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Fears for the future of Stonehenge
6:10am Thursday 7th February 2013 in Postbag
I HAVE enjoyed reading the Journal over many years, including articles, readers’ letters, and views regarding the future of Stonehenge as a tourist destination.
Your readers may be interested in my first visit to the stones. As a boy, I bought a small book for two pennies old money – Stonehenge by Frank Stevens, (curator of Salisbury museum), the 1924 edition with wonderful drawings by the archaeologist Heywood Summer.
My interest aroused, and having saved and obtained my first decent bicycle (at £3, second hand), I was determined to visit Stonehenge.
It was the spring of 1948, I was an 11-year-old boy, and I set forth from our home in Sandleheath, with great apprehension from my mother, on a 48-mile round trip, which was a long way for a small boy like me.
There was very little traffic in those days, but it was tough going, and a long way, but I made it there and back.
I stayed for about an hour, absorbing the atmosphere in among the stones, and enjoying the flask and sandwiches my mother had prepared for me.
Plus, there were no other visitors during my time there.
In the late 1960s, I revisited the site, this time with my wife and young family, not quite the same for me – but I still have that book.
I endorse many of the Journal’s readers’ remarks concerning English Heritage; when organisations become too big, like many before them, they adopt a god-like attitude, and worst of all, they do not listen to those who they’re supposed to represent.
Recently, I passed the activity associated with the new visitor centre, dare I say the makings of a commercial travesty – the whole set-up will be more in line with Disneyland than that of a monument of historic importance.
BERTRAM JERRARD, Fordingbridge
As a child I remember the excitement and gratitude attributed to Cecil Chubb when he bought and gave Stonehenge to the nation. He was hailed as a hero and subsequently made a baronet, having refused a knighthood.
What a tragedy that people will no longer be able to view the stones, as is their right, except through this extraordinary set up being built two and a half miles from my home, desecrating more of our lovely countryside.
For 40 years I have run a B&B establishment. Hundreds of people come from all parts of the globe to see Stonehenge, the aged, infirm and children, very few are serious archaeologists – and I suspect there are some who simply want to say they have seen the stones – their time is short and there are many places round here they wish to visit – their lovely walk from Berwick St James to Stonehenge via Druids Lodge will now no longer be possible.
For those who want to linger longer – I thoroughly agree with Don Cross, managing director of Wessexplore, and think English Heritage have a lot to answer for. I believe it will prove a complete shambles.
DIANA GIFFORD MEAD, Berwick St James