5 minutes from Catkin Lodge is Stonehenge which is the best known of all the stone circles throughout the world. This ancient monument of huge stones solitarily standing on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England has captured imaginations for centuries. In addition to the impressive stone circles (some of which are almost 7 metres high) there are other very interesting features within this site. “The Avenue” which consists of two banks about twelve metres apart forms a 500 metre approach to the site and a similar structure known as “The Cursus” stretches away northward.
Salisbury and all its wonders is only a 15 minute drive from Catkin Lodge. It holds many historical buildings, most notable of which is Salisbury Cathedral which also holds an original copy of the Mgana Carter. Salisbury of today still has a traditional Market Place with several pavement cafes which still holds a medieval street market that flourishes in Salisbury. There are also many traditional Pubs and Restaurants in the City Centre. Salisbury has many surviving buildings in the Tudor style, such as the Pheasant pub that date from late medieval times and contribute much to the architectural atmosphere of the city.
South of Salisbury near the South Coast just 30 minutes from Catkin Lodge, this 375km squared woodland is the largest area of natural vegetation left in England. It has been that way since William the Conqueror gave the area its name in 1079. Befittingly, a number of ancient traditions survive in the forest, including commoners’ rights to graze their stock. There are some 5000 wild ponies and cattle grazing in the forest, and plenty of deer, badgers and foxes residing among the fine stands of oak, beech and holly. It’s a pretty area to drive through, but even better if you get off the roads and onto the walking and cycling tracks.
The 18th century Palladian mansion and gardens at Stourhead are well worth a visit for anyone who appreciates beautiful English country parks. Three small temples, a grotto and the statues of eight English kings are situated within the grounds whose views from all locations are breathtaking. The House contains furniture designed by Chippendale the Younger, as well as paintings and ceramics.