Private Bespoke Guided Tours ofand
Oldbury Tours offer bespoke guided tours of Avebury and Stonehenge. We look to provide unique experiences and create lasting memories of your visit to this exceptional area.
So much of the landscape of this part of the UK is still modelled to the designs of ancient peoples; great monuments stand proud in beautiful surroundings testament to the ambition, skills, determination and beliefs of long vanished cultures. It is our desire to introduce you to the countryside and its story as told by these remnants of times past.
Ancient relics of long vanished cultures
For good reason people want to visit Stonehenge and Avebury but there is a wealth of lesser known monuments within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. These include West Kennet Long Barrow andmost famously, but also The Devil’s Den, , , , the Sanctuary, the Stonehenge Cursus, , and to name a few.
The countryside between the two world famous monuments is littered with these unique prehistoric sites and while seeing Stonehenge and Avebury is an absolute must their story is not complete without exploring the surrounding area. The fascinating places we explore on our tours are all intimately linked. Combined they tell the story of 4000 years of human history before the Romans even turned up.
An experienced guide will greatly enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of this exceptional part of the world. Click here to read more on why we believe you need to hire a guide.
For a selection of our tours or to enquire about availability please click on the appropriate button below. We look forward to showing you around.
Local knowledge and Archaeological Enthusiasm
As part of this website we have included articles about the main places we visit on our tours. Reference is made to several authors when talking about the monuments and sites of importance. The idea behind the tours, and therefore these articles, is to link local knowledge and enthusiasm with the expertise and research of professional archaeologists. The books, pamphlets and articles referenced contain the most up-to-date science available having mostly been written in the 21st century by foremost archaeologists of our day. We recommend them for further reading in the bibliography. Please click on the button here to see the list.
Wiltshire bred – Music and Archaeology
I grew up in Wiltshire and have always considered it to be home, my parents having moved from my birthplace of Liverpool to Marlborough in 1969 just after my 3rd birthday. Growing up in a musical family I was surrounded by my twin passions: music and the Wiltshire landscape. As children the outdoors was always the playground of choice for me and my older brother Harvey to the point where my mother told my wife, Sian that she hardly ever saw us. Whether we were up at the crack of dawn to fish the Kennet and Avon canal or river Kennet, go metal detecting (we never found much luckily), or just roaming the countryside we were rarely to be found indoors.
The landscape had an enduring and indelible effect on me: the huge open skies, the changing light and the ever present lumps, bumps and stones. Burial mounds and standing stones are always likely to intrigue an enquiring boy’s mind and I was fascinated by these very tangible and accessible remnants of remote times.
The thirst for knowledge – a passion ignited
By the age of 14 I was a boy at the marvellously British establishment of Marlborough College (Kate Middleton is one of the school’s more recent old pupils), where my father was a member of staff (a beak) in the music department. When we were asked to do a school history project on a subject of our choice I had no hesitation but to base mine on Wiltshire’s prehistory. My project was entitled ‘Walking the Ridgeway’ and was a study of the ancient ‘road’ and the surrounding landscape. From that time I knew there was no better way to learn a subject than by immersing yourself in it and physically getting as close as possible.
With my father I walked the 45 miles of The Ridgeway (an ancient path along the chalk escarpment) in 3 days from Overton Hill to Streatley on the Thames in Oxfordshire and separately visited all the major archaeological sites it passes through and by. It was then and for some years to come my proudest achievement both physically and academically.
A Degree in Archaeology and Classical Studies
A few years ago I ‘went back to school’ as my wife Sian puts it. Combining a music career with studies I gained my BA from the Open University in 2013 studying archaeology and the history, society and mythology of Classical Greece and Rome. Since then I have furthered my knowledge by reading the most relevant books, texts and publications regarding prehistoric Wiltshire that I have been able to find time to do. As a member of the Council for British Archaeology and the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society and their associated field group I endeavour to keep abreast of all the new discoveries, theories and science in my field of interest.
Archaeology with the experts
I have also been extremely fortunate to be involved in three recent archaeological digs. The first was in Pembrokeshire with George Nash where the research aim was to confirm that the Trefael Stone was once the capstone of a cromlech or burial chamber. In the summer of 2014 I was a volunteer at the ‘Between The Avenues’ dig lead by Josh Pollard and Mark Gillings where the research agenda was to verify the presence of a Neolithic settlement site on the course of the West Kennet Avenue in the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site. And for the last two years I have taken part in the excavations at Marden in the Pewsey Vale. If you would like to see what I have been up to recently archaeologically please visit the Oldbury Tours facebook page via the icon below.
The other hugely beneficial experience for me has been being part of the team of National Trust guides at Stonehenge. The volunteer guides are all trained by Dr Nicola Snashall (National Trust archaeologist along with Dr Ros Cleal for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site) and I have learnt an enormous amount from her especially but also from some of the other experienced guides, particularly Mike Robinson.
Music – my other passion
Briefly: as a musician I have spent the last 25 years giving concerts, recording and touring the world having reached the top of my profession as Principal Horn of the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I have played on many soundtracks including James Bond, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean, from Gravity and the new Poltergeist film to Paddington, Shrek and Finding Nemo. None of this is particularly relevant to my role as a tour guide except that my touring has enabled me to visit over 100 World Heritage Sites on 6 continents and learn first hand how to be a tourist. Additionally throughout this time I have never lost my passion for reading and have certainly had plenty of travel time to pursue it.