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Road to ruins

Plans are afoot to transform Stonehenge in the next few years. John Ezard visits the focus of this weekend’s summer solstice

You still feel it, however long it is since you last saw Stonehenge – an odd lurch in the pit of the stomach when your car crests Countess Hill on the A303 and it first comes into view: this little cluster of part-broken stone toadstools in the middle of open countryside.

The road dips, then begins to climb again. When it reaches its highest point, it is still lower than the monument, which now looks sturdy and formidable, particularly when the sun is behind it. It still draws the eye from all over this area of Salisbury Plain, as it was meant to.

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The best country retreats in Britain

Babington House, Somerset

The original cool country house hotel is five years old this year. When Soho House owner Nick Jones decided to open a country retreat for his hip media members, he originally envisaged a typical country hotel. It was style goddess Ilse Crawford who pointed out that there were many of these already and that perhaps his members might prefer somewhere more relaxed and urban.

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