What is usually a mass gathering of people at the iconic monument has now been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The summer solstice gathering at the famous English Heritage site, Stonehenge, has been cancelled this year due to the pandemic. The ban on mass gatherings and the current social distancing measures in place mean it would be impossible to hold the event.
Normally, thousands of people attend the event, which sees druids, and pagans celebrate the longest day of the year.
It is generally held on or around 21st June. Stonehenge Director, Nichola Tasker was quoted in the Salisbury Journal and said, “Given the sheer number of major events worldwide which have already been cancelled, I doubt this will come as a huge surprise.”
She went to say that there was no choice but to cancel the event, as there was extensive consultation on whether or not it would be safe to do so. Unfortunately, it was not the case, and they are very sorry to have cancelled it.
Stonehenge, among other popular historical sites, has been closed to the public since 18th March due to the current restrictions. The English Heritage team explained that it would try to re-open as soon as safe to do so. However, there might also be restrictions in place when it does open to ensure that everyone is safe.
Live-streaming summer solstice
Not all is lost for avid visitors to the stones at for this event. English Heritage has announced they are streaming the occasion live so everyone can watch from the comfort of their own home.
Speaking with the Salisbury Journal, Nichola said, “We hope that our live stream offers an alternative opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.”
She also urged for people to stay at home and watch it online. This news comes as the exercise restrictions are being eased, and more people may travel further afield. The English Heritage Trust realises that it is a big draw for people but are advising the public to be safe at this time.
The summer solstice event is one of the very few occasions where members of the public can stand close to the stones. In normal visiting situations, people are only allowed to view the stones from at least a 5m distance.
On the English Heritage website, it says they were planning to open on 1st May, but due to current announcements, they will now be closed for a while. You can take a virtual tour of the stones via the website.
Although it is being advised for people to stay away, other beauty spots have seen visitors during the pandemic even though restrictions were in place. From tomorrow when the travelling restriction has been eased a little, it might mean people travel to the area anyway.
The winter solstice saw crowds gather in chilly temperatures. One attendee at the event, Michael DeAngelo, who was visiting the historic Wiltshire site, said to PA Media, “I don’t think anything made me connect more with my humanness than seeing that. And the planet and mankind in general.”