Stonehenge (c. 3,000-2,200 BC)
- 1st phase – earth monument - circular bank and ditch with posts or stones in Aubrey Holes and possible timber structures (c. 3,000 BC).
- 2nd phase – stone settings (c. 2,500 BC) - sarsen circle and horseshoe, plus bluestones erected.
- 3rd phase – bluestones re-arranged into circle and oval (c. 2,300 BC).
- The tallest stone is 7.3m high and weighs over 45 tonnes. It is part of one of the five sarsen trilithons.
The sarsen circle was originally composed of 30 uprights (each weighing about 25 tonnes) capped by horizontal lintels (about 7 tonnes). The bluestones, weighing up to 4 tonnes each, came from the Preseli Hills in Wales, some 240km away.
Neolithic and Bronze Age Monuments
- Other key monuments include the Stonehenge Avenue (c. 2,500 BC and 2.5km long), the Cursus (c. 3,600-3,500 BC and 2.7km long), Woodhenge (c. 2,500 BC), and Durrington Walls (c. 2,500 BC).
- The Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) contains more than 350 prehistoric burial mounds. These include 10 early Neolithic long or oval barrows, the rest are early Bronze Age round barrows. The key barrow cemeteries are Normanton Down, King Barrows, Cursus Barrows, Winterbourne Stoke, Wilsford and Lake Barrows.
- Altogether, the WHS includes more than 700 known archaeological features (including find spots), of which 415 are protected by scheduling within 180 scheduled areas.
Size and Ownership
- The Stonehenge WHS covers 2,665 hectares (26.6 square km - 6,500 acres). Ownership and management of the WHS is shared between English Heritage, the National Trust, the Ministry of Defence, the RSPB, farmers and householders in Amesbury, Larkhill and the Woodford Valley.
- Stonehenge, Woodhenge and parts of Durrington Walls are owned by the state and managed by English Heritage.
- A large part of the landscape surrounding Stonehenge is owned by the National Trust (827 ha, 31% of the WHS).
In the Stonehenge part of the WHS, 520 hectares of arable land (20% of the WHS) have been signed up for grass restoration between 2000 and 2011, protecting and enhancing the setting of 105 prehistoric monuments.
This represents a financial commitment from Defra of £2,256,000 over the lifetime of the stewardship agreements (10 years).
Stonehenge Visitors and Facilities
- 1,023,000 visitors to Stonehenge in 2010/11 (excluding the Solstice and including free education visits and stone circle access).
- About 50% are from overseas, 50% are part of a group and 5% are education visitors. More than 70% of the education visitors are from overseas.
- Summer Solstice: 22,000 people in June 2011. After years of problems, Stonehenge reopened in 2000 for the Summer Solstice under strict conditions.
- Access inside the stone circle was stopped in 1978 because of vandalism and erosion due to increasing visitor numbers.
Visitor numbers to Stonehenge
Please note: These figures exclude the Solstice but include free educational visits and stone circle access.
(Source: English Heritage and Stonehenge Complete)
Facts and figures compiled by the Stonehenge World Heritage Site Coordinator,