Morning after night before

Worshippers welcome the arrival of the summer solstice at Avebury

Worshippers welcome the arrival of the summer solstice at Avebury

First published in News

Crowds flocked to the stone circle at Avebury over the weekend to celebrate the summer solstice.

Around 1,500 people gathered at the ancient landmark for the Pagan celebration, which culminated with sunrise on Saturday.

Hilary Makins, the National Trust’s Avebury head ranger, said: “It was very busy with the weather and being at the weekend but everybody seemed to have a nice time. There were a few incidents; somebody fell down a bank and hurt their shoulder, but on the whole it was very enjoyable.

“First thing in the morning, just after sunrise, the place looks terrible. It’s covered in litter but the National Trust, some visitors and the Avebury Guardians, which is a volunteer group of Pagans, worked hard over the next few days to clear it up and it’s looking great again now.

“The campsite was filled quicker than ever before and we managed to squeeze more cars into the overspill car park than usual.

“There was a general feeling that there were more people than usual.”

The event passed peacefully with just three arrests, two for drugs-related offences and one for a public order offence.

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Superintendent Gavin Williams said: “We are pleased that the solstice celebrations have been enjoyable events for the majority of people attending.

“The road system worked well, with minimum delays, and many people used the public transport as we advised.

“There is always a small proportion of people who will try to break the law but I am satisfied that this was a successful policing operation and Wiltshire Police continue to facilitate a safe solstice with our partners.”

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