NOW we know for sure that the big stones came from the West Woods, which, it is claimed, would have been without trees at the time Stonehenge was built, we thought it would be interesting to highlight a small chapter in the site’s history.

Today, only earthwork bumps survive to remind us of Stonehenge’s First World War airfield.

It was the airfield’s very existence that triggered debate about whether Stonehenge should be ‘restored’ to a more appropriate setting, and about what modern ‘intrusions’ in the landscape were and weren’t acceptable – a debate that continues today.

The removal of the airfield was just the first stage in a long process that would transform the monument’s setting.

It was only in the late 20th century that the arable land nearest to Stonehenge was converted to pasture.

The belief that Stonehenge’s impact, in the words of a 1936 Office of Works official, was ‘lost and the spell broken unless it stands in solitary grandeur dominating the bare plain’, has been at the heart of efforts to manage its surroundings ever since.

The idea that a working military airfield could have been sited so close to Stonehenge seems extraordinary now.

Perhaps this is one reason why a rumour started that the RAF wanted Stonehenge demolished because the stones were a hazard to flying.

According the English Heritage, the story seems to have first appeared in print in 1956 in the book Stonehenge by Professor Richard Atkinson in which he wrote: “It is said that the authorities concerned demanded, in all seriousness, that the monument should be demolished, as its stones constituted a dangerous hazard to low-flying aircraft.”

The story has recently been examined by Martyn Barber of Historic England.

His research uncovered nothing to suggest that an official request to knock down Stonehenge was ever made.

In fact the records reveal that the military co-operated fully with the Society of Antiquaries, who maintained a map of all the archaeological sites in the area to make sure their locations were known.

Photographs courtesy of English Heritage.