In 2017, an archaeological survey of the Henge Close site provided evidence to suggest that West Adderbury had a settlement of around 50 people in the Neolithic and early Bronze Ages (3000 – 2000 BC). Considering the population of Britain at the time was only around 20,000, this was clearly a settlement of some importance.
The survey discovered that the site included two henges and a round house. There are a number of stone henges in the UK, including the famous Stonehenge and the more local Rollright Stones. The henges discovered in West Adderbury were wood, rather than stone, henges.
Only around fifty such henges are known in England, including one at nearby Broughton. Typically, wood henges are found close to confluences of rivers or streams. They are circular monuments, enclosed by a ditch and bank and with an entrance leading to the centre. The monuments were further defined by arrangements of timbers and/or pits.
No-one knows for certain what these wood henges were used for. They may have had spiritual or ceremonial significance, or they may have been linked to agriculture or livestock in some way. The henges may even have been used as burial sites.
Many West Adderbury residents were in favour of using the parish land adjacent to the henge site to create a reconstruction of the monument, but unfortunately this idea did not gain support from the wider Adderbury community. We can imagine how the West Adderbury henge might have looked using the image below, which show a reconstructed henge in Milfield in the north of England. The reconstruction now forms part of a local heritage trail.