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Thornborough Henges

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Thornborough Henges

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Thornborough Henges

You’ve heard of Stonehenge, but do you really know what a “henge” is? And did you realise that England possesses more than just the stone one in Wiltshire? The Thornborough Henges in North Yorkshire are part of a major Neolithic site, a “sacred vale” covering an area of nearly twenty miles, rivalling Stonehenge in importance. (To see our 360º panorama of Stonehenge, click here.)  The Thornborough site consists of three henges (flat, circular areas delineated by a ditch and bank), each of which is so large that it could contain 10 Stonehenges within its circumference. Such is their scale that it’s like having three massive cathedrals adjacent to each other, and we can only wonder about how many people came to worship here and from how far away. A walkway underneath the central henge is believed to have been constructed in about 3500BC and is in direct alignment with the constellation of Orion, giving Thornborough a claim to be one of the world’s first astrologically centred monuments. In February 2006, this amazing site, threatened by a plan to extract gravel, was saved following a campaign by conservationists.


Your comments

This is a wonderful sacred site, every bit as important as Stonehenge!

Kate Hulme-Sheffield

The sheer scale of this monument is breathtaking. The social cohesion and pure will and effort that were needed to construct it are clear evidence of a group of very organised people on a mission. The only other neolithic monument on this scale is Carnac in Brittany. This site is far more representative of our cultural heritage than the many grand houses we lovingly preserve.
Iain Houghton

These Henges are a wonderful link to our shared past, their setting is particularly important to their overall impact, but they are still under threat of gravel extraction (by Tarmac, in this case). It is incredible to me that anyone is able to 'steal' our heritage from us, and from future generations - before archeologists have even really begun to understand the importance of this site.

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I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer