Summer solstice: Crowds begin to gather at Avebury

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Camping pitches are being allocated on a first come, first served basis Camping pitches are being allocated on a first come, first served basis

Crowds are gathering today in Avebury to celebrate the summer solstice, which culminates with sunrise tomorrow.

Numbers are expected to be up on last year because of the fine weather and because the annual Pagan celebration falls on a weekend this year.

The National Trust has permitted use of land at the far end of the Avebury car park for campers, a space that can accommodate almost 100 tents. Pitches are being allocated on a first come, first served basis today.

No parking is being permitted on roads around the village and police say they will tow away cars breaking the restrictions. Instead solstice visitors are being urged to use public transport.

Hilary Makins, the National Trust’s Avebury head ranger, said: “It’s really hard to say exactly how many people will turn up, but we’re expecting numbers to be up on last year, with it being a weekend and the likelihood of good weather.

“Public transport is always good, because once the parking spaces are gone they’re gone and there is nowhere else around here to park.”

Avebury Manor will be closed until Sunday, but the museum, cafe and shop will remain open.

Campers have to leave the village by 2pm on Sunday.

Wiltshire police are also urging people heading for the solstice at Stonehenge to use public transport.

Superintendent Gavin Williams said: “Vehicles will be turned away once the available space has been filled and any vehicles parked illegally will be dealt with appropriately.

“The surrounding roads, in particular the A303, A360 and A345 are likely to be extremely busy with long delays possible.”

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