[Superb recent image courtesy of Thelma June Jackson, Heritage Journal]

By Alan S.

Our next video visit is to a couple of sites close to both the Men an Tol and Bosiliack Barrow previously shown. Boskednan Downs is the site of a restored stone circle with outlier, and several cairns as well as being an area of intense tin mining since prehistoric times.

If there’s a specific site you’d like to see covered in this series, please leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

Historic England’s December guidance document, The Setting of Heritage Assets, has so many “ifs” and “buts” that it provides no clear guidance at all. It says settings need preserving – or maybe not – but there’s no clear indication of which. But more to the point, it’s a fair bet they cast many a backward glance at their own uncomfortable support for depriving the world of the classic view of Stonehenge. Maybe they hoped the public wouldn’t read as far as Section 11, the words of which ensure they are hoisted very high with their own petard:

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“Views which contribute more to understanding the significance of a heritage asset include:

  • those where the composition within the view was a fundamental aspect of the design or function of the heritage asset
  • those with historical associations, including viewing points and the topography of battlefields
  • those with cultural associations, including landscapes known historically for their picturesque and landscape beauty
  • those which became subjects for paintings of the English landscape tradition, and those views which have otherwise become historically cherished and protected.”

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Stonehenge at Sunset, 1840, by William Turner of Oxford. Soon the only people that will see anything remotely like it will be Historic England from high above their own petard.

 

We’ve been saying it for years, officialdom leans over to please detectorists at the expense of the interests and rights of landowners. Well here’s a chance for us to be proved wrong, a document on several detecting groups, in black and white and red. Note, there’s not a single solitary word about the farmer ….

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What say you PAS?  Do you agree with the red bits? No response? Ah, thanks for the proof!

We’re about to start a new year. Will this be the 21st that farmers have been consistently fibbed to – or will the official line finally change?

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Meghan Markle, the woman who rescues beagles rather than chasing after foxhounds and who caused Prince Harry to duck out of a Boxing Day shoot.
Which will ultimately win at the Trust, Meghan’s massive and growing popular appeal or the discredited behind-the-scenes machinations of the Countryside Alliance?

National Trust to transform Stonehenge landscape with wildflower project

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THE Stonehenge landscape will be transformed with wildflowers as part of a restoration project.

It is over 15 years since the start of one of Europe’s largest grassland restoration projects in the Stonehenge landscape and National Trust’s tenant farmers are continuing to improve the quality of the land and diversity of the wild flowers.

Catherine Hosie, the National Trust’s estate manager for Stonehenge Landscape, said: “There are a few areas looking a bit brown just now but they will soon recover.”

For avoidance of doubt: the National Trust is STILL supporting driving a massive surface dual carriageway across a mile of the UNESCO protected Stonehenge World Heritage landscape. Those areas will never recover.


GAME’S UP FOR HARRY

Prince Harry will duck out of royal Boxing Day shoot so he doesn’t upset animal-loving fiancee Meghan Markle

Part-vegan Meghan is known to oppose hunting and is big on animal rights.


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A royal insider said “there are some pretty stunned faces around here.”

Hopefully there are at The Trust too!  Perhaps they’ll finally get it that they are going against the overwhelming current of opinion.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

 

 

A week ago we directed this to the new head of the National Trust:
“Let’s hope Ms McGrady will also reflect on the fact she is heading an organisation that is tolerant of the fact cruel “mistakes” happen on its land at the same time as the Government is introducing a bill increasing the maximum prison sentence for animal abuse from six months to five years! Public attitudes are changing and the real world is impacting upon the fossilised attitudes of the National Trust as never before. Something must surely give? We hope she won’t stand by the fossils!”

Today the pressure on her not to stand by the fossils became even greater:

When it comes to allowing cruel “mistakes” The National Trust no longer has friends in high places. Food for thought.

As the Campaign Against Cruel Sports has just commented: ”

“Meanwhile, this Boxing Day, hunts will parade, and claim that the number of people watching them is a sign that hunting is as popular as ever. This year has shown that not to be true. The election showed that people are massively opposed to the killing of animals. The National Trust story showed that people previously didn’t realise that trail hunting generally equals ‘lethal’ hunting – but more of them do now. And the new Animal Welfare Bill showed that the government has realised that voters in this country want them to be compassionate towards animals. It’s not been a good year for hunting.”  Nor for the Trust!

As the year comes to an end we’ve been trying to find a quote that sums up what’s happening at Stonehenge. We think we’ve found it, and it came early in the year on 17th January 2017 from Simon Banton (in reply to an article by Mike Pitts). It’s power lies in the fact that a year later nothing has changed. Let’s hope there’s still a possibility, with continuing pressure from the public, archaeologists and UNESCO that it will.


“The “at least 2.9km” mantra has turned out to be “2.9km”, so the hope that perhaps sense might prevail and the long tunnel of 4.5km would be given serious consideration has been dashed. When it’s spelled out that the difference is a mere £600M (or 1/8 the cost of refurbishing Parliament) then you have to wonder why the 4.5km option was ruled out in the initial sift……. All this destruction of landscape within the World Heritage Site to save £600M of ersatz “money” that can be generated by quantitative easing on a whim when politicians feel like it.

Come clean, please ….. you and the other short tunnel supporters are in the camp of “it’s this tunnel or nothing, and we’d rather take this tunnel at almost any cost to the wider WHS than lose the chance of removing the A303 from the landscape” aren’t you? That’s truly sad. If the heritage that we hold in trust for the future can’t even count on being defended by the organisations and people charged with looking after and explaining it, what hope is there?


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See our previous posting about it making no sense to have the solstice shindig tomorrow when solstice is today (shortly). English Heritage has just come clean why:


24m24 minutes ago


Based on advice from the druid and pagan communities?!”  Are they in charge now? It wouldn’t be the first time. Remember when astrology was used? As we wrote in 2015 – “You’d think finding when Solstice occurs is simple. You just tweet Prof Brian Cox or NASA. Job done. So it’s a surprise to read an official of the “Open Access to Stonehenge” group saying “As for how our access date is worked out from what I can gather, is a combination of factors:- Astrological time is worked out, up to midday and the access will be on the morning of that date. Midday onwards means access will be on the morning after…”” It transpired that “the President of the British Astrologers Association (who also helps organise Peace Stewards at Stonehenge) “liaises with English Heritage regarding Stonehenge access.” ….
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So much for the Society of Antiquarians saying “there’s a fundamental need to educate and inform the widest possible audience about the past to achieve a better engagement with the public and thus inspire commitment to the heritage.” This isn’t engagement. It’s misinforming.
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Meanwhile, hurrah for the Lantern Parade, taking place about now, comprising people who AREN’T misinformed!
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Update from a pagan in the Stonehenge area, 1.00am, Tuesday 22nd, cold, dark, and with actual Solstice and sunset long gone:

“Not impressed!! EH making it very difficult to attend Winter Solstice 2017. [Ed. To be fair, also on pagan and Druid advice!] Drove closed at 1am, nowhere to park in the vicinity due to cones and Security everywhere, being made to pay to pray – pretty disgusting really……..Letter of complaint to EH will be on it’s way ASAP!!!!”

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