|King Arthur Pendragon at a previous winter solstice|
English Heritage will welcome people to the stones on December 22 to celebrate the first day of the winter season.
Many people believe that the Winter Solstice always falls on December 21. But the celebration of the winter solstice at Stonehenge is not fixed to a specific calendar date because of a mismatch between the calendar year and solar year.Sunrise is just after 8am on Tuesday December 22 and visitors will be able to access the monument field as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Entrance is free and will be available from roughly 7.45am until 10am, when the site will close before re-opening as normal.
Kate Davies, general manager of Stonehenge, said: “We are delighted to offer people a warm welcome to Stonehenge this Winter Solstice, and once again we have worked closely with the druid and pagan community to ensure that access is a success.
"If you are planning on coming, please consider travelling by bus or shared transport, dress very warmly and be prepared for wet weather.
"We do ask all those attending to please respect the stones and the people celebrating solstice with you.”
Senior druid, King Arthur Pendragon, who will be in attendance at the solstice, said: "From our point of view, it's one the very special moments because we think the ancients were more concerned about winter than summer. From Tuesday the days get longer, so it's about hope and renewal. It's very important to celebrate the winter solstice as it's the return of the sun.
"All are welcome to join me afterwards at a second ceremony by the Hill stone where we'll have poetry, music and song, and anyone is welcome to bring along their own song or guitar"
Parking is limited and there is in excess of a thirty minute walk, in low light, from the parking areas to the monument. People planning to attend should bring a torch and strong, waterproof footwear.
A limited number of Blue Badge permits will be available for disabled parking and there will be dedicated accessible transport to the stone circle which will begin just prior to the opening of the monument field. Please apply to Sandra.Ross@english-heritage.org.uk for permits.
Salisbury Reds will be running a shuttle bus service from Salisbury to Stonehenge from 6.30am.
For traffic, weather and news updates on the morning of solstice, please follow @eh_stonehenge and #wintersolsticeSH on Twitter.
Story by Rebecca Hudson Salisbury Journal
Stonehenge Tourist Guide