Stonehenge was given to the nation in 1918. So far, almost a century later, the nation has done a remarkably bad job at looking after it.
The situation at the site is currently, as its custodians English Heritage put it, ‘severely compromised’ and as others like leading archaeologist Mike Pitts would say, ‘ an embarrassing, abominable, inexcusable mess’. For decades, plans have been put forward to improve the site and then postponed.
Two main roads not only thunder past but divide the circle of stones from the Avenue that should lead to it. The findings from Stonehenge are scattered piecemeal between some sixteen different museums and private holdings around the country. For the almost one million annual visitors drawn there, it can be a dispiriting experience, with the stones themselves fenced off and the current ‘visitor centre’ resembling a British Rail station built in the 1970s. Overall, it can be a bit like having a picnic in a car park.
Just last week the Government announced that it would no longer help finance the proposed new landscaping and visitor centre which Labour had announced last October.
On the face of it, this might seem perfectly reasonable. A saving of £10 million would result. We all know that cuts have to be made; the Government claims that Labour committed to projects that were never affordable. Read more…