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View Full Version : Stonehenge Meet III - Bonfire night 4,5,6 Nov



Firefox
31-10-2011, 21:01
Yes, we just can't keep away from the place.

Bring some firewood and fireworks for Sat night. All welcome!!

In case you don't know where it is, it's here:

Stonehenge - Google Maps (http://g.co/maps/4vusu)

The DroveWay byway off the A344 just about 1/4 mile West of the stones.

Viktor
31-10-2011, 23:19
Not without full PPE including those special snag lock trousers to jam the chain in the event of over enthusastic downcuts lol!

Firefox
31-10-2011, 23:59
I'm just sticking to carrying wood, hahaha. Last time I used my Hessian Tesco's bag for life. It's great for carrying a pile of those intermediate sized logs about the thickness of your wrist. And Tesco replace it free of charge if it wears out. They didn't say anything about not carrying firewood, but that's actually lighter than tins and bottles from the store ;-)

Viktor
01-11-2011, 00:13
Well I'll be there Saturday late afternoon about 5pm....(All Black Toyota Van).

maingate
01-11-2011, 11:40
Please tell me if I have missed something. :help:

This is the area which is under threat of becoming out of bounds to motorhomes and other vehicles, due to proposed legislation (as previously highlighted on this forum).

A group of people in vehicles intend to spend the weekend parked up there, with bonfires lit. I expect they will leave no mess behind but how does this affect the future of the place?

In the past, it has been mentioned on here as a good place for an overnighter by a number of people. The loss of it would be felt by many.

I am not being a Troll, or being nasty. I am genuinely puzzled by this meet, especially when there are a number of other sites where one could be held.

I also wonder that if there was a move to ban vehicles, would anyone get involved or turn up for public meetings to oppose any changes.

Firefox
01-11-2011, 13:03
I am genuinely puzzled by this meet, especially when there are a number of other sites where one could be held.

Good call. I'd be most grateful if you could PM me with the details of the"number of other sites" within 100 miles of Stonehenge, where with no arrangement, one can fit 50 vans for an evening, have a bonfire, let off some fireworks (without disturbing anyone). Then we leave the place tidier than we we found it and go home the next day... it's a genuine request by the way, it will be useful information :)

maingate
01-11-2011, 15:16
So, amongst the 3,000 POI's, that was the only place then.

Hardly worth the bother to download.

Viktor
01-11-2011, 16:37
Lol...maingate...this spot is due to be closed shortly with this road being dug up and removed from the map...we ARE
going to lose it when English Heritage gets the legislation passed....all we're doing it getting to see it before it goes....

I doubt I'll be back at Stonehenge before it's gone for good....so it's a last visit likely for me.

kangooroo
01-11-2011, 17:02
Having camped on the site myself, I can see both sides.

Instinct roars at me that any camping in the short-term should be low-profile and discreet because large groups, bonfires and fireworks are going to attract attention, even if they're not causing any local nuisance. The continued presence of vehicles and groups at what could be considered a 'delicate' time in view of the proposals for its closure, probably isn't going to help our cause or any pending review - officials will be increasingly aware of our underlying objectives of wanting to retain it as a free wildcamping spot.

However, I can also see the other side to the argument: I expect the byway will soon be closed and there will be very few opportunities left to use it before it's permanently lost.

dc6947
01-11-2011, 17:52
I recently went to a meet which was at Woodhenge just around the corner... had a nice fire going and everything no problems, and a bit lower profile than the stonehenge site.

maingate
01-11-2011, 17:56
Thanks for the info.

Kangooroo stated it very well and feels the same as me about focusing attention for the wrong reason.

If it is a foregone conclusion about the change then I suppose it does not matter now.

English Heritage are a law unto themselves. A week long meet at their HQ would be a better place for a protest. Especially with plenty of firewood and fireworks.

Firefox
01-11-2011, 21:45
Maybe time to clarify a couple of things...

The closure to traffic is not a random process but it is still somewhat of a stitch up. The byway won't be erased, it will remain open to horses and foot traffic ie A bridleway

There has already been a public enquiry into the TRO, and the inspectors are considering the evidence and will report on whether closure to traffic is to be recommended. Us camping there the odd weekend does not form part of that evidence. That part is over and done with. There are already people camping there frequently, off the road, as well as using the byway to pass and repass. After the inspectors make their recommendation, there will still be an appeals process. If the decision is unfavourable

And yes, we will be protesting on Dec 3-4 and/or lobbying the DPM/Transport secretary to answer Maingate's question. I have already started the process.

I'm still awaiting his list of sites where we can have decent gathering and a camp fire on the odd occasion, but I suspect if we look into other BOATs which are wide enough, this may unearth some interesting and remote locations which aren't on the the POI. However the surfacing of some of these may be questionable. The one at Stonehenge is 12m wide with big grass verges and a stone track where you wont get stuck so it ticks all the boxes of being central enough, wide enough, surfaced enough, and well away from habitation or NIMBYs.

Firefox
01-11-2011, 22:02
I recently went to a meet which was at Woodhenge just around the corner... had a nice fire going and everything no problems, and a bit lower profile than the stonehenge site.

We also checked out Woodhenge. There is some hard standing parking but only for 4 or 5 vans.

There is a track off Fargo road, but this has been closed off with a large concrete blocks when we were there I guess it may be possible to have a fire down on the track, but parking is very limited.

woodhenge - Google Maps (http://g.co/maps/y7hyk)

I'm not sure if the blocks were around when you were there, but it would be an equally good location if it wasn't for the blocks.

Viktor
02-11-2011, 00:17
Here's the link to the closure news....BBC News - Stonehenge A344 road closure approved (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-15540031)

Perhaps this weekend will be the last chance after all....unless the council block it off with blocks before the 5th!!

Firefox
02-11-2011, 03:32
If you would like to help us keep this Byway open, please use this webpage

https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/contact.htm

Contact highways, and tell them why the Byway should be kept open.

I'd suggest parking on the Byway is not a valid reason, although it is tolerated. The real rights on a Byway are to pass and repass, perhaps to enjoy the countryside or view the stones at certain times.

You might for example tell them that have used or use the byway, and that closure to traffic would represent a loss of amenity to yourself.

kangooroo
02-11-2011, 15:16
If you would like to help us keep this Byway open, please use this webpage

https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/contact.htm

Contact highways, and tell them why the Byway should be kept open.

I'd suggest parking on the Byway is not a valid reason, although it is tolerated. The real rights on a Byway are to pass and repass, perhaps to enjoy the countryside or view the stones at certain times.

You might for example tell them that have used or use the byway, and that closure to traffic would represent a loss of amenity to yourself.


Done - with my tourism promotion, travel-writer and Economic Development hats on. I hope that if we all write in to express our concerns (without any reference to camping) then consideration will be given to keeping the byway open.

Firefox
02-11-2011, 15:37
Thanks, Roo!

If everyone reading this thread could take 5 minutes to put their views to the council it will be really helpful. They have to take another look at it especially if we also lobby the Transport Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

The inspectors in the Public Enquiry recommended closure of the A344. but deferred the decision on the Byway to the council, which suggests the inspectors could not see a firm reason for closure of this Byway.

If you do contact the council, then don't mention parking or camping. Those are not "rights" on a Byway although tolerated if they don't block the byway, so you can't lose rights which don't exist. But the loss of right to pass and repass and enjoy the countryside from the Byway using your vehicle surely would be a serious loss of your rights and amenity when visiting the area of the stones.

Rubbertramp
02-11-2011, 20:02
Here's the link to the closure news....BBC News - Stonehenge A344 road closure approved (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-15540031)

Perhaps this weekend will be the last chance after all....unless the council block it off with blocks before the 5th!!

As a byway open to all vehicles it won't be blocked until due legal process is complete.

By the way.......Ha! (pun intended) You can also access byway 12 from the A303.....turn left a quarter of a mile before the A344 junction....if you come from the West. Turn right the same distance on from that junction if you come from the East....obviously

Rubbertramp
02-11-2011, 20:10
So are you coming up for the weekend then rubber glove ????

I like that ..might change me name to marigold!

Nah...I'd love to but got too much work to do this week. I'll be there on the W/E 5th of December though.

Firefox
02-11-2011, 23:07
Reply from Department of Transport follows... it's official, lobby WCC on this.



Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately this is policy area does not sit within the Department for Transport. Policy for Byways sits with Defra but in this instance the Planning Inspectorate has advised that all correspondence relating to this particular issue should be directed to Wiltshire Council who are responsible for this matter.

Your email has been forwarded to the Programme Officer Mrs Helen Wilson and the current point of contact in the Legal Unit within Wiltshire Council: Mr David Bullock.

They will respond to your email in due course, but if you need to get in touch with the Legal Unit within Wiltshire Council please see how on their website: https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/contact.htm

Kind Regards

Archna Patel
Private Office Correspondence Handling Manager
Department for Transport

Firefox
05-11-2011, 02:13
I'll be there late Sat afternoon probably.

oldish hippy
05-11-2011, 06:23
take care the roads will be busier as m5 shut due to major accident

Viktor
06-11-2011, 12:42
Well I made it to the meeting a little later than I intended, but there were still a few members there. The trip was well worth the
nice mulled wine round the campfire and a good chat ensued. Met Basildog and Kangooroo and a couple of others whose names I can't remember, the dogs and the big docile bunny! A few fireworks later in the evening too.

Thanks everyone for making me welcome!

ourglenard
06-11-2011, 21:15
Hope You all had a great time! Disappointed not to have got there (esp. as nearer, in Kingston, than if at Home..)
Photos coming?....

Firefox
07-11-2011, 01:51
Kangooroo is the one with the photos, and vid of some of the fireworks as well I think.

Nice to meet you Viktor. Thanks for the sticker :) Hope your heater got sorted out.

Mothman
07-11-2011, 08:00
Come on guys photos please please:tongue:

Mothman

kangooroo
07-11-2011, 09:14
A most enjoyable weekend - and good to meet you Victor. Hope you had a safe journey/crossing home.

I'm still at Stonehenge. I have a video of the firework spectacular and possibly a few pics which I'll upload on my return.

In the meantime the challenge is to crawl out of my sleeping bag: it's very cold damp and murky today and just 2 deg inside my van at 10am! (Grateful thanks to Firefox for the hot water bottle!)

Mothman
07-11-2011, 11:00
I will look forward to seeing your pics & video,, nice one:)

Mothman,,

kangooroo
07-11-2011, 22:05
Don't get too excited re the pics and videos. I filmed the fireworks using my cameraphone with its LED light but it has a known fault which Samsung has failed to repair under warranty twice - and it let me down this weekend. A lot of the fireworks footage was lost due to the fault - below is all I've managed to salvage:

Video: The Firework Extravaganza (of sorts...)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFQk5HqacM0

There was only one fire/'group' pic:
http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/3134/p1100530.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/228/p1100530.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

Plus 4-legged friends, Kira and Tylda:
http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/749/photo0173wm.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/214/photo0173wm.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

but Tylda-bun is always happy to pose for photo-calls:
http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/2148/photo0184x.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/833/photo0184x.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

Avebury, late Sunday afternoon:
http://img502.imageshack.us/img502/986/p1100547k.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/502/p1100547k.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

Today, out of curiosity, I did the touristy-bit and joined the throng of visitors through English Heritage's turnstile to see exactly what's on offer at present and why the proposed new development is needed along with subsequent road closures, and how visible the drovers' road is from the Stonehenge site. I had a free pass so didn't have to forfeit 7.50 and I'd have felt thoroughly ripped-off if I had. Here's a walk-through video of what the paying visitors get to see (backing music - not my choice but has to be copyright-free):

Video: Walk around Stonehenge:
Walk around Stonehenge - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD1p70gQpLE)

The stones...
http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/149/p1100565.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/511/p1100565.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/9290/p1100614q.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/20/p1100614q.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

View towards the drovers' track as seen from the visitor trail around the stones.
(Arguably, it doesn't look good or in-keeping with a World Heritage Site...)

http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/696/p1100557t.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/638/p1100557t.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

And in close-up:
http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/1019/p1100567.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/257/p1100567.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

Firefox
07-11-2011, 22:25
First pic is what you can see of the Droveway (second is big zoom so that hardly counts)

This is what you see of the A303. (no zoom)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/A303(T)_Queues_at_Stonhenge_-_geograph.org.uk_-_34458.jpg

And there are worse views. Plus you can hear the continuous traffic thundering past.

Mothman
08-11-2011, 07:33
Looks like a fantastic time was had by all thanks for sharing your pics & vid, nice one guys:)

Mothman,,

kangooroo
08-11-2011, 11:46
First pic is what you can see of the Droveway (second is big zoom so that hardly counts)

And there are worse views. Plus you can hear the continuous traffic thundering past.

Actually, I disagree. As a former tourism consultant working for 3 Councils and involved in issues relating to AoNBs (similar to World Heritage Sites), and an assessor of the visitor experience at English Heritage's sites, skull and crossbone flags waving visibly between standing stones is not what I'd expect to see or consider appropriate.

Although the 'camping area' on the droveway isn't visible from the road, there are unimpeded views from the stone circle and it is much more visible than I'd imagined. The top pic was taken with a wide angle lens and the vans can be seen more clearly than my pic suggests, although cars parked lower on the track could barely be seen at all. While the vans could be considered temporarily parked, the presence of the flags suggests, to me at least, that the camp is rather less transitory. The heavy traffic is also an issue and lorries etc were thundering past throughout my visit and I filmed several pans to show how it intrudes upon and distracts from the stones.

Having visited EH's site yesterday, I was surprised by just how relatively undeveloped it is, the lack of interpretation and can understand why expansion proposals have been made. I'm not saying I particularly like all of the plans, particularly the road train and especially EH's pending almost-monopoly re the site but I can see the issues from both angles.

If we're campaigning to keep the droveway open, which I fully support, then I don't feel that a visible line of old or tatty vans (my own included!), skull & crossbone flags etc particularly helps the cause at a potentially sensitive time and is something we should be mindful of.

Firefox
08-11-2011, 16:01
I agree with you about the flags. They shouldn't be there. The skull and cross bones is army man Steve's! He only put that up a couple of weeks ago. Any vans parked semi permanently should also be moved to hidden areas. We might suggest that it would help our cause in terms of leaflets and lobbying that the flags are removed.

The vans on the track are pretty unobtrusive though, and can't even be seen on other parts of the track. It's only that the Druids tend to park right on the ridge and the other vans congregate near them. I'd hazard a fair guess that most visitors to the stones do not have their amenity disturbed by the track but they do have it disturbed by the A303. The problem with the A303 is that you can hear it big time and thus your eye is drawn to it. Whereas the track is silent so it remains out of mind and out of sight.

The World Heritage site thing is just a marketing term for EH. It doesn't actually mean anything. As we all know what you can see at Stonehenge now was built in the last hundred years by modern man. There was hardly anything standing in the 19th C and no lintel stones. The landscape around is nothing particularly special either. It's mostly fields with a few burial mounds and tumuli such as you can see in many other parts of the UK. Thus the whole area does not merit sanitising in my view, but if the decision is taken to do that, it would be meaningless to tackle minor features if one didn't start with the A303.

ourglenard
08-11-2011, 19:11
Looks like a fantastic time was had by all thanks for sharing your pics & vid, nice one guys:)

Mothman,,

...Seconded!!

Firefox
10-11-2011, 15:36
I agree with you about the flags. They shouldn't be there. The skull and cross bones is army man Steve's! He only put that up a couple of weeks ago. Any vans parked semi permanently should also be moved to hidden areas. We might suggest that it would help our cause in terms of leaflets and lobbying that the flags are removed.

The vans on the track are pretty unobtrusive though, and can't even be seen on other parts of the track. It's only that the Druids tend to park right on the ridge and the other vans congregate near them. I'd hazard a fair guess that most visitors to the stones do not have their amenity disturbed by the track but they do have it disturbed by the A303. The problem with the A303 is that you can hear it big time and thus your eye is drawn to it. Whereas the track is silent so it remains out of mind and out of sight.

The World Heritage site thing is just a marketing term for EH. It doesn't actually mean anything. As we all know what you can see at Stonehenge now was built in the last hundred years by modern man. There was hardly anything standing in the 19th C and no lintel stones. The landscape around is nothing particularly special either. It's mostly fields with a few burial mounds and tumuli such as you can see in many other parts of the UK. Thus the whole area does not merit sanitising in my view, but if the decision is taken to do that, it would be meaningless to tackle minor features if one didn't start with the A303.

Just an update and reminder.

The next visit to Stonehenge, by me anyway, will be on 3 and 4 December where we will also be protesting (for those that want) and handing out leaflets to ask visitors to the track to contact Wiltshire County Council to object to the closure of the track to traffic:

https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/contact.htm

If you haven't already done so, and would like to support keeping open this byway for vehicles then please use the above link to let Wiltshire CC know your views.

On another matter, thanks to Donkey Too (Bruce) from this site for sending me some great printed posters which I will try to get made up with A3 laminate for use on poster boards.

Viktor
10-11-2011, 18:26
Yes great fun and a good time appears to have been had by all. I'd have to agree about the flag....it gives an impression that this is a permanent site and someone is living there.

No I'm still in the Midlands...the manufacturer is trying to sort out the problems...it's voltages between different systems as I have
solar panels, tracking, imobiliser, and heating with radio remote startup.....new parts put in were damaged again, so webasto have sent
an expert down to stick a computer on it and try to identify why and what is happening lol...I'm here probably for a few days yet, but I
have to say that the manufacturer has been great and bending over backwards to sort out the problems.

Here are two photos I took while at the meet.

3606

Viktor
10-11-2011, 18:47
I'm having difficulty getting the second photo up...hopefully it will appear soon (keeps freezing at half upload lol)...just like the
wind on that track....da*n cold!


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