Stonehenge & A303
The Stonehenge World Heritage Site is famous throughout the world and is one of the most important prehistoric landscapes in Europe.
Today this landscape is split in two by a major road - the A303 - which acts as a barrier to people enjoying, exploring and understanding the World Heritage Site.
English Heritage wants to see the monument reconnected to its ancient landscape and the negative impact of roads within the World Heritage Site reduced. Great strides to achieve this vision have been made in recent years, including the removal of the old Stonehenge visitor facilities and the A344 road from the landscape.
But there is more to be done.
Tens of thousands of vehicles thunder past Stonehenge on the A303 every day. The heavy traffic and constant noise from the road compromises our enjoyment and understanding of the monument and the road cuts the stones off from much of the surrounding ancient landscape and many prehistoric monuments.
English Heritage wants to see the monument reconnected to its ancient landscape and the negative impact of roads within the World Heritage Site reduced. We’ve already seen the enormous improvement brought about by removing the A344 and the old visitor facilities next to the stones.
In 2014, the Government announced that it would invest in a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km to remove much of the A303 road from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. English Heritage, Historic England and the National Trust all welcomed the announcement, describing it as a “momentous decision”. A tunnel would reunite the ancient landscape and allow people to better appreciate, enjoy and understand Stonehenge, without the experience being ruined by traffic.
What's Happening Now
Following consultation, planning, design and public examination, the Secretary of State for Transport confirmed that the tunnel could go ahead on 12 November 2020. This decision was overturned by a judicial review in July 2021 but following a further process of consultation, the scheme was approved in July 2023.
Our hope is that removing the sight and sound of the noisy, busy road from the World Heritage Site will open up the Stonehenge landscape and enable people to better explore and enjoy it.
Our priority is to care for and conserve Stonehenge for future generations. As part of this, we would like to see the stone circle returned to its intended landscape setting so that it can be understood and appreciated in context, without the experience being ruined by traffic.