In the morning of the April day chosen for T H WHITE’s regular team hike, the weather didn’t look promising.
In fact it looked so un-promising, with sheets of rain hammering against the windscreen and flooded fields on either side of the road, that it was all I could do to persuade my very doubtful family not to turn the car around and go home. For days beforehand they had been assuming the family-friendly team walk, open to all employees, would be cancelled due to rain. And although I assured them that my colleagues at T H WHITE are made of strong stuff and wouldn’t be put off by days of torrential downpours, they climbed into the car in a state of quiet disbelief as we set off for Avebury.
We were due to start walking at 8:45 from the Sanctuary car park and continue over a circular route to include a visit to Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill, traverse the impressive stone circle at Avebury and after seven miles, meet at the Waggon and Horses pub for a well earned lunch.
The weather forecast stayed frustratingly accurate as we assembled in the car park and layered up our waterproofs. Then we set off towards one of the largest, most impressive and most accessible Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain.
Built in around 3650 BC, Kennet Long Barrow is a chambered barrow, used for a time as a burial chamber. Nearly 50 people have been exhumed from inside its rooms, constructed with impossibly huge limestone boulders. Although it’s part of the Avebury World Heritage Site, it is extraordinarily open, and we were able to wander both inside and all over the buried, turf covered structure.
From there we filed down a slight incline to the large and mysterious Silbury Hill, The biggest man-made earth mound in Europe, which compares in height and volume to the (roughly) contemporary Egyptian pyramids.
Silbury Hill was probably completed in around 2400 BC and although clearly important in itself, its purpose and significance remain unknown as it it apparently contains no burial or anything of much value. Over the years there have been several excavations of the hill, which appear to suggest it is empty of pretty much everything aside from earth. There were some damp feet as we crossed the lower ground to get a better view!
From there we walked into the attractive Avebury village, which is incongruously built partly inside an impressive neolithic henge. The henge in question was constructed and much altered between 2850 BC and 2200 BC, and now survives as a colossal circular bank and ditch, and is the largest stone circle in Britain – originally of about 100 stones – which in turn enclose two smaller stone circles.
From Avebury we had a dry stomp to complete the route and get off to the pub, to warm up and drive away the damp with chips and a pint in front of a roaring log fire. There were plenty of stories about what we had seen and a wonderful feeling of achievement that everyone managed to complete the walk and we all had a great time. I’m not usually one for going out in the rain, but I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a Saturday.
And although I’m quite new to T H WHITE, I’m convinced that when it comes to company culture, we definitely know how to walk the walk!
Sim Barker, Group Marketing