In response to comments in two recent letters regarding parking at Avebury during the solstice, I feel it is important to set out the National Trust's current position on parking over that period.

Both letters suggested that more parking should be provided by the National Trust at solstice.

The concern over parking is understandable, but the difficulty facing Avebury is that increasing car parking availability is quite likely to increase demand, as the number of people who would like to come to the solstice, if conditions were ideal, is likely to be much higher than come in the present conditions.

The capacity of Avebury to absorb visitors, even over a short time period, is not unlimited, and considerations of safety, and the presence of a local community, must be taken into account.

In particular, and apart from the general disruption locally, Avebury has a major road running through it, which is used for commuting and which has to be crossed by visitors to access different parts of the circle.

Access from many of the potential sites for temporary car parks would be along the main road and the village, including a school is situated within and next to the stone circles.

All these considerations mean that it is difficult to support any move which has the potential to increase numbers attending the solstice.

At present, therefore, the National Trust pursues what seems to be the only practical way of keeping numbers fairly low that is, by restricting parking, and in this we are supported by the parish council.

In addition, and for the first time this year, we inserted a note into the National Trust website a week in advance indicating that the car park was likely to be full for the solstice weekend. This may have discouraged some people from coming or encouraged them to visit by other means.

We do acknowledge, however, that the situation is not ideal, and it is possible that at some point a local landowner will experiment with providing parking, but the view of the National Trust is that it is not an experiment it would be right for the trust to undertake as it brings with it the possibility of vastly increasing numbers.

Although some people are clearly unhappy with this, the numbers of complaints received by the trust at Avebury has been low.

For each solstice, however, practices are reviewed and if people feel strongly about matters relating to Avebury they are very welcome to let us know th

Ros Cleal

The National Trust