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boots or work type shoes as sheep graze in the fields and, while it keeps the grass trimmed, there is a fair bit of "residue." There are also many day trips that combine visits to Avebury and other ancient sites in the Wiltshire area.

Salisbury's spire added 6,500 additional tonnes of building material but fortunately experts were consulted over the centuries including St. Paul's architect Christopher Wren in 1668 and the building was shored up several times with flying buttresses, anchor irons and bracing arches, Flanaghan says.

Avebury must be the only place in the world where you can sip a beer, shop and attend church inside the boundaries of an ancient stone circle.

The toppling and burying mission continued until one unfortunate man, believed to be a barber or a surgeon, was crushed and killed by a falling stone. Local lore says the townsfolk were unable to free the horribly injured man, who quickly perished under the stone's great weight and had to be entombed where he fell, says Ros Cleal, museum curator at Avebury.

Inside the cathedral, Paul Smith, the head tower guide, points out where some of the structure's long support pillars bow into the corners.

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During future excavations, Keiller also uncovered the skeleton of the unfortunate barber surgeon along with a pouch containing coins from the 1300s, a pair of antique scissors and a medical looking probe proving the veracity of the long ago tale. The massive rock was re erected and renamed the Barber stone, Cleal says.

While the accident halted destruction for a time, the village continued to grow with a pub, a chapel, shops and houses eventually being built inside the ancient site. Later generations of townspeople smashed up and carted away many of the stones that remained standing, and likely used the material for their own building projects, Cleal says.

Led by a guide, visitors can climb the tower to a viewing balcony up the spire and take in a magnificent view. (See Josh Robinson's account of the tower climb.)

Salisbury Cathedral's 32.5 hectare close is the largest in Britain. It also has the largest cloister and oldest working mechanical clock, dating to 1386. In addition, it is home to the best surviving copy of the Magna Carta (one of only four still in existence), and it remains a vibrant religious community with an active Anglican congregation.

Just when you think you've heard of every significant ancient ruin, castle, cathedral, stately home, spectacular garden, fabulous art gallery or museum, another blips across your radar. Mysteries, miracles and endearing English eccentricities await around every corner. Recently, I encountered all three during a short visit to Wiltshire county in England's South West.

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But despite several subsequent archeological excavations and many expert theories that this was a place where ancient rituals or ceremonies were performed the true purpose and significance of Avebury remains a mystery.

or even heard of Salisbury Cathedral, but if you have watched the TV miniseries Pillars Of The Earth or its sequel World Without End, you have seen glimpses of it.

described England as a "green and pleasant land" and the description stuck.


The cathedral was built from 1220 to1258, but the 123 metre high spire the tallest in the United Kingdom was added in the 1300s.

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But the real history of Salisbury Cathedral is every as bit as dramatic and involved as the fictional Knightsbridge Cathedral Prada Envelope Wallet Review it stands in for in the television shows.

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In medieval times, the charming village of Avebury took root on the edge of a 4,500 year old megalithic site of the same name. In the 1300s, devout Christian villagers possibly believing the site to have been used for pagan worship began knocking down and burying many of the estimated 600 standing stones.

By the late1800s, historians began to recognize the significance of Avebury, which is the largest stone circle in Europe. Avebury's henge an enormous outer stone circle with a huge ditch and bank encompasses two additional stone circles, and a long avenue of standing stones leads to the site.

In 1934, jam tycoon and amateur archeologist Alexander Keiller used part of his fortune to buy as much of the Avebury site as he could some 384 hectares. Determined to preserve and restore Avebury for future generations, Keiller set about righting fallen stones and removing homes and farms from inside the monument. Fortunately there was some early documentation that showed where these massive rock sentinels had originally stood, and many of the felled stones were found buried in pits dug right alongside their original positions.

The cathedral itself is considered a masterpiece of early English Gothic architecture and is adorned with turrets, gables, elegant lancet and soaring stained glass windows, trefoil and quatrefoil motifs, ornate columns, and multiple niches filled with statues of angels and archangels 73 on the building's west front alone.

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Prada Envelope Wallet Review

Avebury is a popular National Trust attraction (and a World Heritage Site) but is seldom crowded. The grounds include the Keiller museum and galleries, the recently restored 16th century Avebury Manor and garden, a cafe and shop. You can visit on your own or take a henge tour. Dogs (on leash) are welcome at the museum and on the grounds. Visitors should wear sturdy Prada Bags 2016

Somewhat older than Stonehenge, only 30 km away, Avebury's stones are not as refined and not topped by lintels. But all of Stonehenge could fit neatly into Avebury's smallest inner circle some 14 times, Cleal says.

Adding a spire especially one of such enormous proportions to an existing building also adds a lot of weight, which puts extra stress on a structure and its foundations. Over the centuries, this has proved to be the undoing of several churches in Britain, which collapsed, says Sarah Flanaghan, the cathedral's public relations manager.

Poet and painter William Blake once Prada Bag Authentic

Little England for a big vacation

While it's certainly not leaning as much as Pisa's famous Leaning Tower, Smith says the spire is 75 cm off centre.

The city of Salisbury rests on low lying land near the confluence of five rivers. The area is prone to flooding and because of the high water table, the cathedral was built on foundations that would be considered woefully inadequate today. But the Lazy Cow takes the bovine theme over the top in the best tradition of English eccentricity.

A visitor cannot help but be impressed first by its square tower and pointed spire that seems to scrape the sky, then by its ornate exterior and awe inspiring interior, and finally by its long list of of "bests" and "biggests."


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And while the sentiment is certainly true, it's also an understatement of mammoth proportions. For a small country England packs an enormous punch for travellers. Every visit brings the realization you have only scratched the surface of this ancient and complex land, and that another trip and then another will be needed.

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