Letter: Rites, not riots

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Rather than this year's summer solstice arrangements being "unfair to Pagans" (letter, 2 June), hundreds of people will celebrate within the centre of Stonehenge, in their own way and at times they find appropriate.

These people cover a range of interest groups; "ordinary people" from the locality as well as archaeologist, astronomers (and astrologers!), ley-line enthusiasts and members of the many Pagan paths. Druids predominate merely because this sacred site has a special resonance for them, so many more applied for access.

This year's wider access is due to the untiring efforts of English Heritage and other bodies and a large number of representatives of other interest groups at a series of meetings. Mr Carlyon was an invited member, but chose to absent himself some months ago.

Access for the solstice is by prior application and discussion. Some friendly "horse trading" has resulted in suitable access for all applicants.

Allocation-by-agreement was necessary, not only to prevent damage from too many people but because people choose to celebrate in different and incompatible ways.

There is no need to worry about damage to the stones - all concerned take their wellbeing very seriously.

VAL BANNISTER

Vice President

The Pagan Federation

Southend on Sea, Essex

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