Devizes (Wiltshire)

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We stayed in Devizes with Kathy and Cully Wilcoxon, and Cully acted as our tour guide of the area (shown above pointing to Silbury Hill). Devizes is an old market town, not too dissimilar (but much larger) than my hometown of Wantage, some 40 miles away. It was chilly and damp when we arrived, so we had a quick walk to the local church and canal before heading home to warm up.

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Our first day was spent visiting Laycock Village and Castle Coombe. Laycock Village has been used as the setting of many period tv drama series, and is unique in being owned by the National Trust. As this was the pre-Christmas period, then raindeer seemed to be everywhere.

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Laycock Manor is a charming building and houses a Fox Talbot exhibition as he took the very first photograph ever from within his home in the Manor. The photo below is of the very window which appeared in the very first photo in the world!

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Scattered around the village are many other interesting buildings and some rather strange topiary.

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Next, we drove a little further to yet another hugely picturesque village of Castle Coombe. This would have looked stunning on a sunny day!

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On our second day, Culley took us to see the ancient stone circles at Avebury and the nearby East Kennet Long Barrow. It was 21st December, the day of the Winter Solstice, and we saw many strangely dressed people presumably gathering to celebrate the shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere). We, of course, had to maintain our tradition of eating icecream when on holiday, and it took no persausion to get Cully to join in too!

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It was a very muddy walk to the long barrow, but well worth it. The landscape around here is littered with ancient burial grounds and the more well known stone circle of Stonehenge is not too far away.

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For most of the time, these hills are the preserve of sheep, not humans.

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© Helen Gray 2021