2020 Summer Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge have been cancelled because of the ban on mass gatherings prompted by the coronavirus.

13 05 2020

English Heritage said it was cancelling the event “for the safety and wellbeing of attendees, volunteers and staff”.

Summer solstice is the longest day of the year

Summer solstice is the longest day of the year

Traditionally about 10,000 people have gathered at the Neolithic monument in Wiltshire, on or around 21st June, to mark midsummer.

The summer solstice is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage normally opens up the stones for public access.

On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle, and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument.

English Heritage said it had consulted with the emergency services and the druid and pagan community, among others, before making the decision.

Stonehenge Director Nichola Tasker said:

“We are very sorry to be the bearers of this news today. Given the sheer number of major events worldwide which have already been cancelled across the summer, from Glastonbury to the Olympics to Oktoberfest, I doubt this will come as a huge surprise, but we know how much summer solstice at Stonehenge means to so many people.

We have consulted widely on whether we could have proceeded safely and we would have dearly liked to host the event as per usual, but sadly in the end, we feel we have no choice but to cancel.”

Senior druid King Arthur Pendragon said it was disappointing but unsurprising.

Visitors at most other times of the year are usually kept at least 5m away from the ancient sarsen stones and bluestones. Stonehenge special access tours do allow you to enter the inner circle before or after the monument is officially open

You can stream this year’s summer solstice live from Stonehenge and we will provide the link on this website soon.

RELEVANT SOLSTICE LINKS:

Coronavirus: Stonehenge summer solstice gathering cancelled – BBC NEWS
Summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge CANCELLED – SPIRE FM
A Pilgrim’s Guide to Stonehenge. The Winter Solstice Celebrations, Summer Solstice and Equinox Dawn Gatherings – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge may have been pilgrimage site for sick – REUTERS
Background to the Stonehenge Solstice Celebrations – THE STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge Solstice and Equinox Tours – STONEHENGE GUIDED TOURS
The Stonehenge Pilgrims – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG

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