A Travellerspoint blog

England

England - family and friends

sunny 20 °C

After our many adventures climbing up hill and down dale chasing the circles, it was now time to say 'hi' to our English family and friends in various locations across the country.

Our first port of call was Sally and Brian at Kerne Bridge, a little village in south Herefordshire about 6 km from Ross-on-Wye. (my daughter-in-law's (Katherine) mum and stepdad). Sally and Brian live in a beautiful home which was previously the Kerne Bridge railway station. The house is beside the River Wye which has a beautiful stone bridge. The old Priory and Goodrich Castle ruins can be seen sitting majestically on the hill across the river. Beautiful countryside.
Sally, Brian, Chas and Pat

Sally, Brian, Chas and Pat

On Monday morning Sally and Brian took us of a tour of the lovely Wye valley, following the river and pointing out the many interesting landmarks, such as the Sculpture Trail, a walk of 4 miles through the Forest of Dean with various woodland sculptures along the way. We finally arrived at our destination, Tintern Abbey, which is on the Welsh bank of the River Wye (my first visit to Wales). Tintern was founded by the Cistercian Order in 1128, but the present-day remains of the abbey are a mixture of building works covering a 400-year period between 1136 and 1536. The ruins are still impressive. It was a thrill to visit, and wonderful to have such a lovely day with Sally and Brain.

Sculpture Trail

Sculpture Trail

At Tintern Abbey

At Tintern Abbey

Then to visit Chas's friend from high school and his family, Keith, Janet and Mark
Chas, Pat, Janet, Keith and Mark

Chas, Pat, Janet, Keith and Mark

before travelling north to the Lake District to spend 2 nights with Chas's sister and brother-in-law, Jan and Roger, at Hawkshead. My first visit to the Lake District was in 2007 but I didn't feel I had a sense of the beauty of the area. So Jan and Roger very kindly took us on a lovely tour of the lakes. We visited Coniston Water, Thirlmere, Grasmere, Bassenthwaite Lake, and Derwent Water. It is a beautiful area with the majestic peaks and deep valleys, peaceful lakes, picturesque slate houses and lovely stone walls . We had a wonderful time.

Chas, Jan and Roger

Chas, Jan and Roger

We also visited Chas's friend, Trev, from primary school (yes... I did say primary school. They still keep in touch). Also Dave and Chris in Codnor and Roger in St Albans from his days at York Uni (many years ago).

Chas and Dave

Chas and Dave

It was great to catch up again with everyone, and we are looking forward to Janet and Keith visiting us in Auz sometime soon.

Posted by patsaunder 04:46 Archived in England Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

England - other mysterious phenomena

semi-overcast 20 °C

England has many ancient and mysterious phenomena in addition to the crop circle formations.

One of the most famous is Stonehenge, estimated age 3100 BC.
Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Another which I personally find fascinating is the stone circles at Avebury, argued to be the most impressive of all remaining prehistoric earthworks in Europe, age 2400BC. (To give a perspective on size, the blue spot on left is Chas walking through the stones)
Avebury stone circles

Avebury stone circles

Then there is Silbury Hill, the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It is similar in size to some of the smaller Egyptian pyramids. This is part of the complex of Neolithic monuments around Avebury, which includes the Avebury Ring and West Kennet Long Barrow.

Another is Wayland's Smithy long barrow - a large chambered Neolithic tomb. Excavations in 1962-63 proved that it had been built in two different periods, around 3700 and 3400 BC.
Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow

Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow

There are also the famous white horses - at least 24 of them. Most of them are chalk hill carvings with many of them in the Wiltshire area. Most of them date from the last three hundred years or so, though the origins of some are impossible to establish with any certainty. Only the Uffington white horse is of certain prehistoric origin, being some three thousand years old. This stylised prehistoric hill figure, 374 feet (110 m) long, formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk on a very steep hillside. One wonders how it was created. Wayland's Smith is only a couple of miles of the Uffington White Horse. To see a full image of the horse log on to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_White_Horse. Very impressive.

Uffington White Horse

Uffington White Horse

White horse, Cherhill

White horse, Cherhill

White horse

White horse

White horse

White horse

These images are only the few that I have seen. There are many more. These sites are maintained and preserved by Britain's National Trust, and some are World Heritage listed.

Some believe that there is a connection between the geometrical placement of stone circles and the geometry found in the crop formations.

Maybe .....

Posted by patsaunder 04:45 Archived in England Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

England - crop circle hunting!!

semi-overcast 20 °C

We arrived at Heathrow Saturday 31 July, found our hire car and set off for Marlborough - heart of crop circle country. We had booked a lovely B&B at Browns Farm for the 8 days of our visit. Very comfortable room (w. ensuite) in a lovely old 2 storey building surrounded by beautiful grounds and fields of crops. Peaceful.

Not long after arriving Hazel (our host) informed us there were two circles which were relatively close by. She showed us where to go on her ordnance map and we immediately set off.

For those not familiar with the phenomenon, crop circles are large formations which appear overnight in fields of crops from spring onwards until early autumn, with most arriving during the three main summer months. How they appear and what they mean has long been the subject of much controversy with the question still not fully explained or answered - are they man-made, or is there another mysterious explanation. While they have been found all over the world, two-thirds of the world's activity occurs in England, with an area around Wiltshire (known as the Wessex Triangle) having the most activity.

While they first came to public attention in the 1980s, they have been recorded for centuries. One of the earliest accounts is recorded in a 17th century document which appears to tell how a farmer discovered strange circles on his land. Similarly local farmers also recall having them in their fields all their life with reports that their parents and grandparents did also.

They appear in many types of crops - wheat, barley, canola, rye, maize for example, as well as other mediums, including rice paddies in Japan. Formations have also been found in wild grass, bracken and other undergrowth-type plants. Public interest began in the mid-80s with increased complexity in size, patterns and geometry of the circles since that time.

How did this all start for us.... well, it is actually Chas who is most interested. He first became aware of them on reading a book which my sister, Leonie, had at her home in Toowoomba, and was mystified. So off we set - Chas to do his own research on these mysterious circles, and me to share the excitement with him. We visited six beautiful circles which required lots of walking up hill, down dale. One circle took 40mins to walk to and then back again. Intrepid circle hunters!! However, I won't detail each of them individually, rather I thought I would just share my overall observations with you.

Crop circle

Crop circle

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DSC00008

Firstly was my surprise at the amount of interest worldwide. In our short time we came across people visiting from UK, USA, Norway, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and Australia, some on organised tours. Yes, we were not the only ones from Oz! Two ladies from Switzerland, also staying at the B&B, have been coming every year for 10 years!! We had much interesting discussion over breakfast with them.

We arrived the weekend of a crop circle conference which brought together 'experts' from many associated disciplines. At the Silent Circle Cafe we sat in on a meeting with lots of enthusiasts (from very diverse backgrounds) to discuss past and present circles. It was fun speaking with everyone as they were open to speak with you and give their opinion or suggestions. We even had an impromptu concert at one of the circles when someone produced a fiddle and commenced playing. A very friendly group. That was fun.

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RIMG0397

The circles themselves ... they are beautiful and it was lovely to wander through the formation and get a sense of them. There were many visitors meditating, lying on the crop, groups holding hands etc. However, for me there was no evidence of ‘higher intelligence’ in structure of the circles, or their energy force. Having said that the circles are beautiful. I cannot understand how they are constructed in one night (especially with the short hours of darkness at this time of year) without the circle makers being seen. Many have very complex patterns with accurate geometric measurements. Some are very large and positioned in undulating ground making it even more astounding that complex and accurate formations can be made.

Lay of crop

Lay of crop

Lay of crop

Lay of crop

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DSC00012

The attitude of the farmers is interesting and varied. If they are man-made this is criminal vandalism of the farmers crop. Some go with the ‘phenomenon’ and request a donation by visitors to compensate for the loss of their crop. Others angrily mow down the circles when they occur. One person has been prosecuted receiving a fine of 100 pounds (Hmm...). Our host at the B&B, while not wanting a circle to appear in their crops, was quite accepting stating her opinion that they can't all be man-made. However, she wasn't able to offer an alternative scenario.

RIMG0404

RIMG0404

Crop circle

Crop circle

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DSC00033

The believers start their discussion from the position that the circles are NOT man-made. The evidence they provide, in my view, is very subjective and lacks credibility and substance. However, if considering that 100% of circles are man-made, how is this being done? How many teams of men are maintaining this phenomenon, out at night, in all weathers, without someone leaking information, for the last 4 decades. If even some of them are man-made, what is the explanation for the rest???? If not man-made, is the only other option 'extra-terrestrial', or could there be a scientific answer.

And ..... are there vested interests .... If so, for whom? Why?

However, there is no denying that they are beautiful works of art. Someone/something is offering the world a beautiful gift. Take a look at the ones we visited:::

http://www.silentcircle.co.uk/circles2010.html

Milk Hill, Near Alton Barnes. Wiltshire Reported 25 - 07- 10 (31)
Roundway, Near Devizes. Wiltshire Reported 25 - 07- 10 (32)
East Field, Near Alton Barnes. Wiltshire Reported 26 - 07- 10 (33)
Windmill Hill, Near Avebury. Wiltshire Reported 27 - 07- 10 (34)
Whitefield Hill, Woodsend, Wiltshire. Reported 03 - 08- 10 (42)

Maybe that is the message - just enjoy...

Posted by patsaunder 04:44 Archived in England Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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