Simon Jenkins, ex Chairman of The National Trust, cuts through the false narrative of “a tunnel intended to restore tranquility” with devastating accuracy. Time is short, please act today.
“Stonehenge is not like France’s Lascaux Caves, so fragile they have had to be closed in favour of a facsimile. What you see is what you get, robust stones requiring little upkeep. Indeed their thrill is as much the view from afar as from close to, and is enjoyed by millions who drive past on their way to the West Country. It is the thrill of a glimpse, a passing reminder of the longevity of human habitation in this land. I love this view, as I do the distant sight of Lindisfarne or Arundel or Dover. Motorists are as entitled as paying visitors to delight in the English landscape.
English Heritage’s vision of Stonehenge is of a disordered jumble of stones set in a lawn within a serene park. Fair enough, but for millions of people the distant view from the road is no less valid. I find it extraordinary to spend, at the last count, £540 million marginally to improve the Stonehenge environs for one group of beneficiaries.
The A303 bottleneck could be cured by leaving the existing road one way westbound, and finding an alternative pathway to the south for an eastbound route. The landscape would look much as it does now but without the jams. Motorists would continue to get an uplifting glimpse of their past. The Wiltshire hillside would be scarred but it would not be torn open. Millions of pounds would be saved.”