We set aside a day for a trip to Bath and Stonehenge, traveling from London.
We booked the day trip through the concierge at our hotel.
Our first stop on the bus was Stonehenge.
To be honest, I expected more, although I really don’t know what I expected, if you know what I mean.
I didn’t do a lot of research prior to the trip, but I had a general grasp of the site.
The area is very rural, not a really highly travelled road at all.
So we stopped at the site. At the time, there were restrictions as to where you could walk in proximity to the stones. But we were able to get close enough to take some decent photographs of the site.
The area around the stones, and the stones themselves, is believed to be created between 2000 BC and 3000 BC. Some human bone remains found during excavation have been dated to 3000 BC.
“Heel Stone,” “Friar’s Heel” or “Sun-Stone”
The Heel Stone lies north-east of the sarsen circle, beside the end portion of Stonehenge Avenue. It is a rough stone, 16 feet (4.9 m) above ground, leaning inwards towards the stone circle. It has been known by many names in the past, including “Friar’s Heel” and “Sun-stone”. Today it is uniformly referred to as the Heel Stone or Heelstone. At summer solstice an observer standing within the stone circle, looking north-east through the entrance, would see the sun rise above the heel stone.
A folk tale, which cannot be dated earlier than the seventeenth century, relates the origin of the Friar’s Heel reference.
The Devil bought the stones from a woman in Ireland, wrapped them up, and brought them to Salisbury plain. One of the stones fell into the Avon, the rest were carried to the plain. The Devil then cried out, “No-one will ever find out how these stones came here!” A friar replied, “That’s what you think!,” whereupon the Devil threw one of the stones at him and struck him on the heel. The stone stuck in the ground and is still there.
Some claim “Friar’s Heel” is a corruption of “Freyja’s He-ol” from the Germanic goddess Freyja and the Welsh word for track.
A simpler explanation for the name might be that the stone heels, or leans.
I am including external links to websites that offer historical information in much more detail.
Stonehenge is a worthy stop on a day trip to Bath. When you consider the historical significance, it explains why it is listed on the ” 20 places to visit before you die”.