Monthly Archives: January 2018

A view beyond the stones

By Mr BPD, our blogger for Human Henge at Stonehenge in 2017

I have started to write this several times and I have come to realise that I really hate self-promotion, although this is more about how I got here than slapping myself on the back. But I am very happy and proud of how far I have come and what I hope to achieve.

My story starts in 1971 the year I was born, and one day I plan to write it; but this is about life after Human Henge, so let’s start my story when I arrived in Wiltshire.

I realised after moving to Trowbridge that mental health service were much worse than in the tiny village of Sherborn. Services were limited or miles away and I knew that something was needed and from my experience of mental health services I knew that it had to be service user led and ongoing.

I tried to set to things with up with mental health agencies. I found not that they were resistant. it was more an issues of resources or they were more interested in services that provided projects that were geared either to returning to work or to what I refer to as basket weaving (projects are run for limited time offering no real structure).

I never gave up on the idea of starting something but although I asked for help I could not get the support I needed. Time moved on some, and well I really had become isolated and needed something to give a reason to leave the house and interact with other human beings.

Luckily the Human Henge project came along which gave me a chance to rekindle a few skills, it allowed me to write under the name Mr BPD and reconnect to my spiritual side. After the project ended, which is always a sad part, the group stand together and in touch and meet up regularly.

This connection is the most important part of any project and it only comes when service users invest in a project. I mentioned about setting up a sort of project based around a magazine and the feedback was good and lots of people were interested but sadly the service provided only wanted a basic writing group that I could see would just become a basket weaving group. S I declined the offer to run it as I did not have the skills I believed were needed to make the project a success.

After a change in care coordinator who had different knowledge I was introduced to the person in charge of service user involvement in the mental health trust.

After a few conversations it was very clear that we both wanted the same thing, a user led project that would grow into the service that is needed. I had been let down a few times so did not let myself get too invested.

Just before Christmas we met once again to talk about a venue and thought about Tesco Community Room so we made some enquiries. We found out that we met the requirements to use the room but the person in charge of the diary was not available and would not be back till the New Year so we left our details and waited for a call.

On the 11th January I got a call. Tesco had a cancellation and they had a four-hour slot on Monday and could we meet on the 12th outside Tesco.

We met and agreed we would go for it for four-hours on a Monday, we walked and met with the person in charge of the room. Within minutes we had agreed to take the room on the coming Monday on a long-term basis and came up with the name Trowbridge Users Group (TUG).

We then went off for a coffee and realised what we had just agreed to: it was lunchtime Friday and the first group would be on Monday. There was no time to get the word out but we would try.

So I rushed home to get the word out and by Saturday morning TUG had a functioning website, FaceBook page, Twitter account. The rest of the weekend was propagating content and making posters. And trying to put together a mission statement and a framework of ideas of how the group would run and how service users could be actively involved.

We agreed to starting group as a coffee and chat drop-in and let the group grow organically after finding out what people wanted. I thought it would be good to involve as many service providers as possible, not to run the group but to come in as guest speakers and say what they do and how they can help and how to access the service. This way service users could take a more active roll in their recovery. We all know that the mental health service across this country has been starved of resources and staff are under a deal of great stress and many service users are not informed about services available, so by inviting service providers users can take a proactive role in their recovery.

Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) has one main aim, which is to involve as many service users as possible and become a voice for change within mental health. We are actively encouraging service users to get involved in planning events and running on line services as FaceBook and Twitter Admin and as blog writers. We hope in time to have service users sharing their skills and business ideas and acting as mentors to others. The possibilities for this project are endless and one day I hope it becomes the gold standard for service user involvement and will shape mental health services so they are more service user led.

Things are still in their early days but we have booked the Restoration Trust, Health Watch Wiltshire, and The Wiltshire and Swindon Users’ Network to come in and talk and explain what they do, in time I will be inviting more. And if you’re reading this and feel you have something to offer the mental health service user of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) I would love to hear from you.

I will not devalue the work I have put and will put into Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) but I will say if it was not for the confidence and friends I gained from Human Henge I’m not sure I would have had the guts to push forward. They are a constant source of support and encouragement and have assisted in the launch of the Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) with help proofreading content and joining and sharing the TUG FaceBook page and retweeting news.

If you would like to more about Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) please visit



Twitter @AdminTug


Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) runs every Monday 1 to 5 at the community room, Tesco Extra

County Way


BA14 7AQ

Avebury Blog: Session One – Windmill Hill – 19 Jan 2018

Photos and text by Shane Faulkner

The session started within Avebury Education Room, where we all congregated for formal intros and to chat about the day’s proceedings. A tempting finger buffet was placed before us with red & green grapes, satsumas, fig rolls, garibaldis, biscuits etc. Just what we were going to need for a mornings walk in the chill fresh air.   After filling our pockets with the remaining offerings (ok, just me then) we set off out to the car park. It was a lovely, sunny, crisp and frosty start to the morning which meant for lovely views over the whole area. On walking to the cars, we passed the Alexander Keiller Museum and dovecot, (which will be the focus of a later session) and were able to briefly walk alongside part of the banks of the North West & South West sectors of the henge.

After we did the maths and managed to get everybody into vehicles, we set off for Windmill Hill. Out of the car window, there were fantastic views of Silbury Hill in the near distance. On driving through Avebury Trusloe we arrived at some farm buildings which was to be our rendezvous point. Whilst waiting for all peoples to be ferried up, I took in the view of Windmill Hill ahead. Once we had all arrived, we commenced our walk on up the gentle slope of the hill itself.

We walked along the hedge lined track until we reached Horslips Bridge on the first bend of our path. Under the bridge slowly flows the River Oslip.  The river is said to be fed by springs around Windmill Hill and may have been a primary supply of water for Neolithic peoples of the hill.

On passing the Oslip, I noticed two roe deer in the adjacent field and stopped to take pictures. Further along the path some more deer started to show. We all stopped to take a look at these graceful animals. A total of ten deer emerged and started to walk away from us to the far end of the field.

Slightly further along a volunteer pointed out the location of a long barrow, Horslip Long Barrow. The earthwork, though not fully visible from the path, made its presence known by an area of longer, rougher grass.

After what was a moderate walk for some and a huge walking achievement for others, we reached the start of the enclosed area of Windmill Hill itself. On arrival, I myself was met by the occasional dulcet sounds of song (wink). Some of the group had started to sing a tune and others joined in on arrival, finishing in a crescendo of carefully orchestrated vocal harmonies, at one point out competing the resident skylarks! For me personally, the singing was a great way of releasing certain pent up energies and emotions as well as allowing the opening of the rusty gates of self-expression.

On top of the hill views were fantastic, with a 360 vista of the surrounding downland scene.

One of the leaders gave a talk about the history of the site. Windmill Hill is a causewayed hill enclosure constructed during the early Neolithic, c 3680 BC. It is the oldest site within the Avebury complex.  Covering nearly an estimated 21 acres, the enclosure has three concentric ditches, with the area between these known as the causeways. Believed to have been a more seasonal rather than permanent site, early Neolithic farmers lived in the general area and the use of the enclosure was perhaps more of a meeting place with ceremony, feasting and trade. Within the enclosure are several very distinct Bronze Age round barrows.  From a vantage point on one of these, many of the local prehistoric monuments can be viewed, albeit at distance.  

Looking towards Avebury the henge bank is visible as well as some of the larger standing stones (Stones 50, 201 & 206 which make up the Northern Inner Circle, and 46 the Swindon Stone).

Also visible is West Kennet Avenue, East and West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill as well as the Ridgeway, Barbury Castle, Oldbury Castle and many other sites.

With sunny blue skies and singing skylarks to lift the spirit, we made our way back to the cars, returning the same way we came. Walking along the track I saw around 60 tree sparrows feeding in some set aside field margin. This was a lovely example of how the local conservation effort by groups/landowners is paying off.  I also noted a few nest boxes put up to help this species, so thumbs up to the landowner.

A great morning of fresh air, exercise, lots of history, beautiful scenery and some lovely nature.

Looking forward to next week!

Human Henge Press – December 2017

The role of ancient landscapes in mental health 

by Liz Williams

Modern celebrants have been convening at the ancient site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire for many years now: revivalist Druids of the early 20th century, hippies of the 1960s and 70s, New Age travelers and political activists, and modern Pagans have all gathered at the summer and winter solstices to hold free music festivals, conduct rituals, hold raves, and simply acknowledge the turning points of the year.

The role of the site is ongoing and has a highly significant place in the practices of contemporary Pagans worldwide, but not just Pagans alone. As well as solstice rites and ongoing archaeological work, Stonehenge is now the focus for a wider new initiative: the Human Henge Project.

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Image result for the guardian

An article about Human Henge featured in The Guardian to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Hundreds gather for Stonehenge sunrise after winter solstice

by Steven Morris

Some of those attending the winter solstice celebrations at Stonehenge were there to worship, others to party or to simply to enjoy the rise of the sun after the longest night and look forward to lengthening days and springtime.

Despite it being a gloomy, soggy morning in Wiltshire, there was a joyful atmosphere as hundreds of people gathered to witness the light return.

There is evidence that spending time near or within the standing stones can actually be good for mental wellbeing.

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