Stonehenge Autumn Equinox Managed Open Access Arrangements: 23rd September 2021

4 09 2021

The Autumn Equinox (Mabon) is rapidly approaching as the last days of summer slowly come to an end. English Heritage are expected to offer a short period of access, from first light or safe enough to enter the monument field (approximately 06.15am until 08:30am) on the 23rd September. This is subject of course to any changes in the coronavirus guidance.

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site which has been a place of worship and celebration for thousands of years.

The Autumn Equinox is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage opens up the stones for public access. Equinox open access attracts fewer people than the Solstices – in the several hundreds rather than tens of thousands – and there are modern Druid ceremonies which are held in the circle around dawn, so if you prefer a quieter experience then attending the Autumn Equinox is a good choice.

English Heritage has facilitated Managed Open Access (MOA) to Stonehenge for the celebration of the summer solstice, winter solstice, spring and autumn equinox (spring and autumn equinox fall outside of this contract). English Heritage provides access to the stone circle and the monument field, free of charge to anyone who wishes to attend, but asks all those attending to comply with conditions of entry to ensure the safety of all visitors and to protect the monument. To safely provide MOA across the year, English Heritage works in partnership with Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Council and engages experienced event managers and health and safety experts.

Mabon is a harvest festival, the second of three, that encourages pagans to “reap what they sow,” both literally and figuratively. It is the time when night and day stand equal in duration; thus is it a time to express gratitude, complete projects and honor a moment of balance.

What is the Equinox?
The equinox is when day and night are actually the same length. It happens several days before the spring equinox, and a few days after the autumn one.

The reason day and night are only almost equal on the equinox is because the sun looks like a disk in the sky, so the top half rises above the horizon before the centre

The Earth’s atmosphere also refracts the sunlight, so it seems to rise before its centre reaches the horizon. This causes the sun to provide more daylight than many people might expect, offering 12 hours and 10 minutes on the equinox.

The word ‘equinox’ itself actually mean ‘equal’ (equi) and ‘night’ (nox).

Respecting the Stones
Stonehenge is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act and you must adhere to the regulations outlined in the act or face criminal prosecution. No person may touch, lean against, stand on or climb the stones, or disturb the ground in any way. The Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (as it then was). It was introduced by John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, recognising the need for a governmental administration on the protection of ancient monuments – more information. View the conditions of entry and respect the Stones

If you or anyone else in your household feels unwell, or has been asked to self-isolate, we ask that you do not attend Stonehenge. Also if you plan to travel on one of our shuttle buses, or visit our toilets or café, we encourage you to bring and wear a face covering.

If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Autumn Equinox and do not have transport or simply want a hassle free experience you can join a specialist organised tour.  Use a reputable tour operator who respect the conditions of entry – Stonehenge Guided Tours are the longest established company offering discreet tours from London or Bath, view their exclusive Autumn Equinox tour and save 25% by using discount code and Solstice EQUINOX21. You could also try Solstice Events U.K who offer small group Equinox tours.

Equinox Links:
What is the autumnal equinox? Royal Museums Greenwich
What is the Autumn equinox? Here’s what you need to know. National Geographic
Stonehenge and the Druids – Who are the Druids? Stonehenge News Blog
Walk amongst the stones of Stonehenge. (Equinox Tour exeperience) Blue Sky Traveller
Stonehenge Autumn Equiox Tours – Stonehenge Guided Tours
The Stonehenge Pilgrims – Stonehenge News Blog

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for Equinox updates and Stonehenge news
The Stonehenge News Blog


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