Stonehenge Solstice Ancient Celebration. June 21st 2013

16 06 2013

With the Summer Solstice fast approaching we start to see our visitor numbers increase in Wiltshire. It is a bumper time for our tourist industry as people from all over the world descend upon our county and join in with this ancient celebration.

The Summer Solstice is known to Pagans as ‘Alban Hefin’ which means ‘Light of the Shore’. It occurs on the 21st June when the sun is at its highest point in the sky and the days are at their longest. The nights begin to draw in after this date, which is a scary thought as summer has only just got going. The Druids celebrate this event with special ceremonies and rituals that are believed to date back several millennia. Although the 4000 year old monument of Stonehenge has been the centre stage for these ceremonies; Avebury, Woodhenge and the Kennet long barrow have also attracted worshippers at this special time of year.

Looking into our local studies archives I have discovered that the Solstice festivities have not always been peaceful as the Druids would wish.

In 1901, Salisbury Police invoiced the landowner of Stonehenge, Colonel Sir Edmund Antrobus ‘for police services rendered’ for the night of 20th June. He was charged for one Superintendent, one Inspector, two Sergeants and seven Constables a total of £3. 4s.2d. presumably this would have been for crowd control or public order duties.

During the 1950s the Druid procession was accompanied by the Military Police and members of the Army. The security operation was overseen by the Ministry of Works (a government department responsible for building projects). Public gatherings at Stonehenge increased not only by the number of people but also in disorder. There were reported to be many barrels and crates on site, presumably of beer. The ‘high jinks’ was quashed in 1956 when young officers threw ‘thunderflashes’ in to the unruly crowd.

By the early 1970s a small music festival was conceived, which took place in woods near Amesbury during the days leading up to the 21st June. This was the beginning of the Free Festival which continued to grow in popularity and controversy throughout the ‘70s until 1984 when it ended abruptly.

During the early 80s a new wave of ‘new age travellers’ replaced the ‘hippy’ label of the ‘60s. Large numbers of travellers would congregate on private land and were reported to have committed trespass, criminal damage and public order offences.

On June 1st 1985, events came to a head culminating in the infamous ‘Battle of the Beanfield’. It wasn’t until June 2000 that a truce was finally made between the authorities and members of the public; 5000 people were given the privilege of entering the sacred circle.

On Thursday 5th September, one of our archaeologists, Rachel Foster, will be giving a talk on ‘Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Sites’ at the History Centre, contact the centre for further details. Alternatively, records are available to view by members of the public. We have copies of newspapers on microfilm, newspaper articles in our ephemera collection and also scrapbooks on ‘The Battle of Stonehenge’. We also hold the book ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’, edited by Andy Worthington, published by Enabler Publications in 2005 and utilised for this article.

Article by: Anna Ervine Local Studies Assistant
Source: http://www.wshc.eu/blog/item/the-summer-solstice.html

Link: https://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/2013/06/01/stonehenge-summer-solstice-celebrations-2013/
Link: https://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/2013/06/10/summer-solstice-2013-stonehenge-managed-access/

Follow Stonehenge on Twitter for all the Solstice News: https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Inside Stonehenge – From Rubble to Riches

15 06 2013

When dealing with prehistory (before the written word) arguments will abound as to ‘who, when and why’, and no more so than the famous monument on Salisbury Plain, the circle of stones known the world over as Stonehenge. 5,000 years ago, give or take a decade, work began here with an initial earth bank and ditch with some form of wooden structure within. Debate continues as to what exactly was placed within the earth circle and further debates are put forward about the various phases of constructing the stone circle, where the stones came from and the importance of the Moon and Sun in the process of worship at the site. For a lot of day trippers it’s Stonehenge’s iconical status that brings them here in their thousands whether they are familiar with the documentaries churned out by travel channels, read Tess of the D’Urbervilles or have watched National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

Stonehenge inner circle tourMost visitors will arrive by private car, organised tour bus or public transport. In the latter case the local Wilts and Dorset bus service provides an easy link with Salisbury railway station and connections from London and other parts of Britain. Most people feel they’ve ‘done’ Stonehenge in an hour. For some, there is surprisingly little else around and the visitor centre itself seems inadequate for the amount of tourists that travel here. There is a good explanation for that – it’s a sensitive site. It isn’t always possible, nor often allowed, to create large permanent structures such as a restaurant and museum in an area where evidence of Neolithic and Bronze age cultures lay buried within every square foot of ground. Discussions have been under way for over a decade as to improving the site, building a visitor centre a mile east near the main road and burying that very road under a two mile tunnel. These discussions continue. [April 2010 update – a new Visitor Centre is planned, and should be open by summer 2012.] You can find out more about Stonehenge, and see important collections from the World Heritage Site, at Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes and Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.]

For the time being visitors will have to make do with very little shelter if the weather proves inclement. Restrooms (including disabled) are available at the foot of the car park and there are others at top of the car park to the right of the entrance, before one walks down the ramp to purchase tickets. These are accessible by going down steps. Before heading down to the ticket booth, two stones are standing to the left. The smaller one is a Bluestone (Dolerite) used in first phase of stone circle building at Stonehenge and possibly from the Preselli Mountains in South Wales. The larger one is a Sarsen (Quartzite Sandstone) used in the later phase of construction. These sample stones are not taken from the circle and you are able to stand next to, touch or drape yourself across them for photographic purposes. Down at the foot of the ramp is the ticket kiosk and a small cafe. Only a somewhat limited collection of outdoor seating is provided, complete with flocks of starlings ready to swoop down on any crumb or morsel dropped by a hungry day tripper. Cheese and bacon scones, rock cakes, ice cream and hot and cold drinks are available. As the site has a captive audience sandwiches are priced higher than the average shop, ditto the plastic cups of grapes or strawberries.

The gift shop is only available to those that have paid the entrance fee and entered the site. Here you can purchase calendars, books, paperweights, fridge magnets, T-shirts and all things of a Neolithic nature.

A free audio tour for paying visitors is available but during summer weekends they can be hard to get hold of, especially if you find yourself arriving just after a couple of coach loads of day visitors from London sandwiching Stonehenge between a morning at Windsor Castle and an afternoon in Bath. Access to the inner circle is available prior to the main site opening or just after closure. Arrangements for a ‘Special Access’ visit can be made through English Heritage or one of London’s day trip tour companies that pre-book inner circle visits on a daily basis. Other than that regular visitors are kept behind a small rope fence, which helps keep other tourists from walking in front of that all important shot.

While circumnavigating the site and listening to the audio tour one may be left wondering how many people visit this site and pay their £6 to get in. 800,000 people, rising to possibly one million by the end of the decade, make the journey to Stonehenge every year boosting the turnover of English Heritage and helping the conservation of other historically important places. One may also be left wondering, what if someone wrote down “today I’m going to build one of the best stone circles in the country” would we still be debating the purpose and timeline of this impressive site?

Full article: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g528762-d188527/Amesbury:United-Kingdom:Stonehenge.html

Stonehenge





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2013

1 06 2013

English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice on 20-21 June 2013. Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines set out on these pages. The full Conditions of Entry can also be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page

Stoneheng Summer Solstice Tour 2013

We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for protecting  Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments. If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site and has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice since time immemorial.

During Managed Open Access for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, we support all individuals and groups conducting their own forms of ceremony and celebration providing that they are mutually respectful and tolerant of one another. It is a place seen by many as a sacred site – therefore please respect it and those attending.

English Heritage continues to work closely with the many agencies and people from all sectors of the community and we would like to thank them for their help and support.

Parking and entry to the Monument will be free, subject to the Conditions of Entry.  Please do not arrive at the Solstice Car Park or Stonehenge in advance of the opening times listed below:

    Timings for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 

  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK OPENS  1900 hours (7pm) Thursday 20th June
  • ACCESS TO STONEHENGE 1900 hours (7pm) Thursday 20th June
  • LAST ADMISSION TO SOLSTICE CAR PARK   0600 hours (6am) Friday 21st June
  • STONEHENGE CLOSES  0800 hours (8am) Friday 21st June
  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK TO BE VACATED  1200 hours (12 Noon) Friday 21st June – see Travel and Parking for further information on travel and parking arrangements.

We hope the weather will be kind and wish you a peaceful and celebratory solstice.

    Stonehenge Sunset and Sunrise

Sunset and sunrise occur at the following times:

  • Sunset on Thursday 20th June 2013 is at 2126 hrs (9.26pm)
  • Sunrise on Friday 21st June 2013 is at 0452 hrs (4.52am)

STONEHENGE LINKS::

Conditions of entry: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/content/imported-docs/p-t/summer-solstice-coe13.pdf
More info: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/summer-solstice/

Follow Stonehenge on Twitter for Solstice News, traffic updates, photos on the day: https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin says “Please respect the Stones!”

The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge marks Autumn Equinox.

23 09 2012

100’s of people gathered at Stonehenge to mark this years Autumn Equinox and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise.

Stonehenge has been an important religious site for over 4,000 years. Modern druids have been celebrating the Autumnal Equinox there since the early 20th Century.

On September 21st – 23rd every year 100’s of people travel to ancient religious sites, such as Stonehenge and Avebury in England, in order to celebrate the Spring and Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox is also known as Mabon and is an important festival day for many modern pagans.

People were unable to access Stonehenge during the Equinox and Solstice after a ban was imposed in 1985 at the request of English Heritage. This ban was lifted in 2000 and annual celebrations have been held ever since

Almost all pagans celebrate a cycle of eight festivals. Four of the festivals have Celtic origins and are known by their Celtic names, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. The other four are points in the solar calendar. These are Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, and the Summer and Winter Solstices.

Autumn Equinox Photo stream – click here

The Autumnal Equinox marks the moment when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey southward and we experience a day and a night that are of equal length. It’s the time of the final harvest when many crops including apples, grapes, nuts, squash, corn, and berries are gathered. Astrologically speaking, this is the date when the Sun enters the sign of Libra, the balance.Stonehenge Autumn Equinox 2012

The equinoxes (there are two- the Vernal Equinox, when the Sun enters Aries around March 21, is the first day of spring) have a rich place in mythology and ancient tradition. From Stonehenge in the British Isles to the pyramids in Central America, ancient cultures created means by which to measure the change of the seasons. For example, the Anasazi Indians of Chaco Canyon, NM made a hole between some boulders that the sun could shine through. The shafts of sunlight made a dagger shape of the far wall and they drew a spiral there to mark the equinox. It is said that the Druids would cut wands from the willow trees at this time of year. The willow was sacred to them and the wands were seen as powerful tools for use in divination.

Mythically, this is the day when the god of light is defeated by his twin and alter-ego, the god of darkness. It is the time of year when night conquers day- propelling us toward the Winter Solstice which marks the longest night of the year. Mabon, a Welsh god who symbolizes the male fertility of the land, is associated with the Autumnal Equinox. In some myths, he is seen as the male counterpart to Persephone of the Greek myths.

During the weeks around the Equinox, assess your harvest of the seeds of dreams and goals you planted earlier this year. Analyze your progress, acknowledge your successes, and give thanks. After that point of balance, natural law encourages us to turn inward for growth. Like Persephone going to the underworld on her annual journey, the time from the Autumnal Equinox to the Winter Solstice is a perfect opportunity to take a deep look inside yourself. Weed out what has completed its cycle and nourish the roots of what you want to grow again in spring.

Link: http://beforeitsnews.com/spirit/2012/09/autumnal-equinox-2012-harvest-your-gold-2445928.html
L
ink: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/09/110921-autumnal-equinox-northern-hemisphere-first-day-fall-2012-science/
Link:

Blog sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “A Spectacular sunrise and a peaceful gathering made this years Equinox celebrations one to remember”

The Stonehenge News Blog





Autumnal Equinox 2012

18 09 2012
The Autumn Equinox (also known as Mabon) is celebrated when day and night are of equal duration before the descent into increasing darkness and is the final festival of the season of harvest.  For many pagans, this is the time to reflect on the past season, and to recognize the balance of the year has changed. 2012 Autumnal Equinox takes place on September 22nd, at 16.49am UK time , but when ‘open access’ to Stonehenge starts is decided by English Heritage and depends on visibility.

The sunrise is at 6.48am.  Equinox sunrise is Saturnday 22 September 2012, expect English Heritiage to open their gates around 6 a.m

Stonehenge EqunoxPublic access to Stonehenge is denied after dark, so if you want to see the sunset on September 22nd (18.59pm), you’ll have to stand on either the Avenue or on the side of the A344

The Autumnal Equinox

In September is the Fall Equinox, which has come to be called Mabon by many contemporary Neo-Pagans. Occuring approximately on September 21st, this is the day when the hours of daylight and nighttime are once again balanced. Calender days from now until the Winter Solstice will slowly get shorter and shorter in their daylight hours.

Agriculturally, this time of year the harvest is now in full swing, with late summer and fall fruits, vegetables and grains being gathered up before winter. This is the time of year a lot of canning or preserving of garden foods takes place. Hunting season also starts around this time, and this was when farmers would slaughter animals and preserve meat for the coming months as well.

This holiday is the last of the harvest holidays which began with the summer solstice and continued with Lammas.

September 22nd Harvest time!
The Autumn Equinox or Harvest Home is also called Mabon, pronounced ‘MAY-bon’, after the Welsh god Mabon ap Modron, which means literally ‘son of mother’. Mabon appears in ‘The Mabinogion’ tale. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honour The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to the trees. The Welsh know this time as ‘Alban Elfed’, meaning ‘light of autumn’. This is the point of the year when once again day and night are equal – 12 hours, as at Ostara, the Spring Equinox. The Latin word for Equinox means ‘time of equal days and nights’. After this celebration the descent into winter brings hours of increasing darkness and chiller temperatures. It is the time of the year when night conquers day. After the Autumn Equinox the days shorten and nights lengthen. To astrologers this is the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the scales, reflecting appropriately the balanced day and night of the equinox. This was also the time when the farmers brought in their harvested goods to be weighed and sold.

Harvest festival This is the second festival of the season of harvest – at the beginning of the harvest, at Lammas, winter retreated to his underworld, now at the Autumn equinox he comes back to earth. For our Celtic ancestors this was time to reflect on the past season and celebrate nature’s bounty and accept that summer is now over. Harvest Home marks a time of rest after hard work, and a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of nature. This is the time to look back on the past year and what you have achieved and learnt, and to plan for the future. The full moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon and farmers would harvest their crops by then, as part of the second harvest celebration. Mabon was when livestock would be slaughtered and preserved (salted and smoked) to provide enough food for the winter. At the South Pole they will be celebrating the first appearance of the sun in six months. However, at the North Pole they will be preparing for six months of darkness. During Medieval times, the Christian Church replaced Pagan solstices and equinox celebrations with Christianized occasions. The Autumn equinox celebration was Michaelmas, the feast of the Archangel Michael.

The triple Goddess – worshipped by the Ancient Britons, is now in her aspect of the ageing Goddess and now passes from Mother to Crone, until she is reborn as a youthful virgin as the wheel of nature turns. At the Autumn equinox the goddess offers wisdom, healing and rest. Mabon Traditions The Wicker man There was a Celtic ritual of dressing the last sheaf of corn to be harvested in fine clothes, or weaving it into a wicker-like man or woman. It was believed the sun or the corn spirit was trapped in the corn and needed to be set free. This effigy was usually burned in celebration of the harvest and the ashes would be spread on the fields. This annual sacrifice of a large wicker man (representing the corn spirit) is thought by many to have been the origin of the misconception that Druids made human sacrifices. ‘The reaping is over and the harvest is in, Summer is finished, another cycle begins’ In some areas of the country the last sheaf was kept inside until the following spring, when it would be ploughed back into the land. In Scotland, the last sheaf of harvest is called ‘the Maiden’, and must be cut by the youngest female in attendance.

To Autumn O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit Beneath my shady roof, there thou may’st rest, And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe; And all the daughters of the year shall dance, Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers. William Blake Mabon is a time to reflect, as we reap the harvest of experience from the past year – the completion of another turn of the Great Wheel. Corn Dollies Corn dollies were also made from the last sheaf and kept in the house to protect the inhabitants from bad spirits during the long winter. Apples To honour the dead, it was also traditional at Mabon to place apples on burial cairns, as symbolism of rebirth and thanks. This also symbolizes the wish for the living to one day be reunited with their loved ones. Mabon is also known as the Feast of Avalon, deriving from the meaning of Avalon being, ‘the land of the apples’.

Merlin says “Equinoxes do not always occur on the same day each year, and generally will occur about 6 hours later each year, with a jump of a day (backwards) on leap years”

Link: http://pagancalendar.co.uk/

Follow Stonehenge on Twitter for latest Equinox news and information – click here

Blog sponsored by  www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge –
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge enjoys a moment in the sun at summer solstice

21 06 2012
Crowds at Stonehenge at dawn for the summer solstice. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA

Crowds at Stonehenge at dawn for the summer solstice. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA

As worshippers and revellers descend, the Wiltshire landmark is thriving – inspiring bouncy art and more wild theories than ever

In the 1930s there was an advertisement for an oil company that went: “Stonehenge Wilts, but Shell goes on forever.” In 2012, with oil supplies falling and the remnants of the iconic slabs indomitable on the windswept plains of Wiltshire, the truth is surely otherwise.”The stones themselves still stand, enduring in a society which is not,” argues Christopher Chippindale, of the University of Cambridge’s museum of archaeology and anthropology, who is also author of the book Stonehenge Complete. Today the World Heritage’s foremost lintelled sarsen structure is not just enduring but thriving, spawning more academic research, wild theorising, bouncy art, and pagan robe sales than ever.

Just consider some of the Stonehenge activities that will take place in the next few weeks. At sunrise on Thursday, the 14,500 transcendence questing druids and varied revellers may have been outnumbered only by world weary media drones as they tried to celebrate the summer solstice at the 4.52am sunrise (ideally in line with English Heritage’s stringent Conditions of Entry document, which might be downloaded by socially responsible pagans). Heavy rain overnight reduced the number of people who camped out or arrived early to witness the dawn compared with previous years, which have seen numbers of around 20,000.

And in Wales there was also a chance to get excited about mid-summer – for Stonehenge’s inflatable simulacrum has arrived at the National Botanic Garden in Carmarthenshire. Although the rain may have dampened spirits.

Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege, first placed in public on Glasgow Green, will be inflated to pop up in the capital as part of what sceptics would call that oxymoron the Cultural Olympiad.

Is there anything more fun than a 35-metre bouncy castle that looks like Stonehenge, you ask? Not until they make a bouncy Warwick Castle with water slide into a moat laced with gin, I reply.

What is Deller, the Turner prize-winning artist, up to? “It’s a very entry-level way into thinking about ancient history for five-year-olds,” he says. True, but several bouncing Glaswegians were at least 45 years older than that target demographic. “It’s good to play with our history and culture. Stonehenge is part of British identity but no one knows what it was for.”

Good point. Ever since King Arthur’s dad, Utherpendragon, invaded Ireland, defeated an army and shipped Stonehenge from Ireland to Salisbury with the help of the wizard Merlin, the stones have sunk themselves ever deeper into British national consciousness.

In chapter 58 of Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, for instance, slimy Angel Clare and the dopey heroine are walking fugitively through darkling Wessex when “on a sudden, Clare became conscious of some vast erection close in his front [Oh grow up!], rising sheer from the grass … ‘It is Stonehenge!’ said Clare. ‘The heathen temple, you mean?'”

Tess lies down on a sun-warmed stone. “‘Did they sacrifice to God here?’ asked she. ‘No,’ said he. ‘Who to?’ ‘I believe to the sun. That lofty stone set away by itself is in the direction of the sun that will presently rise behind it.'”

Victorians wrote yards of this stuff: anybody who was anybody in 19th-century fiction got arrested, died, or got it on on those stones.

Incidentally, if you are Irish and thinking that the paragraph above suggests Stonehenge is like the Elgin Marbles and should be repatriated immediately, think again; according to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s marvellously unreliable 12th-century History of the Kings of Britain (the leading medieval account of Stonehenge’s origin), Irish giants transported the stones from Africa to Ireland earlier and used them as a curative bath until they were nicked by King Arthur’s dad.

Part of Stonehenge’s appeal is that it’s a riddle wrapped in mythology, swathed in druidical vestments and draped in a dodgy, if grand, relationship to the cosmos. Over the millennia, intellectuals have cast it as vast cosmic clock wound up by woad-daubed neolithic nudists (a theory embellished recently by archaeologists at Birmingham University’s Ludwig Boltzman Institute).

Other thinkers, like the 17th -century architect Inigo Jones, maintained ancient Britons were too thick to have created such a sophisticated edifice, and concluded it must have been Roman.

Today we aren’t sure who built it or why. Was it a burial ground, a magnet for crusty rave-ups, a sacred zone where our bearded forebears chillaxed old school, or a mystic portal to the celestial superhighway?

“Stonehenge sets a puzzle that has never been solved,” notes Chippindale.

Could Stonehenge have functioned as a helipad for Lord Sugar’s neolithic ancestors? It’s not impossible. More likely it resembled a lecture theatre with uncomfortable seating and no power sockets. Archaeo-acoustic researchers at Salford and Huddersfield universities suggested as much recently after examining the 5,000-year-old-structure’s acoustic properties.

Their work, at the site and at a concrete replica in Washington, indicates that Stonehenge had the sort of acoustics desirable in a lecture hall.

It wasn’t only the sight of Stonehenge that would have blown ancient visitors away.

Bruno Fazenda, professor at the University of Salford, says: “As they walked inside they would have perceived the sound environment around them had changed in some way.” Lucky them: all you can hear nowadays is the traffic howl from the A303.

Ever since those ancient days of magic stones shipped from Ireland, Stonehenge has satisfied a yearning among the citizens of these lands for mystic grandeur. That yearning will be kindled in July when the flaming French move in to Stonehenge.

Compagnie Carabosse will turn the site into a “fire garden” with flaming pots animating the stones, and cascades of candles lining the pathways. Think: rows of tea lights running down your garden path as you sink a sundowner, but much, much, more poncy.

Shortly afterwards, in the culmination of Stonehenge’s 2012, diggers will move in to right one of the most grievous historic wrongs in modern Britain. The stones will be moved slightly to the right away from the A303 and into proper alignment with the sun.

I’m kidding. In fact, the bulldozers will rip up the inadequate car park and visitor centre that have been a national disgrace since 1968.

Simon Thurley, English Heritage’s chief executive, said of the £27m makeover: “These are crucial steps which bring closer the transformation of the currently blighted Stonehenge landscape.” The centre will be moved 1.5 miles away and visitors will get to the stones on a low-key transit system or, as others call it, a Noddy train. Noddy Goes To Stonehenge – what a film!

There have been films, indeed. In National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985), Mr Griswold gives an affecting speech on the monument’s indomitability before climbing into his rental car and (can you see the gag yet?) reversing and toppling the thing like dominoes. Hilarious: in reality an Austin Maxi couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding.

In the no less amusing Shanghai Knights (2003), this gag is reprised when the two main characters crash their car into Stonehenge. One says: “Who the hell would put a pile of stones in the middle of a field?” Somewhere someone’s writing a PhD on Hollywood’s symbolic castration of British heritage by means of such movie demolition jobs.

Stonehenge’s image reached its mock-heroic apogee in the rocku/mocku-mentary This is Spinal Tap (1984). Picture the scene: the band’s plotting a comeback tour involving a lavish stage show featuring a replica of the monument as a backdrop to their pomp rock classic, Stonehenge. Only one problem, the order for the prop goes wrong and instead of being 18ft high it’s 18in tall, making the band a laughing stock.

Did Deller consider this pitfall in making his scaled-down bouncy version? You’d think.

He never thought, though, of emulating Steven Moffat’s insanely elaborate cosmological topography in the 2010 two-part special of Doctor Who, The Pandorica Opens. All the doctor’s many enemies hover above Stonehenge, while below in Underhenge lies the fabled prison of Pandorica holding the universe’s most detested and feared prisoner, Jeremy Clarkson at the co-ordinates of a worrying fissure in the universe’s frankly baffling structure.

Actually, it wasn’t Clarkson but some being even more unimaginably evil.

Most of the filming took place at Foamhenge, a lightweight replica set up near Port Talbot. It was there that the doctor battled an army of cybermen and others in what proved to be a critic-slaying, award-winning and discombobulatingly mytho-metaphysical fuss. Very Moffat, very Stonehenge.

It was also indicative of what Stonehenge really is: an open text, endlessly interpretable and readily bendable to our times and imagination. “It is a mirror which reflects back, more or less distorted, that view of the past which the onlooker takes there,” Chippindale says. Long may that continue.

Link Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2012/jun/21/stonehenge-moment-sun-summer-solstice?newsfeed=true

Merln says “Good time had by all!”
Check out my TouTube Channel and Flickr Accoint later

Merlin @ Stonehenge

 





Visiting Stonehenge for the 2012 Summer Solstice ? Use it, Don’t abuse it!

19 06 2012

Respect the Stones and Respect each other!

Stonehenge is an ancient pre-historic site. It has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice since time immemorial.   Use it ! Dont abuse it!

WE HOPE THE WEATHER WILL BE KIND AND WISH YOU A PEACEFUL AND CELEBRATORY SOLSTICE. 

Get off our Stones!

Get off our Stones!

English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines set out on the following pages. We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for the protection of Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments. If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry

Timings for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

SOLSTICE CAR PARK OPENS 1900 hours (7pm) Wednesday 20th June ACCESS TO STONEHENGE 1900 hours (7pm) Wednesday 20th June LAST ADMISSION TO SOLSTICE CAR PARK  0600 hours (6am) Thursday 21st June STONEHENGE CLOSES 0800 hours (8am) Thursday 21st June SOLSTICE CAR PARK TO BE VACATED 1200 hours (12 Noon) Thursday 21st June – see the pages on Travel and Parking for further information on travel and parking arrangements.

Sunset and sunrise occur at the following times: Sunset on Wednesday 20th June 2012 is at 2126 hrs (9.26pm) Sunrise on Thursday 21st June 2012 is at 0452 hrs (4.52am)

CAMPING:
Please remember camping is NOT permitted at Stonehenge, in the Solstice Car Park, or anywhere in the surrounding National Trust land.   There are four local campsites. Please check availability and entry conditions in advance.   Stonehenge Touring Park Orcheston, Nr Shrewton, Salisbury SP3 4SH 01980 620304

Salisbury Camping & Caravanning Club Site Hudson’s Field, Castle Road, Salisbury, SP1 3RR 01722 320713

Coombe Caravan Park Coombe Nurseries, The Race Plain, Netherhampton, Salisbury, SP2 8PN 01722 328451

Stonehenge Campsite Berwick Road, Berwick St James, Salisbury, SP3 4TQ 017880 746514

Tourist Information Centres  

Tourist Information Centres for local area are:
Amesbury Tel: 01980 622833
Salisbury Tel: 01722 334956 www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/salisbury
Devizes Tel: 01380 800400
Andover Tel: 01264 324320 www.touruk.co.uk/hamp/ham_and.htm

Stonehenge Summer Solstice Information Hotline  

For further information about the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, please telephone English Heritage Customer Services Solstice Information Hotline on 0870 333 1186

Travelling to Stonehenge for Summer Solstice

Stonehenge is approximately 2½ miles (4 kms) from the town of Amesbury. The nearest bus and railway stations are in Salisbury, which is 12 miles (19 kms) away from Stonehenge.   As the roads around Stonehenge will be very busy, it is recommended that you leave your car at home and travel to Stonehenge using public transport.

Stonehenge by bus  

The bus service will commence at 1830 hours (6.30pm) on Wednesday 20th June and run regularly until 0115 hours (1.15am) on Thursday 21st June. A service taking people back to Salisbury will start again at 0400 hours (4am) and run frequently until 0945 hours (9.45am). The collection point for the return service is in the same location as the drop-off point.   The walk to Stonehenge from the bus drop-off/collection point is 1½ miles (approximately 2½ kms) – about a 20-30 minute walk and is through National Trust farmland. Sensible footwear might not be fashionable but is definitely advisable as the land is agricultural and the route includes some sloping ground. Also the route is not lit and you may wish to bring a small torch (not naked flame though!!).   To help you plan your journey to Stonehenge, bus timetables and fares are available from the following links:

For bus service information:

Wilts & Dorset Bus Company www.wdbus.co.uk Tel: 01983 827 005

 

Stonehenge by train and bus  

Trains run regularly to Salisbury from London, Bristol/Bath and Southampton and the local bus company, Wilts & Dorset, will be running a special service, from Salisbury railway and bus stations to a drop-off point near Stonehenge. The buses will also stop at any recognised bus stop along the line of the route, which is via Amesbury.   For train information:

South West Trains www.southwesttrains.co.uk Tel: 0845 6000 650

First Great Western www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk Tel: 0845 7000 125

National Rail Enquiries www.nationalrail.co.uk Tel: 08457 48 49 50

 

Stonehenge by car  

A high volume of traffic is anticipated in the Stonehenge area on the evening of Wednesday 20th June. The Summer Solstice parking facilities close to Stonehenge are extensive but also finite.   Although traffic, as you approach Stonehenge, maybe slow, please do not be tempted to abandon your vehicle and park it either on the A303 or other neighbouring roads and public rights of way. Cars parked illegally will be towed away by the Police or Wiltshire Council.   Please also be aware that a number of road closures will be in operation to ensure safe pedestrian passage to Stonehenge and to allow unimpeded access in the event of an emergency. As you approach Stonehenge, signage will be in place to direct you to the Solstice Car Park.   Please see Parking for further information.

 

Cyclists  

It is not advisable to bring cycles to Stonehenge as they cannot be accommodated at the Monument and they will not be permitted beyond the Solstice Car Park (which is located approximately 1 km west of Stonehenge). Please bring your own locking device and park your cycle in the designated area in the Solstice Car Park. Ask a steward at the Solstice Car Park entrance for assistance.

Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/summer-solstice/

 Merlin says “Happy Solstice and respect the Stones!  See you there”
Follow me on Twitter for updates and pics:  http://twitter.com/#!/st0nehenge
Merlin @ Stonehenge







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