Friday, 31 March, 2023

‘Stonehenge of north’ opens to public in England

‘Stonehenge of north’ opens to public in England

LONDON: England on Friday opened public access to a little-known neolithic complex of huge circular earthworks seen as rivalling Stonehenge in importance, after the site‘s owners gave it to the nation, reports AFP.
Thornborough Henges in Yorkshire, northern England, were not previously accessible to the public and featured on a list of heritage sites at risk.
English Heritage, a charity that cares for state-owned historic sites and monuments, called the site the Stonehenge of the North as it opened free public access.

We are thrilled to have acquired this highly significant site for the nation, ensuring that these magnificent monuments are safe and will be preserved for generations to come, said Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, the public body responsible for historic monuments.
The site is made up of three henges, or giant circular earthworks more than 200 metres (655 feet) in diameter.
Standing on moorland, they are believed to have been built for ceremonies and rituals in the period between 3500 and 2500 BC.
This potentially makes the site older than Stonehenge, dating from around 2500 BC, which also features henges. Both were built before Britons had metal tools.
The earthworks at Thornborough may originally have been covered with a mineral called gypsum and glowed white, English Heritage said.
Still visible today are circular banks up to four metres high and encircling ditches.

Two of the henges were given to the nation by Tarmac group, a road-building company that owned the land.

The third henge is still in private ownership and under woodland.

The henges were added to Historic England’s at-risk register in 2009 due to erosion from farm animals and rabbits grazing. They are now due to be removed from the register.

Stonehenge standing stone circle in southwestern England is one of the UK’s best known tourist attractions, with over 330,000 visitors in 2021.