Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2012 – June 20th / June 21st

15 02 2012

English Heritage are again expected to provide “Managed Open Access” to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Please help to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the conditions (see below).

Please note that a high volume of traffic is anticipated in the Stonehenge area on the evening of Wednesday 20th June. The car park (enter off the A303 from the roundabout – it’s signposted) will open at around 7pm on Wenesday 20th June, and close at around noon on Thursday 21st June.
Note that last admission to the car park for vehicles is at around 6am. Access Access to the stones themselves is expected to be from around 8.30pm on Wednesday 20th June until 8am on Thursday 21st June.

Stonehenge Summer Solstice

There’s likely to be casual entertainment from samba bands & drummers but no amplified music is allowed. When you visit Stonehenge for the Solstice, please remember it is a Sacred Place to many and should be respected. Van loads of police have been present in the area in case of any trouble, but generally a jovial mood prevails. Few arrests have been made in previous years, mostly in relation to minor drug offences.

Facilities Toilets and drinking water are available and welfare is provided by festival welfare services. There are normally one or two food and drink vans with reasonable prices but huge queues, all well away from the stones themselves.

Sunrise is at around 5.14am.- in 2012

Conditions Rules include no camping, no dogs, no fires or fireworks, no glass bottles, no large bags or rucksacks, and no climbing onto the stones. Please use the bags given free on arrival and take them out, filled with your litter, to the skips provided.

Please respect the rules so that we’re all able to enjoy the solstice morning at Stonehenge for years to come.

Getting there: Where possible, please travel to Stonehenge using public transport. The local bus company, Wilts & Dorset, will be running a service from Salisbury railway and bus stations to Stonehenge over the Solstice period. This 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). Access to Stonehenge from the bus drop off point is through the National Trust farmland. More information will be here when available.  Needless to say this service is extremly busy, please allow plenty of time.

From London: Our friends at the ‘Stonehenge Tour Company’ will be offering their usual small group unobtrusive tours to the solstice from London.  There are two services departing London at 4pm and 1am – Click here: ‘Stonehenge Summer Solstice Tour 2012’
Stonehenge summer solstice tours

LINKS: http://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/stonehenge/2011/
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/explore/summer-solstice-2011/:
http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

TWITTER: Follow Stonehenge on twitter.  Get all the latest news and Solstice updates – http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

FACEBOOK: Join Stonehenge on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stonehenge.tours

See you all at the Summer Solstice, yipee……………..

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Brand new image for Wiltshire’s historic stones

6 02 2012

The builders of Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral would be puzzled to hear their creations are now considered ‘brands’.

 But VisitWiltshire, the tourism organisation subsidised by £1.5million of council taxpayers’ money, has launched a new “group visits and travel trade guide” advertising the county’s many attractions.

A statement from the organisation said: “Major brands working with VisitWiltshire include Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Longleat, Bowood, STEAM, McArthurGlen Swindon Designer Outlet, English Heritage and the National Trust.”

 The guide also mentions events being organised during 2012, such as the Olympic torch relay, the illumination of the White Horses at Devizes and Alton Barnes, an elemental fire garden at Stonehenge and Le Concert du Feu in Salisbury.

David Andrews, chief executive of VisitWiltshire, said: “With a record number of members in the 2012 guide, we are increasing our focus on travel trade activity.

 “Tourism plays a vital role in Wiltshire’s economy, generating an estimated £1billion and creating 20,000 jobs.” For a copy of the guide, call (01722) 341760 or visit www. visitwiltshire.co.uk

Link: http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge

 





Archaeologists and pagans alike glory in the Brodgar complex

2 02 2012

Let’s not jump to conclusions about ritual significance, but this site is clearly immensely important to ancient British history

The Ring of Brodgar ancient standing stones in Orkney, Scotland, flank the Brodgar complex, now thought to be older than Stonehenge. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The Ring of Brodgar ancient standing stones in Orkney, Scotland, flank the Brodgar complex, now thought to be older than Stonehenge. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Archaeologists are notoriously nervous of attributing ritual significance to anything (the old joke used to be that if you found an artefact and couldn’t identify it, it had to have ritual significance), yet they still like to do so whenever possible. I used to work on a site in the mid-1980s – a hill fort in Gloucestershire – where items of potential religious note occasionally turned up (a horse skull buried at the entrance, for example) and this was always cause for some excitement, and also some gnashing of teeth at the prospect of other people who weren’t archaeologists getting excited about it (“And now I suppose we’ll have druids turning up”).

The Brodgar complex has, however, got everyone excited. It ticks all the boxes that make archaeologists, other academics, lay historians and pagans jump up and down. Its age is significant: it’s around 800 years older than Stonehenge (although lately, having had to do some research into ancient Britain, I’ve been exercised by just how widely dates for sites vary, so perhaps some caution is called for). Pottery found at Stonehenge apparently originated in Orkney, or was modelled on pottery that did.

The site at the Ness of Brodgar – a narrow strip of land between the existing Stone Age sites of Maeshowe and the Ring of Brodgar – is massive: the size of five football pitches and circled by a 10ft wall. Only a small percentage of it has been investigated; it is being called a “temple complex”, and researchers seem to think that it is a passage complex – for instance, one in which bones are carried through and successively stripped (there is a firepit across one of the doors, and various entrances, plus alcoves like those in a passage grave, which are being regarded as evidence for this theory – but it’s a bit tenuous at present). Obviously, at this relatively early stage, it’s difficult for either professional archaeologists or their followers to formulate too many firm theories.

When it comes to the pagan community, I don’t think that its sounder members will be leaping to too many conclusions too soon; as discussed in a previous column, some of us would prefer to rely on the actual evidence rather than rushing off at a tangent. I cannot help wondering whether the relatively muted response across the pagan scene to the Brodgar findings has to do with the fact that the central artefact discovered so far – the “Brodgar Boy” – is apparently male rather than female. I am cynical enough to wonder whether, if it had been a northern Venus, there would be much more in the way of rash speculation about ancient matriarchies. Will we see the pagan community flocking to Orkney at the solstices? I doubt it. Orkney is a long way off and rather difficult to get to, whereas Stonehenge and Avebury are with a reasonably easy drive if you happen to live in the south of the country. In the days when the site was at its peak, most traffic would have been coastal, and remained so for hundreds of years to come. (And to be fair, many modern pagans aren’t actually too keen on trampling over ancient sites, sacred or otherwise, due to awareness of their relative fragility).

With regard to the “boy” himself, and other ancient representations of the human form, we simply don’t know why people made them. Maybe they are gods, goddesses, spirits. Maybe they’re toys, or lampoons of particular individuals, or just someone doing some carving in an idle moment. It’s hardly a startling theory that, throughout history, people have made stuff for fun: I’ve always been very amused by Aztec pots made in the shape of comical animals, looking for all the world like the early precursor to Disney and somewhat at variance with the sombre bloodiness of other aspects of that culture.

 

As soon as the Bronze Age arrived, Brodgar was completely abandoned. There was apparently a mass slaughter of cattle, which would have fed as many as 20,000 people on the site; this is being taken by some experts as evidence of a complete and sudden cultural replacement. But whether it has ritual significance or not, the sheer size, age and numbers involved with the Orkney site make it of immense importance to the history of ancient Britain.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Compay’  www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @  Stonehenge 





Stonehenge Landscape Tour – Winter archaeology walk

31 01 2012

Stonehenge snow sceneWinter archaeology walk – Saturday, 04 February 2012

Explore the wider Stonehenge World Heritage Site with a guide and discover hidden histories, ancient mysteries and winter wildlife.

Enjoy a winter afternoon walk up on the downs learning about the ancient archaeology of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and the area’s varied wildlife. On this three mile walk with views of the stone circle, we’ll visit ancient earthworks that have revealed much about the people who once lived and celebrated here. Talking points include the Cursus, the many and varied barrows, and an ancient avenue connecting ceremonial centres

NOTES:

Sponsored by ‘The Sonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Melin says “This is a great tour of the Stonhenege landscape by The National Trust’

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Trio collaborate for exhibition of Hardy’s Wessex

27 01 2012

THOMAS Hardy immortalised Wessex in his novels and poems. Three artists who share a common interest in the writer’s use of landscape, Dave Gunning, David Inshaw and Rob Pountney, have collaborated in a fascinating exhibition currently on show in the upstairs gallery at Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

Salisbury Cathedral and The Close feature in Jude the Obscure (Salisbury became Melchester in Hardy novels), and it is fitting that the exhibition is in the museum. In Jude the Obscure, Hardy based the college that Sue Bridehead attends on the training college for schoolmistresses that his sisters attended. This was the King’s House, now home to the museum.

Stonehenge plays a starring role at the tragic end of Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Robert Pountney’s works in the exhibition capture the stones in a dramatic context.

Landscapes of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex is a beautifully crafted exhibition and well worth a visit. It runs until April 14

Sourse: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk

Sponsored  by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com





Community bus could take tourists from Amesbury to Stonehenge

27 01 2012

AMESBURY’S community minibus will be used to ferry tourists from the town centre to Stonehenge as part of a move to improve the connection between the town and the world heritage site.

Stonehenge signAs the Journal reported last week, Amesbury Town Council has called for public transport links to be restored after the town was rebranded as Historic Amesbury and signs were put up welcoming people to the home of Stonehenge.

Visitors have been arriving in Amesbury expecting to see the ancient stone circle to be told the only way to reach it is to walk or go by taxi as the Wilts & Dorset operated Stonehenge Bus Tour does not stop at Amesbury bus station.

Now mayor of Amesbury Andy Rhind-Tutt has put forward plans for the community bus to be used to take people to Stonehenge.

He hopes to trial the scheme on Wednesdays, which is market day in Amesbury.

“It would be great for both tourists and local people,” he said.

“People could come and park in Amesbury and then the bus will take them up Countess Road, to Woodhenge, along Fargo Road, through Larkhill and on to Stonehenge.

“They could spend a couple of hours there and then get the bus back to Amesbury for lunch or some shopping.

“It will also provide a service for the people of Countess Road and Larkhill who lost out when Wilts and Dorset changed its bus routes.

“We are a historic town and we do have a lot to offer but we need to help people to get into Amesbury from Stonehenge.”

Initially it is hoped the service will be free while the new bus route is publicised.

It will travel a circular route and run on an hourly basis, and Mr Rhind-Tutt hopes to get it up and running before the Easter holidays.

“We hope that it will increase footfall in Amesbury which will boost local businesses,” he said.

“I understand the difficulty that Wilts a& Dorset would have running a service along the A303 due to the traffic, but this way we could use our community bus to further benefit Amesbury.”

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “At last, tranport from Amesbury – save me walking”

Merlin at Stonehenge





Stonehenge tunnel idea resurrected.

17 01 2012

The idea of building a tunnel under Stonehenge has been resurrected by a consortium of council leaders from across the South West.

Stonehenge tunnel planWiltshire was among the authorities represented at a summit meeting to discuss A303 improvements, organised by Somerset County Council last week.

They discussed ways to raise the £1billion needed to widen the remaining single lane sections of the road between Wiltshire and Devon.

The tunnel, which would have cost more than £500million at the last count, is one of five separate schemes they believe are needed.

Somerset’s leader Ken Maddock believes there is scope to seek new funding in the light of Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement, which said that pension funds could be used to fund up to £20billion of infrastructure schemes.

He said: “This is a fabulous opportunity to put a joint bid together that will bring huge benefits to the whole of the West Country.”

The 2.1km tunnel plans were shelved in 2007 after the government said the soaring cost was not justified.

Link: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Stonehenge tunnel “Why not plant a hedgerow along the A303 ?  It would reduce road noise, prevent accidents because of people looking at the monument whilst driving and considerable cheaper and quicker”

Anyone agree with me ?

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





The Holy Grail of standing stone circles found as NASA spacecraft captures lunar Stonehenge image

2 01 2012

Space – Dismissed in 1959 by the USSR Luna 3 probe as a pile of inconsequential volcanic trash a 3,000ft diameter standing stone formation has been captured on camera by NASA’s latest mission.

The Lunar Stonehenge puts its Wiltshire, UK counterpart at the center of current human civilization

The Lunar Stonehenge puts its Wiltshire, UK counterpart at the center of current human civilization

Stunning pictures from the Grail-A spacecraft reveal a giant lunar Stonehenge close to the Mare Ingenii – or Sea of Ingenuity – impact crater.

NASA HQ astrophysicists said today they’d long suspected the existence of a Stonehenge-like structure on the Moon’s far side after decades of studying decrypted ancient Egyptian creation texts.

An Agency press release confirmed the Grail-A’s high definition close-ups depict some mysterious hieroglyphs hewn into the monoliths.

“The Pope will have a fit, heheh!” the head of the NASA Jet Convulsion Laboratory’s space artefucts division chuckled this morning, “these symbols hail Isis as the Mother of Creation!”

The news may also cause blood to boil at the European Space Agency where the possibility that Stonehenge’s Wiltshire site was chosen ‘by a vastly superior intelligence’ to copy the lunar edifice would place the UK at the heart of the current human civilization.

Belgian nationalism has always maintained the center of the Universe is located in Brussels, home of the Euro and of the moules-frites gastronomic delicacy (sick).

That gung-ho spin now faces oblivion as NASA pictures emerge from the shadows, echoing a June 2009 report claiming crumbling remains of the former palatial Atlantis fortress were filmed by International Space Station cameras focused on the Moon’s dark side.

Confirmation of the lunar Stonehenge creation could be the first step to unravelling the astrophysics of ‘As Above, So Below’ ancient pagan lore, the NASA source added.

Later today NASA’s Grail-B twin craft will track its companion’s lunar orbit and carry out its own 3D surveillance.

The Prime Minister and the US President have asked to be kept informed.

Merlin says: “Its not all serious”  Link- http://www.thespoof.co.uk

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge road will close, council confirms

29 12 2011

A ROAD passing by Wiltshire’s most well known landmark will close, it has been confirmed.

Wiltshire Council has accepted the recommendations of planning inspector Alan Boyland to close a section of the A344 to improve the setting of Stonehenge.

The recommendations were made following two public inquiries held earlier this year into English Heritage proposals to return the area to grass as part of plans for a new visitor centre at Airman’s Corner.

The decision comes despite objections from objectors including Orcheston Parish Council and residents who fear extra traffic through the village as a result.

A proposal was also made to close the byways around the ancient monument but this was refused.

Mr Boyland said: “I accept that Wiltshire has a considerably greater length of byways than any other country. This is not however, in itself, a reason for allowing a further loss for recreational motor vehicle users.

“In this case, the loss of a further 7km, particularly given the strategic importance of those routes, and without similar alternative routes being available, would in my view be significantly detrimental to the current users.”

Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon objected to the proposals to close the byways as he said it would be a violation of his human rights not to be able to access the area, particularly during Pagan ceremonies such as celebrations of the solstices and equinox.

However, Mr Pendragon approved of proposals to close part of the A344 to improve the amenity of the area.

The new visitor centre has planning permission and despite funding problems English Heritage hopes it can be completed by 2013

Link: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/9435205.Stonehenge_road_will_close__council_confirms/

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Winter solstice sunrise over Stonehenge 2011

23 12 2011

The omens are good that 2012 will be an excellent year, a druid said today, after the sun shone on Stonehenge during a dawn ceremony to mark the winter solstice.

 

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Sunrise

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Sunrise

 

Organisers of next year’s London Olympics could perhaps take heart from the positive pronouncement by Rollo Maughfling, the arch druid of the standing stones in Wiltshire, after this morning’s ceremony.

He said that the sun rising over the horizon at the end of the religious service, bathing more than 1,000 people who attended in pale light, meant good things for the next 12 months.

The mild temperatures and sunshine at the pre-historic site were a marked contrast to last year’s solstice, when the giant stones were surrounded by a thick blanket of snow and the winter morning mist obscured the actual sunrise.

”Just as the ceremony came to an end the sun came over the horizon, it was excellent,” Mr Maughfling said.

”It has been a very jolly occasion. It’s a good omen for the year ahead.”

During the winter solstice, the sun is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year, meaning shorter days and longer nights.

The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.

The shortest day of the year often falls on December 21, but this year the druid and pagan community marked the first day of winter today because the modern calendar of 365 days a year – with an extra day every four years – does not correspond exactly to the solar year of 365.2422 days.

Linj:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8972331/Winter-solstice-sunrise-over-Stonehenge-is-good-omen-for-2012-say-druids.html

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Winter Solstice Videos: http://www.youtube.com/stonehengetours

Merlin says ” A truly great Solstice celebration with a spectacular sunrise” 

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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