Alton Towers, Through the Eyes of a Coaster Nerd

photos by renowned intertube sorcerer Clinton Montague (we think he implied permission?!)

Remember the Alton Towers post? Of course you don’t. It’s clear from how often people send us henges we’ve already posted that no one goes back and looks at old posts. So be it. We prefer to pretend we have a faithful following that has read every post since the beginning, and remembers each one and what we said about it–so play along, people!

For a slow, arguably too detailed, account of the development of the Alton Towers property from Iron Age Fort to hunting lodge to grand estate to public gardens to amusement park you can have a look at the Wikipedia entry here. Or not. The relevant phrase is “A building known as Stonehenge”. Well put. It doesn’t say anything like “a building that looks like Stonehenge”. There is a reason for that, as you can see.

But since you, faithful reader, remember our discussion of that from the first post, no need to go over it again. The interesting point here is that these photos are brought to you by Alton Towers’ unique (we think?) position as a mecca for roller coaster enthusiasts and those who seek out Stonehenge replicas (if such people exist. Surely they do–every other kind of person does!).

Mr. Clinton Montague a.k.a. @iblamefish kindly took these pictures for us, at our request, on what was actually a trip to sample and blog about Alton Towers’ rides. Very kind. We encourage readers to visit replicas we’ve posted and send pictures so we can do what we’ve done here and milk each one for a second or even third post!

By the way, we want to thank another reader and member of the Clonehenge Facebook group, Basha Cohen, for mentioning and linking to Clonehenge in her article Wild and Wacky Stonehenge Replicas at OpenJourney.com. She calls us “the complete listing”. We like that, but must demur–we know there are more out there yet to be found and posted.

Until then, though, we’re still your last best hope. As @Rafael_RNAm tweeted in April, in Portuguese, “Se vc ñ tem o q fazer, faça uma réplica de Stonehenge. Se tem menos coisa ainda, faça um blog sobre as réplicas.” Translation: “If you have time on your hands, make a Stonehenge replica. If you have way too much time on your hands, make a blog about them.

Happy henging!

Alton Towers Stonehenge, Staffordshire

alton-towers2
photo from TowersTimes.co.uk, with permission

Lest we think Stonehenge replicas that barely resemble Stonehenge at all are  a phenomenon limited to clueless Statesiders, today let’s look at one of the older so-called Stonehenge replicas in the U.K., the one in the gardens at Alton Towers in Staffordshire (shown here in the English Heritage National Monuments Record). These days Alton Towers is best known as an amusement park and resort, and a pretty rockin’ one at that, but at one time the estate was best known for its gardens and conservatories.

In the early 1800’s one of the eclectic fancies added to those gardens was this odd construction which is still characterised,  when it’s mentioned at all, as a Stonehenge replica. Hmmm . . . We would guess that they built the smaller faux trilithons, connected them with the higher lintel, stood back, decided it just wasn’t grand enough for those gardens, and went on to add the un-Stonehenge-like fancy at the top just for style.

We weren’t sure whether this belonged on our list of the large permanent replicas, it is so odd. But if the Guidestones are on there, then this should be, too, right? Score: 5 druids. Don’t grumble and say that’s too high. It was built by Brits–maybe they knew something we don’t!