Monday, 20 June 2016

STONEHENGE SUMMER SOLSTICE: All you need to know about this year's event

Final preparations are being made for the biggest night of the year at Stonehenge - with thousands of people expected to see in tomorrow morning's sunrise (Tuesday June 21st 2016).
Numbers could be a little lower for this year's Summer Solstice, as it's on a week night, but Wiltshire Policeare still predicting at least 20,000 will turn out for the start of the longest day.

But, there could be protests too - with groups having already made their feelings known against changes, brought in by English Heritage, for this year's event like charging for car parking and a ban on alcohol.
Stonehenge General Manager Kate Davies says they've been working hard to get the plans right:
"We work on the plans for solstice all year round, working really closely with Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Council and other partners to make it a great success. We are ready, our priority is always to look after the monument and look after the people who come. We think we've got all our plans in place."
Plans to make sure this year's Summer Solstice at Stonehenge go off peacefully tonight are being described as 'robust'.
General Manager at Stonehenge Kate Davies reminds us why those new rules are being brought in:
"Over the past 15 years, we've seen attendances at solstice go from around 10,000 people to around 40,000 people. During that time, we have limited car parking spaces, we've seen drunken and disrespectful behaviour and we've even seen vandalism to the stones, something's got to change. We've got very robust plans in place to deal with any issues, but obviously we respect people's right to protest peacefully if they feel they need to."
Scroll down to hear more from Kate speaking to Spire FM's Faye Marsh.
  • Last entry for visitors on Monday 20th June will be 1.00pm.
  • The site will close at 3.00pm
  • The monument field will re-open to visitors from 7.00pm with sunset at 9.26pm
  • Following the solstice, the site will be closed for clean-up for the rest of Tuesday 21st June
  • It'll re-open to visitors on Wednesday 22nd June

The important part of the solstice celebrations is the sunrise on Tuesday 21st June - that will be at 4.52am

The monument field will then close at 8.00am.
You can hear more from Stonehenge General Manager Kate Davies here. She's been telling Spire FM's Faye Marsh about preparations, the reasons why the changes are being brought in, how they'll be enforced and the numbers they're expecting.  Visit Spire FM website
This year, English Heritage is charging visitors for on-site parking from 7.00pm on Monday 20th June, with the last admission at 6.00am on Tuesday 21st June. The car park will close at midday on Tuesday.
Here's how much it will cost you:
Stonehenge Parking Charges Summer Solstice 2016 (English Heritage)
Cash and credit cards will be accepted on the gate to pay for the car parking charges. Those charges apply to everyone on the night, including English Heritage and National Trust members.
Wiltshire Police has warned people NOT to park in the surrounding villages illegally, or blocking highways, with people then walking to the stones.
Bronze Commander on the night, Temporary Superintendent Dave Minty says traffic management will be key:
"We're committed to ensuring the free flow of traffic around there, so a lot of our policing will be around the road networks around Stonehenge. If (parked cars) are causing an obstruction, then they are liable to a fine and/or the removal of their vehicle. We can't allow, and we're not going to allow, the villages to get blocked up by people just abandoning their cars, so we will have people with us that are capable of lifting vehicles up and removing them."
Visitors are being encouraged to use public transport to visit Stonehenge on Solstice night. Salisbury Reds are running special shuttle buses throughout the night from Salisbury city centre and the train station up to the site.
Adult tickets are £10 return, children can ride for £5.
For the full timetable, you can visit their website at
You can find out more about the Conditions of Entry, set down by English Heritage for the Summer Solstice 2016 on their website at
You can also use social media to follow what's going on, using the hashtag#summersolstice
The Stonehenge Visitors Guide

Thursday, 12 May 2016

New Tour Group Facilities Planned for Stonehenge

World Heritage Site Stonehenge has revealed its plans for new group facilities at the site, such as a new group reception building and a dedicated coach park.

A temporary coach park extension is currently in operation at the site, but English Heritage intends to make the enhanced offering for groups more permanent. The key proposals include the creation of a newly-designed coach park which will offer spaces for up to 53 60-seater coaches.

The park will be designed to ease congestion, provide safer pedestrian access and make group arrival and departure procedures easier.

A new group reception building will also be built with exclusive WC facilities just for group visitors.
It will include an internal ticket and audio guide collection area with more till points to speed up groups’ journeys into the site..

The plans also include the creation of a new visitor transit shuttle pick up point, just for groups.
This will be located next to the group reception building, meaning groups will be able to go directly from their coach to the famous stone circle.]

This will provide up to 900 visitor journeys in each direction, every hour at peak times.
There will also be an improved and enlarged drop off/pick up area at the stones.

Kate Davies, Stonehenge’s general manager commented, “We are now seeking to introduce a sustainable longer term and permanent solution, which also addresses other pressure points on site that have impacted negatively on our ability to fully offer world class facilities at this leading UK attraction.

“Our own experience since we opened our new facilities at Stonehenge in December 2013, together with feedback from industry colleagues and visitors and extensive research have all shown that these key improvements could make a massive difference in the future, whilst maintaining the integrity of the World Heritage Site.”

It’s hoped that the first updates will be made in time for summer 2017.
For more information visit

The Stonehenge Tourist Guide

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Stonehenge - New Discoveries - talk in Shaftesbury by Mike Parker Pearson: 19th May 2016

Shaftesbury and District Archaeological Group has arranged for Mike Parker Pearson to give a talk entitled "Stonehenge - New Discoveries" on Thursday 19th May at 7.30pm at Shaftesbury Town Hall. Mike is Professor of British Later Prehistory at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and has excavated on archaeological sites around the world from Madagascar to Easter Island, to Orkney.

Mike led the Stonehenge Riverside Project from 2003 until 2009 and, with his team, revolutionised our understanding of Stonehenge, discovering a new henge and the settlement where Stonehenge's builders may have lived. The project collected three archaeological awards, while he received the UK Archaeologist of the Year award in 2010, and in 2012 he published a detailed book about the site which received glowing reviews.

Mike has since directed another major project in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, including the excavation of a Bronze Age settlement where he found the first evidence for mummification in prehistoric Britain. He is well known for his work on funerary archaeology and has written many books on this and other subjects.
By jspiteri  | Blackmore Vale Magazine

The Stonehnege Tourist Guide