Hello from Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site Team

on Thursday, 17 June 2021. Posted in Archaeology

I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Anne Carney and I took on the role of Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site Partnership Manager in December 2020.

A little bit about me. I grew up in Northern Ireland during the troubles and I have now lived longer in England than in Ireland. I spent a large part of my childhood in Downpatrick surrounded by a range of historic sites which I must admit I took for granted at the time.

Some sites, such as Saul Church and Struell Wells are associated with St Patrick who came to this part of Ireland in 432 A.D. For me, however, the more memorable sites are the megalithic tombs, standing stones and the stone circles that litter the landscape. My dad didn’t seem to get much time off work but I remember that he always took my sister and me to one of these sites for a picnic each Easter. My favourite was the stone circle at Ballynoe. This could, of course, have been because my sister and I got to eat our Easter eggs in amongst the stones! To reach the stone circle you had to walk along a magical sunken lane, which in my young mind fairies lived and I still remember the sense of wonder I felt coming out of the green tunnel into the field with the stones. I also remember being annoyed that my dad (whom I thought knew everything) didn’t know who put the stones there or why. It would be some years before I would find out more about these types of monuments.

Ballynoe Stone Circle is thought to be modelled on the circle at Swindale in Cumbria which is at the same latitude. It is elliptical in shape and consists of over 50 stones up to 1.8 metres high (though many are smaller) which is 35 metres across at its widest point. A portalled entrance is aligned on the setting sun half-way between midwinter and midsummer (around March 21st), and the setting sun at the winter solstice goes down between the Mountains of Mourne.

Side shot of stone circle with green grass and a blue sky with white clouds
Photo courtesy of Gavin Bamford

In addition to visiting Ballynoe again at the winter solstice, a visit to see the amazing archaeology of the Hebrides is high on my wish list.

I studied Ecology at The University of Ulster followed by a Masters degree in Applied Ecology at Southampton University where I met my husband at pottery class! During my career I have worked for range of organisations including a Wildlife Trust, a Groundwork Trust (an urban fringe regeneration charity), several Local Authorities and the Rural Community Council for Hampshire. For the last 15 years I have worked for the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and during that time I undertook a number of different roles, projects and tasks.

Having worked for two protected landscapes I am familiar with looking at the landscape in a holistic manner. I am also aware of the range of issues that threaten its special character, many of which mirror with those found at the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.

I live in Salisbury and have three grown up children, one of whom lives in Australia. The other member of our family is an elderly dog called Charlie who sadly can’t manage long walks any more.

I am looking forward to getting to grips with some of the challenges facing the World Heritage Site and hope it is not too long before I can meet many of you in person.

A small black dog with straggly medium-length hair is looking up at the camera, sitting in grasscamera

Anne Carney
World Heritage Site Partnership Manager

 

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