UK News

Summer solstice: Thousands gather at Stonehenge for longest day


Image caption

Thousands turned up to watch the sunrise

Thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge for the summer solstice, as the sun rose amid clear skies.

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.

Image caption

Police say attendance was down on last year

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.

“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.”

Image caption

Attendees reported a festival atmosphere among those witnessing the sunrise

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.

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.

Image caption

Mouth painter Tom Yendell captured the scene as the sun rose



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *