Stonehenge bus route will link the stones with the Wiltshire Heritage and Avebury Museums

By Ben Miller | 12 July 2010
A photo of huge grey stones on grass at sunset

Stonehenge (above) could be about to get a bus service

What do you call a bus ride between the mythical rocks of Stonehenge and the ancient surrounding tors and heritage sites? So far suggestions have included the Sarsen Safari, the Wiltshire Wanderer and the Henge Hopper.

"We've also had the Druid Express, the Stone Circle Line and the Stone Circular," says David Dawson, describing responses to an online survey inviting thoughts on the potential service. "But some of those might not be very Google-friendly."

In his role as Director of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, Dawson has devised the idea of a shuttle between Stonehenge and nearby Avebury. It will allow history fans to hop between landmarks such as stone circle spot Silbury Hill, the nearby Neolithic West Kennet Long Barrow tomb, the mysterious Marden Henge and the excellent Wiltshire Heritage Museum.

A small group of members are pursuing £11,000 in regional European Union funding to pilot the scheme this summer, running as frequently as once an hour with an all-inclusive fare which will include admission to the venues and travel.

"We've been talking for ages about getting more visitors in," says Dawson, contemplating figures showing that the 800,000 annual visitors to Stonehenge often miss out on seeing equally rewarding attractions in the region.

The Museum's renowned collection includes the Bush Barrow, Britain's richest Bronze Age burial found in 1808, but its own website admits that transport to Stonehenge is "extremely difficult".

a square gold belt hook

Wiltshire Heritage Museum's Bush Barrow

"You never know how people will actually use it until it's running," accepts Dawson. "The idea is that it will cost £10 and take people round various attractions to save them money on bringing their car."

The survey is asking the public to give their views on a wide variety of potential knock-on effects, from the option to sample local beers to a podcast or CD commentary in the offing for their magical mystery tour.

An overwhelming majority have favoured a round trip between the two points, and most said they liked the idea of exploring the secrets of the hills along the way. With the launch of the route looking imminent, they may be about to get their wish.

Fill out the online survey to have your say.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned: