More than five years ago we campaigned for “Achievable Stonehenge”, suggesting a good first stage ought to be changing this…

to this…

It didn’t happen, but thankfully it soon will (albeit not as the speedy two stage project we had hoped for). There’s a problem though. The above is a distant view. It closely equates with English Heritage’s published intention and their vow to work towards “returning Stonehenge to splendid isolation”. But it doesn’t show a close-up of the stones.

There isn’t a clear, definitive account of what is proposed regarding access to them. EH say the high chain link fence will be replaced by more appropriate stock fencing and other fences will be removed “where possible” – but their video shows the fence simply being swept away and no other fences replacing it at all.

So WILL there be fences? And far more importantly, where? And even more crucially, will visitors have free access into the circle or not? It’s not that we don’t like the idea of splendid isolation, it’s that certain compromises are probably inevitable yet aren’t being discussed. A lot of people – particularly those of a “Free the Stones” persuasion – seem to think “splendid isolation” means “access at will”. On the other hand, in the sixties half a million visitors a year were allowed inside the circle and unsurprisingly the grass died and was replaced with orange gravel and then the circle was closed. These days twice as many people come. So what’s the plan? There must be one by now so why not simply tell the public exactly what it is?