Tales from the Sea Garden

Tales from The Sea Garden

Email me: theseagarden@btinternet.com

Wednesday, 30 April 2014


On my way up the A303 yesterday I decided to stop off at Sonehenge. So many times I've driven by and seen it from a distance but never actually stopped. In a way I'm glad I left it till now, as there is a superb new visitor information centre (built some distance away and completely out of sight so as not to impede on the prehistoric monument) which gives a complete overview of not just the world heritage site of Stonehenge but also all the burial barrows, mounds, earthworks and archaeological remains that are in the surrounding landscape. Outside the visitor centre they are constructing some replica houses based on remains excavated at Durrington Walls, where they now think the Neolithic people that constructed Stonehenge actually lived. 

There is also an exact replica of one of the sarsen stones mounted on wooden rollers to demonstrate one of the methods used to transport them. 

Shuttle buses take you from the visitor centre to the site itself, and a path allows you to approach really quite close.

  The monument was begun about 3000 BC and during this early stage was used as a cremation cemetery, with an estimated 150 people being buried here. Some 500 years later, about 2500 BC, the central stone settings were erected, with some of the stones, sarsens, weighing 30 tons or more. There were no metal tools available to the people who built Stonehenge, only wooden hammers with heads fashioned from flint.

The stones are aligned to the midsummer sunrise and the midwinter sunset, clearly important occasions to the builders of Stonehenge, but the meaning and function of the monument is still debatable.

I then drove on to one of my favourite gardens, Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire. A thunderstorm had taken place not long before I arrived, and much of the garden was awash with water. 

Every leaf and flower was bejewelled with raindrops.....

Although there were many pretty spring bulbs in flower the garden is best visited in June. Mottisfont holds the national collection of roses, and when they are in full bloom the garden is transported into a veritable paradise for the senses. It was somewhere I used to love to visit when I was a student at nearby Winchester School of Art. 

In the grounds is this cute little shepherd's hut, decked out as it would have been when in use as a travelling shelter for the shepherd tending his flock.

A circular grove of trees had some interesting patterns painted onto the trunks...

 An avenue of pollarded limes...

The meadow alongside the garden had clumps of cowslips...

I shall post another instalment tomorrow..... x


  1. I have still not gone to Stonehenge. Like you I have driven past many times but never stopped.
    Love the Shepherd's Hut.

  2. It is many years since I last visited Stonehenge. You have reminded me that my son has never been there and I should take him now that the visitor's centre has opened.

  3. Lovely images, I haven't been to Stonehenge in ages, I like the look of the new buildings always fancied living in a round house.
    We lived in Salisbury for a while, you could still work in and around the stones then.

  4. Your pictures, Christine, are so good; I feel if I was standing there too. But I've been following the unearthing of the nearby village and amazed at the dedication of the 'diggers'. Its wonderful to see the effects of the rain, and all the green!