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Britain, places to visit, attractions, heritageThis is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse.  It is a growing directory – over 750 entries as of February 2020.  Most entries have links for further information.

Prehistoric

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ARTHUR’S QUOIT, Pembrokeshire

Arthur’s Quoit (or Coetan Arthur), according to legend, was thrown from nearby Carn Llidi by King Arthur. This is one of many 'Arthur's Quoits' in Britain - one source identifies more than 30. It is the remains of a single-chambered Neolithic burial chamber, or Dolmen, between 4 and 6,000 years’ old; the capstone (the bit that reminded folk of a quoit) is about 20’ long and now only supported, seemingly precariously, by one upright stone.

Post code is a guide only.  This Arthur's Quoit is located on St David's Head, where there is also the remains of a small prehistoric hut settlement, and can only be reached on foot. Park in Whitesands Bay and follow the coast path.

Region:
Location/Address: St David's Head
County: Pembrokeshire
Post Code: SA62 6PS
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Link to featured article: St David's Head
Tip/Nearby: Whitesands Bay
Primary Management: National Trust
AVEBURY HENGE

Enormous Neolithic stone henge and bank surrounding the entire village of Avebury.  Dates from c2600BC.  Part of a wider complex of prehistoric sites nearby. Get up close and personal with the stones - which you cannot normally do at nearby Stonehenge.

Region:
Location/Address: Avebury
County: Wiltshire
Post Code: SN8 1RF
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Link to featured article: Avebury Henge
Useful Website Address: English Heritage listing for Avebury
Tip/Nearby: Huge number of prehistoric sites, including West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill and Windmill Hill, within walking distance. Stonehenge not far away by road.
Primary Management: National Trust
CADBURY CASTLE

South Cadbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort, overrun by the Romans in the 1st century and subsequently used by them, but then reoccupied and its defences restored in the sub-Roman period and in occasional use up to at least the 10th century. It is one of several places associated with the legendary King Arthur and suggested as a possible location for the mythical Camelot. The walls and defences are now wooded, but the size of them can be appreciated, and there is a wonderful view of Glastonbury Tor, on the mystical Isle of Avalon, from the top.

Take the pathway, Castle Lane, from the village; it is invariably muddy.

Region:
Location/Address: South Cadbury
County: Somerset
Post Code: BA22 7HA
Main Historic Period: Dark Ages
Tip/Nearby: Glastonbury, Wells
Primary Management: Unknown
CALLANISH Standing Stones

The Callanish (or Calanais in Gaelic) Standing Stones is a complex of 50 stones in a cruciform arrangement roughly aligned north-south, with an inner circle of 13 stones and a small chambered cairn. They date from 3000BC and there are several other prehistoric sites nearby, including 3 additional circles. As with other stone circles in Britain, there is no satisfactory explanation for the purpose of these monuments - though, according to tradition they are petrified giants.

There is a modern visitor centre managed by Urras nan Tursachan (The Standing Stones Trust).

Region:
Location/Address: Calanais Visitor Centre
Calanais
Isle of Lewis
County: Western Isles
Post Code: HS2 9DY
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Tip/Nearby: Other prehistoric sites - details tba
Primary Management: Historic Scotland
CASTELL HENLLYS

Castell Henllys is a reconstructed Iron Age village, or fort, but the only one in Britain built on an original Celtic site. So the idea is that you walk in the footsteps of the Demetae tribe that lived there 2,000 or so years ago. It is very much geared to schoolchildren, but it is fascinating for all ages. As well as roundhouses, enclosures etc, there is a visitor centre and you can stroll through the surrounding countryside and take a picnic. Regular events are held.

Region:
Location/Address: Meline
Nr Crymych
County: Pembrokeshire
Post Code: SA41 3UR
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Link to featured article: Castell Henllys
Tip/Nearby: In the National Park off the A487 between Newport and Cardigan.
Primary Management: National Park
CASTLERIGG STONE CIRCLE

A Neolithic stone circle, about 97-100 feet (30 metres) in diameter, constructed around 3,000BC. Set against the backdrop of the Lakeland fells, it is a dramatic location and, on a lonely day, atmospheric. Castlerigg was one of the first scheduled ancient monuments in Britain in 1883. It is owned by English Heritage and cared for by the National Trust. You’ll find it about 1½ miles east of Keswick on a minor road, signposted from both the A591 and A66. There is limited parking in a lay-by. Take stout shoes – it can be wet and muddy.

The property is managed by the National Trust for English Heritage.

Location/Address: Castle Lane
Underskiddaw
Nr Keswick
County: Cumbria
Post Code: CA12 4RN
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Link to featured article: Castlerigg Stone Circle
Tip/Nearby: Derwent Water and the other Lakes
Primary Management: English Heritage
Cerne Abbas Giant

The Cerne Abbas Giant is one of Britain’s best known hill figures, cut into the hillside near the pretty Dorset village of Cerne Abbas. It is formed of a cut trench about 1 foot deep and across, stands 180 feet (55 metres) high and depicts a nude male wielding a large club. Possibly its most noticeable feature is its prominent erection – so the figure is often associated with fertility. Some people think the giant represents a Celtic deity, or Hercules. In fact, the age of the Cerne Abbas Giant is uncertain – though listed by A Bit About Britain as prehistoric, it may date only from the 17th century. There is a viewing area a short distance from Cerne Abbas village and there are walks nearby.

It is hard to photograph the Giant. The image here is from Google Earth.

Region:
Location/Address: Cerne Abbas
County: Dorset
Post Code: DT2 7AL
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Tip/Nearby: Dorchester
Primary Management: National Trust
Chanctonbury Ring

Chanctonbury Ring is an Iron Age hillfort, constructed c6-400BC, though actually in use since Neolithic times. It was probably not a fort, nor ever occupied, but more likely a religious site or, possibly, animal enclosure. 2 Romano-British temples have been found on the hill (they are not visible). In 1760, Charles Goring of nearby Wiston House planted a ring of beech trees around the hill; these, or their descendents, are still there. The hill was used by the army during WW2. There are several other prehistoric sites nearby. Chanctonbury also has a number of legends associated with it - most notably variations of the story that the Devil appears if running seven times anti-clockwise (or backwards) round the hill, alleged links with witchcraft (young ladies sleeping out on the hill are more likely to conceive), UFOs as well as suggestions that the hill is haunted and claims that spending the night on it is an unpleasant experience.  Nonetheless, there are great views from the top.

Region:
Location/Address: Chanctonbury Ring Rd
Steyning
County: West Sussex
Post Code: BN44 3DR
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Tip/Nearby: Cissbury Ring
Primary Management: National Park
CHEDDAR GORGE

Cheddar Gorge is a breathtaking limestone gorge located in Somerset’s Mendip Hills, near the village of Cheddar.  It is roughly 3 miles long, around 400 feet deep, England’s largest gorge and one of the country’s most popular natural tourist attractions.  It was formed about one million years ago during the last Ice age from glacial melt-water, which created a cave system.  Prehistoric remains have been found in the caves, both human and animal, and inside Gough Cave was found Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, who lived around 7150 BC and whose descendants still live nearby. Other human remains are some 5,000 years older and the evidence is that they were cannibals. Gough’s Cave is a spectacular show cave, with fabulous formations of stalactites and stalagmites (remember, tites are the ones that come down).

The south side of the gorge, including Gough’s Cave and associated attractions, is owned by the Longleat Estate and heavily commercialised.  The north side of the gorge is owned by the National Trust. Both offer walks along the cliffs.

Given post code is for NT land – pay and display car parks.  Use BS27 3QF post code for show cave.

Region:
Location/Address: Cheddar
County: Somerset
Post Code: BS27 3QE
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Tip/Nearby: 15 miles NW of Glastonbury, 10 miles from Wells. Wookey Hole show cave nearby.
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
CHIDING STONE

Block of smooth sandstone which allegedly (but probably not) gives the village of Chiddingstone its name and which has a mysterious past. One story is that it was used as a place of judgement in ancient times - hence 'chiding stone'. The village is a peach - most of the buildings are owned by the National Trust and are over 200 years old.

Chiddingstone is located on a minor road between Edenbridge and Tonbridge; the River Eden flows just to the north.

Region:
Location/Address: Chiddingstone
Nr Edenbridge
County: Kent
Post Code: TN8 7AH
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Link to featured article: Chiddingstone's Chiding Stone
Tip/Nearby: Chiddingstone Castle, Penshurst Place, Hever Castle
Primary Management: National Trust
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