze age megalithic sites in Britain. The period when they were constructed arguably represents humankind's most significant cultural transformation, a shift from the hunter-gatherer culture to a life based in permanent settlements. This required a profound change from living life in the moment to an outlook that demanded long-term planning and vision to ensure successful harvests, sustainable breeding of livestock and sufficient food to last the winter months. At this time, the great megalithic sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed, the precise purpose of which, and the methods of construction, remain shrouded in mystery.
Study of ancient sites has long been the preserve of archaeologists, conducting forensic excavations, taking measurements, uncovering artefacts and applying scientific dating techniques. In recent years, archaeology has become more expansive, with new approaches for making observations and gaining insights regarding the design and purpose of the sites:
In 1988 Julian Cope published The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-Millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain, exploring the most significant prehistoric sites in Britain. This was followed in 2000 by a TV documentary that followed Cope on a road trip around the key sites. In 2006 Rupert Soskin and Michael Bott, took a similar concept, filming a road trip and publishing an accompanying book of photographs in 2009 (http://www.standingstones.net/). In 2011 Bill Bevan published Walk into Prehistory: Discovering over Forty of the Greatest Ancient Sites of Britain and Ireland, using a campervan to drive around the sites. Between 2012 and 2014, Tony Robinson presented a series of programmes for Channel 4 called "Walking Through History", featuring Robinson hiking through British historic landscapes.
I really like the idea of travelling around to visit multiple sites, and I feel strongly that this is best undertaken on foot, the same mode of transport used by our prehistoric ancestors. Walking between the sites gives a unique insight into their positioning in the landscape, particularly when the walk is sustained across several days. This gives an opportunity to see the world as our ancestors saw it. The greatest concentrations of surviving sites are located in rural or moorland areas where there are good networks of footpaths and areas of open access land. This website presents a series of multi-day routes that I've walked, exploring the best of the surviving prehistoric landscapes in Britain.