Coronavirus: Stonehenge summer solstice celebration to be live-streamed after event cancelled

Wiltshire monument closed since March following outbreak of Covid-19 across UK

Samuel Lovett
Tuesday 12 May 2020 09:32 BST
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Restrictions on public gatherings mean the event cannot take place next month
Restrictions on public gatherings mean the event cannot take place next month (Getty Images)

This year’s summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge are to be live-streamed after the event was cancelled due to the ban on mass gatherings.

Uo to 10,000 people routinely observe the rising of the sun at the neolithic Wiltshire monument on the longest day of the year, typically 21 June.

But restrictions on public gatherings mean the event cannot take place next month. English Heritage will be streaming the sunrise online instead.

The site has been closed since March following the outbreak of coronavirus across the UK.

Stonehenge director Nichola Tasker, said: “We have consulted widely on whether we could have proceeded safely and we would have dearly liked to host the event as per usual, but sadly in the end, we feel we have no choice but to cancel.

“We hope that our live stream offers an alternative opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.

“We know how strong the draw to come is for some people. But I would take this opportunity to say please do not travel to Stonehenge this summer solstice.”

Midsummer is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage provides the public with access to the stones.

Work started on the stone circle around 5,000 years ago in the late Neolithic Age – but it took over 1,000 years to build.

Archaeologists believe the final changes were made around 1,500 BC, in the early Bronze Age.

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