- Why is the Avebury World Heritage Site important?
- Who is involved in the management of Avebury?
- The Avebury WHS project staff & contact details
- World Heritage Site education resources
- How to get to Avebury
The landscape around Avebury contains some of the most important surviving prehistoric archaeological monuments in the British Isles. Since its inscription on the World Heritage List, jointly with Stonehenge*, in 1986, the principal prehistoric sites within this landscape have been universally acknowledged as of international cultural significance.Within the 23 square kilometres of the WHS the monuments are of exceptional size and interest, including remains of the largest stone circle in the British Isles, the longest stone avenue (West Kennet), one of the longest Neolithic burial mounds (West Kennet long barrow) , one of the largest causewayed enclosures (Windmill Hill), and the largest prehistoric mound in Europe (Silbury Hill).
As well as these key monuments, the landscape contains a wealth of archaeological remains including well-preserved Bronze Age round barrows which belong to one of the greatest concentrations of round barrows in the country. Over 330 archaeological sites are known within the WHS, 160 of which are Scheduled Monuments. The area is also of national significance for its nature conservation interests and it is wholly situated within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A measure of Avebury's uniqueness is its appeal to a wider variety of people. 350,000 annual visitors are attracted to Avebury, including a large element of international tourists. Pagans also visit the site as a place of contemporary celebration and gathering.
Unlike Stonehenge, the monuments at Avebury do not stand in isolation. The Village of Avebury, with its Saxon origins, and the main road share the interior of the henge with the stone circle, making use of the original entrances for the road pattern and of many of the stones themselves for building material. This close proximity gives Avebury a unique atmosphere, with the busy life of the village going on in and around the monuments. However, this proximity which brings with it the management responsibility of balancing the needs of the village, the visitors and the preservation of the monuments.
You can find more information about Stonehenge on the English Heritage website.
Who is involved in the Management of Avebury? The main monuments in Avebury are managed by the National Trust who own and manage just under a third of the WHS for the purposes of permanent preservation and public access. As the key monuments are in Guardianship, The Trust works in partnership with English Heritage to provide the best possible management for these monuments. The rest of the WHS is in multiple ownership and is an intensely farmed landscape with a thriving local village at the core of the area. Several other key organisations and agencies are involved in the management of Avebury including Natural England.
The Avebury WHS Project was originally set up in 1996 to develop a Management Plan. A member of staff is now employed (funded by Wiltshire Council) to implement the Plan and co-ordinate the management of the WHS. Contact details can be found on the left.
Last updated: 22 August 2011