I have pasted up a number of posts in the last couple of years relating to the scavenging / opportunistic activities of Neolithic groups who were seeking to do interesting things with stones. Many writers including Aubrey Burl, Chris Scarre, Olwen Williams-Thorpe, Steve Burrow and Stephen Briggs have argued that in the UK and Ireland those who were involved in the building of megalithic sytuctures (eg burial chambers, stone alignments and standing stones) AND those who were involved in the manufacture of stone axes almost always used what was to hand -- and in the glaciated parts of the UK this meant either building things and doing things next to rock outcrops where big and little stones were readily available, or else simply picking stones up wherever they were available in the open countryside -- in the erratic litter. We can demonstrate this over and again with respect to dolmens or cromlechs, and standing stones. Nobody went to the bother of carting stones a long way -- instead, if they wanted to build things, they built them right at the place where the stones were available. Avebury, Carnac, Pentre Ifan, Garn Turne, Waun Mawn, Stanton Drew, etc etc.......
There is a whole branch of archaeology related to stone axes and implement petrology; this is highly commendable, and it has brought about a creative dialogue between archaeologists, geologists and geomorphologists. Groups of stone axes were identified on the basis of their stone types (labelled Groups I - XXXII) and a lot of effort went into provenancing. That meant that people went off hunting for quarries and factories all over the UK in a rather uncritical fashion -- and developed a range of theories about trading activities. After all, if a group of axes of a particular type was found at locality A, and the rock type was traceable back to locality B, was it not self-evident that there must have been a quarry and an axe factory at A and trading activities which brought the axes to B? On a number of occasions Stephen Briggs and Olwen Williams-Thorpe and others have urged archaeologists to be a little more cautious in their assumptions of sophisticated trading networks -- and have said that until we know the precise patterns of erratic transport in the UK it is actually rather foolish to assume trading links of any sort, simply on the basis of where axes might be discovered in the field. I would argue, with these authors, that it is much more likely that axes were simply fashioned where erratics of a convenient rock type were found by our Neolithic ancestors.
This means that we must be much more circumspect in making assumptions about (a) Neolithic quarries; (b) Neolithic axe factories; and (c) monuments being constricted on ley lines or in locations of high "earth energy" or astronomical significance.
Have a look at these other posts:
Stonehenge Thoughts: Megalithic structures -- the big issue
And the relevance for those areas outside the supposed glaciation limit? There is no reason that those who lived in Southern England and who wanted to build with stone, or to make stone axes, would have behaved any differently from their neighbours in the north and west. Whatever their aspirations might have been, their first instinct would always have been to USE WHATEVER WAS AVAILABLE IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD. If they had no handy materials for making good axes, I suppose they might have gone looking for them -- and that is when trading kicks in.
Scavenging, opportunism and utilitarianism ruled -- ritual (whatever that is) came later in the list of priorities.