|Late afternoon sky over Avebury - Ian Newman|
With the lack of daylight hours and the unpredictability of the weather, December and early January tends to be the time of year that we keep our day trips local. Not a hardship when you are as fortunate as we are with our local landscape!
The dry cold weather of the last couple of weeks has given us ample opportunity to get out in the countryside and, with the leaves mostly off the trees and on the ground, we have given the wealth of ancient and medieval history available on Salisbury Plain and among the chalk downs our full attention.
|Standing Stones at Avebury - Ian Newman|
|Wind blasted trees and sarsen stones, Fyfield Down - Ian Newman|
There has been much excitement around Old Sarum Castle near Salisbury this week, with the discovery of the layout of the medieval town which had grown up around the castle and neighbouring cathedral. This was achieved by Ground Penetrating Radar without even breaking the soil. Check out the BBC News item here.
|Old Sarum from the air - English Heritage|
Old Sarum was an Iron Age hill fort, which was then occupied by the Romans as it was on the march from Londinium (modern day London) to Aquae Sulis (Bath). After the Romans withdrew, the Saxons occupied the castle which was in a commanding position within Wessex (the kingdom of the West Saxons). After the Norman Conquest in 1066 William put a very strong garrison into Old Sarum to keep Wessex under control (Harold Godwinson, the Saxon king defeated at the Battle of Hastings, had been Earl of Wessex). The Domesday Book was presented to William at Old Sarum. Domesday was the list of taxable assets within William's new domain (most of which had passed from Saxon to Norman ownership) and the symbolism of where it was presented was absolutely calculated to emphasise who was boss!
|Cathedral Footprint from Old Sarum Castle - Ian Newman|
Old Sarum is managed by English Heritage and is open throughout the winter.