A senior druid has spoken out against the latest lockdown news that in-person Summer Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge have been called off.

A statement released by English Heritage on Wednesday June 16 confirmed that this year, the site will only be open for small, pre-booked groups from the pagan and druid community.

But pagan priest and senior druid, King Arthur Pendragon, said he had nothing to do with the decision.

Celebrations to mark June 21, the longest day of the year, attract up to 30,000 visitors to witness the sun rise behind the Heel Stone.

It is believed crowds have been gathering at the site for thousands of years for the tradition.

'It's not me'

According to King Arthur, the statement from English Heritage claimed to be speaking to the pagan and druid community but he was never contacted, he says.

In a Facebook post, the senior druid said: "When English Heritage put out press releases and statements yesterday and claim to be speaking to the pagan and druid community, let me be clear: it certainly is not me.

"And when they say they are 'allowing' Pagan and Druid Groups of no more than thirty to enter the Henge either side of the Solstice, again, it certainly is NOT me."

The chief druid claims that anyone with pre-booked private access will be allowed onto the site, and not just members of the druid community.

He went on to say that there is "no reason" why celebrations couldn't go ahead with "managed open access", adding that he will be attending anyway.

English Heritage has been contacted for comment.

'Left with no choice'

Last year’s Summer and Winter Solstice celebrations were also cancelled due to the pandemic.

Prior to the Government's annoucement, the charity planned to welcome visitors back for a large event.

But when Stage 4 of the roadmap was pushed back, English Heritage said it was "left with no choice" but to cancel the event.

Instead, the sunset and sunrise will be live-streamed for free on its social media channels.

The government announced earlier this week that the lifting of stage 4 Covid-19 restrictions would be delayed from June 21 to July 19.

Rules currently state that groups of up to 30 can meet outdoors in England, with bigger crowds allowed at some sports and entertainment events, and holding an illegal gathering of more than 50 people outdoors can lead to a police fine of £10,000.

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