Run to the Stones with Chippenham Harriers
By Darrell Benge
Now all the complications of Christmas and New year are passed, I have had time to write something about our solstice run.
The 2021 winter solstice fell on the afternoon of Tuesday the 21st of December; a group of runners from Shrewton Running Club and Chippenham Harriers gathered at Stonehenge Inn in Durrington to run to Stonehenge in time for the sunset.
Shrewton being local to the stones, led the run on a route taking us through the historic landscape passing many of points of interest on the way.
We left Stonehenge Inn in plenty of time for the roughly 3 mile run to Stonehenge. We headed off down Countess Road and passed through the large henge at Durrington Walls, here it is said the builders of Stonehenge once lived, and onto the road to be suitably impressed by the sight of Woodhenge (now a field of concrete bollards showing the original position of timber posts)!
Passing Woodhenge we turned off the road and crossed the field containing the Cuckoo Stone (a Sarsen of the same material as Stonehenge) arriving onto the route of one of the military railways that served the area. These criss-crossed the landscape once connecting many of the army camps scattered around the edge of Salisbury plain. We ran along this path for a little way until we reached a byway passing between Fargo Road and the A303.
We followed past the site of the Old King Barrows and then soon turned onto the Avenue. Following this ancient ceremonial pathway led us towards the circle of stones, approaching just as the sun was setting.
There was a slight haze of cloud across the horizon spreading the light from the setting sun in a wide band over the stones. There was a small crowd gathered at the Stones and we stayed there as the sun set below the horizon.
Before it started to get too dark, we headed back taking a slightly different route. We took the path to the byway that passes alongside the stones and followed this to The Cursus, another one of the large features of the Stonehenge landscape. Turning off the byway we followed the edge of The Cursus till we once again reached the Fargo/A303 byway. Then we turned up onto Fargo Road running along this to Wood Road where there are many more recent points of history. As we entered Wood Road on the right-hand side are the remaining BCAC hangers from the first military aerodrome. Continuing along Wood Road we passed some trees just before joining the Packway, we didn’t stop to investigate but if we had there would have been found some small remains of more flight sheds from the earliest days of flying, just the concrete strips of the door openings.
From here it was a short trot along the Packway back to Stonehenge Inn.
Thank you to our friends from Chippenham Harriers for joining us on this run. We are looking forward to a return run with you soon.