THE National Trust has confirmed that neither Avebury nor its land across the Stonehenge landscape will be open for this year’s summer solstice.

It is asking visitors not to travel to the area. The celebrations which take place every midsummer, on or around June 21, attract thousands of people.

"Our priority is always to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, volunteers, attendees and residents," said a spokesperson.

“This decision was made due to the on-going ban on mass gatherings, and the need to maintain social distancing."

The camping sites, the village pub, car parks and toilets will all be closed and Wiltshire council has already announced that the Ridgeway byway, popular with campervans, is closed to motor vehicles.

Each year the Trust works with the Avebury Solstice Planning Group to ensure the event allows peaceful access for celebrants and to minimise disruption,

Avebury hosts a range of different spiritualities and druids are a diverse bunch, with different groves (groups) emphasising different principles.

Many share a love of nature, respect for rituals and ceremonies and a belief in a range of gods and goddesses. Avebury's pagan community has reacted to the news by planning to video and stream their ceremonies online.

"Solstice is a very significant point in our religious experience. It is the peak of the sun, and Druids follow the sun," said Avebury Druid Henk Vis.

"We wish to recognise that by calling the sun up, and we do this by the big stones... they turn pink at sunrise, and it is a very special moment, so we are planning to video that for people that can't come this time."

Gordon Rimes, a pagan priest, says he will also be filming a ceremony. "It's an old ritual symbolising the change in the year," he said.

"I will be charging a light spear, which symbolises capturing the Sun through out the longest day of the year.

"At sunset, we cover it up, and it gets unveiled again at Winter solstice in December, and the shortest day of the year, when we welcome the sun back in again."

English Heritage manages Stonehenge and also says it will not host Solstice this year.