Let­ters

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

YOUR leader, ‘See­ing Stone­henge’ (Fe­bru­ary 22) ad­vo­cates widen­ing the A303 in­stead of build­ing a tun­nel past the mon­u­ment, in or­der that mo­torists may con­tinue to view the stones as they travel. This ar­gu­ment misses the point of the long cam­paign for a tun­nel, which has, shame­fully, now gone on for at least 50 years with­out res­o­lu­tion.

The prin­ci­pal ob­jec­tive of the Na­tional Trust (which owns the land) and English Her­itage (which owns the mon­u­ment it­self) through­out my time at the Trust was to re­store the whole down­land set­ting of Stone­henge to its orig­i­nal nat­u­ral con­di­tion. To set this aside in favour of con­tin­ued—and even in­creased— in­tru­sion of roads and traf­fic at this renowned World Her­itage Site must be to choose the wrong pri­or­ity. Sir An­gus Stir­ling, for­mer Di­rec­tor-gen­eral, Na­tional Trust

FAR from caus­ing ‘more up­heaval’, Gov­ern­ment plans for a tun­nel past Stone­henge of­fer ma­jor ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing al­le­vi­at­ing the con­ges­tion that frus­trates so many trav­ellers on this route. It would re­move the ma­jor­ity of the ex­ist­ing, dam­ag­ing sur­face A303 and its traf­fic from the World Her­itage Site and en­able wildlife to flour­ish. It would fi­nally re­unite the north and south sides of this an­cient land­scape and al­low peo­ple to ex­plore and un­der­stand it bet­ter.

Widen­ing the A303 is not a ‘cheer­ful op­tion’. Such a move would cause se­ri­ous harm and even risk the World Her­itage Site sta­tus of Stone­henge. The cur­rent pro­pos­als need im­prove­ment and sen­si­tive de­tail­ing, par­tic­u­larly around the western por­tal. It is im­por­tant that they do not dam­age or de­tract from the ex­ist­ing land­scape, but, if it is in the right place and de­signed well, the tun­nel scheme is an his­toric op­por­tu­nity to do the right thing by Stone­henge and its an­cient land­scape. Dun­can Wil­son, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, His­toric Eng­land

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