Stonehenge Summer Solstice: Thousands gather for longest day

21 06 2018

THOUSANDS of revellers have gathered at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to celebrate the arrival of summer and the year’s longest day, in a ritual that dates back thousands of years.

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About 9,500 people were at the Neolithic monument to greet the start of the longest day of the year, according to Wiltshire Police.

The sun appeared behind the Heel Stone at 04:52 BST to cheering and applause from the crowd.

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

As with last year’s event, Wiltshire Police confirmed it had stepped up security with armed police on patrol.

Although thousands attended the solstice, the force said 3,500 fewer people came to watch the sunrise compared with 2017.

Supt Dave Minty, Wiltshire Police’s overnight commander, said behaviour at the stones was “brilliant”, with no arrests made.

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“The sunrise was amazing, and we don’t see many of those,” he added.

“People seem to have adapted really well to the heightened level of security and they’ve been really patient with it.”

On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the stone circle, and sunlight is channelled into the centre of the monument.

It is believed that solstices have been celebrated at Stonehenge for thousands of years.

The site holds special significance for members of the Druid and Pagan community, who perform rituals and celebrations at the summer and winter solstices.

FULL STORY (SOURCE) BBC NEWS

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Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations: 2018 Open Access Arrangements.

25 05 2018

English Heritage are pleased to provide free Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice 2018 and ask that if you are planning to join the celebrations for this peaceful and special occasion that you follow these Conditions of Entry. These are written to ensure enjoyment and safety for everyone attending summer solstice at Stonehenge.

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Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site which has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice for thousands of years.

This important site is seen by many as a sacred site – if you are planning to visit for summer solstice we ask that you please respect the stones and each other.

2018 SOLSTICE DATES AND TIMES

WEDNESDAY 20th JUNE 2018
ACCESS TO MONUMENT FIELD 19:00hrs
SUNSET 21:26hrs

THURSDAY 21st JUNE 2018
SUNRISE 04.52hrs
MONUMENT FIELD CLOSES 08:00hrs

The Solstice Car Park opens at 19:00hrs on 20th June 2018 with last admissions at 06:00hrs (or when full if earlier) on 21st June. The car park will close at 12.00 noon on 21st June.

ADMISSION, PLANNING YOUR JOURNEY AND PARKING
Admission to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge is free of charge.

We strongly recommend travelling by public transport or arranging to car share with friends. You can also request or offer a lift to Stonehenge by following this link.

COME PREPARED

Stonehenge is in a field on Salisbury Plain and the weather in June can be cold and may be wet and windy. Even if it isn’t raining, the ground will be wet from the dew. There may also be frost.

Please be prepared for a 30 minute walk (in low light or darkness), from the bus drop off and from parking areas to the monument. You are strongly advised to wear warm and waterproof clothing and footwear and bring a torch with you.

Toilets at the Monument Field will only be available once the access period begins. There are no catering facilities in the monument field, however the café at the visitor centre is open for hot drinks and breakfast rolls from 6am.

Please note that there are no other amenities or facilities available to visitors until the Monument Field opens.

Please note to reduce risk to those attending and to the monument itself, alcohol is not allowed in the monument field during summer solstice.

GETTING HERE:

Parking for the Summer Solstice is very limited and English Heritage cannot guarantee that you will be able to park near to Stonehenge. If you are planning to travel by car, wherever you park there may be a 30 minute walk to the Monument. We strongly recommend car sharing or using public transport.

Car Sharing – Request or offer a lift to Solstice at Stonehenge

Travel by bus – Salisbury Reds buses will be running from 06:30 from Salisbury (New Canal, Stop U and Salisbury Rail Station). Check timetable.

Organised Solstice Tours – If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Solstice celebrations you can even join an organised tour.  Use a reputable tour operator who respect the conditions.  Stonehenge Guided Tours are the longest established company and offer guided tours and transport from London and Solstice Events offer small group Summer  Solstice Tours from Bath using local expert guides.

Blue Badge Parking – Blue badge parking is in the visitor centre car park and permits must be booked in advance. There is accessible transport to the monument field from the visitor centre beginning at approximately 6.30am. Permits available from Solstice.Stonehenge@english-heritage.org.uk

As you approach Stonehenge, there will be signs to direct you to the car park – please ensure that you follow these. Please do not arrive early as there is no waiting on the roads in the area and you will be moved on.

Parking may involve a shuttle journey to the visitor centre and wherever you park there may be a 30 minute walk.

  • There is a parking charge of £15 per car, live-in vehicle and non-commericial minibus (up to 19 seats) at Stonehenge during Summer Solstice.
  • Motorbikes £2
  • Commercial coaches £100

The car parking charge is designed to encourage people to car share and will help the charity offset  the costs of providing additional staffing and lighting in the car parks.

Please note, car parking charges apply to all users of the Winter Solstice car parks, including Blue Badge holders, and members of English Heritage and National Trust.

Motorists have access to a park and ride shuttle from the off-site solstice car parking to the visitor centre. A shuttle will also be provided between the visitor centre and Stonehenge, however visitors are asked to note that disabled people have priority on this bus and should therefore be prepared for a 30 minute walk, in low light, from parking areas to the monument.

English Heritage cannot guarantee entry to the car parks and recommend coming by public transport as cars will be turned away when the car parks are full.

Please visit the official English Heritage website for full details.

Relevant links:
Respecting the Stones
Salisbury Reds Local Bus Service

English Heritage Conditions of Entry
The Salisbury Reds special solstice shuttle service
Traveling to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice

Please note parking charges apply.

Further details, and information to help you plan your journey, including details of local accommodation providers, will be published on these pages shortly, along with other helpful advice for summer solstice.

Visiting Stonehenge this year for the 2018 Solstice Celebrations?

Please read this blog:
Respecting the Stones

Follow @St0nehenge @EH_Stonehenge @VisitStonehenge @HighwaysEngland and @Wiltshirepolice @Stonehenge_King for #summersolstice updates on the night.

If you are unable to visit Stonehenge on the Solstice you can watch our LIVE PERISCOPE STONEHENGE BROADCAST

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First Day of spring: Stonehenge crowd gathers for sunrise to celebrate the Spring Equinox.

20 03 2018

The first day of spring has been marked by 1000 revellers who gathered at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise.

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Druids and pagans were joined by a mass of revellers at the ancient monument to celebrate the spring or vernal equinox.

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Open access to the stones was given from first light, 05:45 GMT, by English Heritage which manages the site.

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THOUSANDS gathered at Stonehenge to celebrate the first sunrise after the winter solstice.

23 12 2017

Thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge to witness the sunrise on the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

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Crowds arrived at the Wiltshire landmark before dawn with many others travelling to the Avebury stone circle, which is also in the county.

The winter solstice marks the point when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun.

The solstice occurred at 04:49 GMT, with the sun rising at 08:04.

Pagans and druids dressed in traditional clothing joined families and a choir to mark the end of the longest night of the year.

Thick cloud at the prehistoric site in Wiltshire meant the sunrise, at 8.10am, was not visible.

Kate Davies, of English Heritage, said: “We were delighted to welcome approximately 5,000 people to Stonehenge to celebrate winter solstice this morning.

“It was an enjoyable and peaceful celebration despite the damp weather and it was great to see so many families enjoying the music and chanting around the monument.

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Stonehenge Winter Solstice Celebrations: 22nd December 2017

25 11 2017

English Heritage will once again welcome people to Stonehenge to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Sunrise is just after 8am on Friday 22nd December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Please read the information below before planning your visit

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

DATE AND TIMINGS
FRIDAY 22nd DECEMBER 2017
MONUMENT FIELD OPENS: 07.45am (approximately, depending on light levels)
MONUMENT FIELD CLOSES: 10am

Please note, access to Stonehenge for Winter Solstice is free. Parking charges apply.

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

Access to Stonehenge for solstice is subject to the Conditions of Entry – please read these before deciding whether to attend.  Please aslo read this article on respecting the Stones.

COME PREPARED

Stonehenge is in a field on Salisbury Plain and the weather in December will be cold and may be wet and windy. Even if it isn’t raining, the ground will be wet from the dew. There may also be frost.

Please be prepared for a 30 minute walk (in low light or darkness), from the bus drop off and from parking areas to the monument. You are strongly advised to wear warm and waterproof clothing and footwear and bring a torch with you.

Toilets at the Monument Field will only be available once the access period begins. There are no catering facilities in the monument field, however the café at the visitor centre is open for hot drinks and breakfast rolls from 6am.

Please note that there are no other amenities or facilities available to visitors until the Monument Field opens.

GETTING HERE:

Parking for Winter Solstice is very limited and English Heritage cannot guarantee that you will be able to park near to Stonehenge. If you are planning to travel by car, wherever you park there may be a 30 minute walk to the Monument. We strongly recommend car sharing or using public transport.

Car Sharing – Request or offer a lift to Solstice at Stonehenge

Travel by bus – Salisbury Reds buses will be running from 06:30 from Salisbury (New Canal, Stop U and Salisbury Rail Station). Check timetable.

Organised Tours – If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice celebrations you can even join an organised tour.  Use a reputable tour operator who respect the conditions.  Stonehenge Guided Tours are the longest established company and offer guided tours and transport from London and Solstice Events offer small group Winter Solstice tours from Bath using local expert guides.

Blue Badge Parking – Blue badge parking is in the visitor centre car park and permits must be booked in advance. There is accessible transport to the monument field from the visitor centre beginning at approximately 6.30am. Permits available from Solstice.Stonehenge@english-heritage.org.uk

Parking and parking charges Limited parking is available in the winter solstice car parks, which will open at 5.30am on the 22nd December. (Stonehenge re-opens to all visitors from 11.30am on Friday 22nd December)

As you approach Stonehenge, there will be signs to direct you to the car park – please ensure that you follow these. Please do not arrive early as there is no waiting on the roads in the area and you will be moved on.

Parking may involve a shuttle journey to the visitor centre and wherever you park there may be a 30 minute walk.

  • Cars, private hire minibuses and live-in vehicles £5
  • Motorbikes £2
  • Commercial coaches £100

The car parking charge is designed to encourage people to car share and will help the charity offset  the costs of providing additional staffing and lighting in the car parks.

Please note, car parking charges apply to all users of the Winter Solstice car parks, including Blue Badge holders, and members of English Heritage and National Trust.

Motorists have access to a park and ride shuttle from the off-site solstice car parking to the visitor centre. A shuttle will also be provided between the visitor centre and Stonehenge, however visitors are asked to note that disabled people have priority on this bus and should therefore be prepared for a 30 minute walk, in low light, from parking areas to the monument.

English Heritage cannot guarantee entry to the car parks and recommend coming by public transport as cars will be turned away when the car parks are full.

 

Please visit the official English Heritage website for full details.

Relevant links:
Respecting the Stones
Salisbury Reds Local Bus Service

English Heritage Conditions of Entry
The Salisbury Reds special solstice shuttle service

Follow @St0nehenge @EH_Stonehenge @VisitStonehenge @HighwaysEngland @VisitWiltshire and @Wiltshirepolice for #WinterSolstice2017 updates on the day.

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Hundreds of druids and pagans descend on Stonehenge to celebrate the Autumn Equinox

24 09 2017

Hundreds of pagans and druids descended on Stonehenge on the 23rd September to celebrate the equinox as autumn began.

Visitors headed to the famous 5,000-year-old site in Wiltshire in the dark to ensure they got to see the sun rise.

And they made the most of one of only four public annual events that allows people to get so close to the stones.

Photographs showed attendees singing and wearing a variety of extravagant outfits as onlookers watched on.

 

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Stonehenge Autumn Equinox Open Access Arrangements: 23rd September 2017

21 09 2017

English Heritage are expected to offer a short period of access, from  first light or safe enough to enter the monument field (approximately 06.30am) until 08:30am on the 23rd September this year

The Autumn Equinox (Mabon)
The 2017 Autumn Equonox is September 22nd at 21:02 GMT
Sunrise will be 6.58am

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It is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly empty, because the crops have been plucked and stored for the coming winter. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. On or around September 21st, for many Pagan and Wiccan traditions it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings. It’s a time of plenty, of gratitude, and of sharing our abundance with those less fortunate.

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.

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

Respecting the Stones
The conditions of entry for the Managed Open Access.  Click here

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