Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Summer Solstice Celebrations at Stonehenge 2012

Each year on the 21st June visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight to mark the summer solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. At dawn the central Altar stone aligns with the Slaughter stone, Heel stone and the rising sun to the northeast.
The Summer Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there. It’s an ad hoc celebration that brings together England’s New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people – 1000′s of them!
For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s akin to a spiritual experience. Anyone who has witnessed the crowd become silent as the sky begins to brighten can attest to that.
English Heritage are again expected to provide "Managed Open Access" for around 20,000 people to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Please help to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the conditions (see below).
Please note that a high volume of traffic is anticipated in the Stonehenge area on the evening of Wednesday 20th June. The car park (enter off the A303 from the roundabout - it's signposted) will open at around 7pm on Wednesday 20th June, and close at around noon on Thursday 21st June. Note that last admission to the car park for vehicles is at around 6am.
Stonehenge Access
Access to the stones themselves is expected to be from around 8.30pm on Wednesday 20th June until 8am on Thursday 21st June.
There's likely to be casual entertainment from samba bands & drummers but no amplified music is allowed. When you visit Stonehenge for the Solstice, please remember it is a Sacred Place to many and should be respected.
Van loads of police have been present in the area in case of any trouble, but generally a jovial mood prevails. Few arrests have been made in previous years, mostly in relation to minor drug offences.
Facilities at Stonehenge
Toilets and drinking water are available and welfare is provided by festival welfare services. There are normally one or two food and drink vans with reasonable prices but huge queues, all well away from the stones themselves.
  • Sunset on Wednesday 20th June 2012 is at 2126 hrs (9.26pm)
  • Sunrise on Thursday 21st June 2012 is at 0452 hrs (4.52am)

Conditions of Entry
Rules include no camping, no dogs, no fires or fireworks, no glass bottles, no large bags or rucksacks, and no climbing onto the stones. Please use the bags given free on arrival and take them out, filled with your litter, to the skips provided. Please respect the rules so that we're all able to enjoy the solstice morning at Stonehenge for years to come.
Getting there
Where possible, please travel to Stonehenge using public transport. The local bus company, Wilts & Dorset, will be running a service from Salisbury railway and bus stations to Stonehenge over the Solstice period. This bus service will commence at 1830 hours (6.30pm) on Wednesday 20th June and run regularly until 0115 hours (1.15am) on Thursday 21st June. A service taking people back to Salisbury will start again at 0400 hours (4am) and run frequently until 0945 hours (9.45am). Access to Stonehenge from the bus drop off point is through the National Trust farmland. The Stonehenge Tour Company offer mini coach tours and transport from London but only take a small group and are often full 6 months in advance.
Helpful links
Stonehenge and Solstice updates on Twitter, Stonehenge on Twitter
For directions, 
click here.

For bookings, dog policy etc., you need to contact English Heritage, click here, the custodians of the site.
For special access to the Stones (not during the Solstice), click here.
The Avebury complex is a must on your itinerary and only a short journey, north, from Stonehenge. There is free, open access to the whole of this huge site. click here for more information.
Stonehenge Tour Guide

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Inflatable Stonehenge Lets You Perform Your Druid Ceremonies Anywhere

Tired of trekking all the way to the Wiltshire countryside just to perform your druid rituals at the actual Stonehenge site? Do you wish there was a more convenient way? Well your prayers—or chants, or whatever—have been answered with this inflatable alternative.

Created by artist Jeremy Deller to commemorate the Olympic games, and to show that Britain has a good sense of humour, this unique version of Stonehenge is completely inflatable. So all you need is a big enough space, an air compressor, and a bit of patience, and in no time you’ll have your own version of one of our biggest mysteries. And maybe next time Deller will create a bouncy castle version of Buckingham Palace—now that’s a tourist attraction. [BBC via Neatorama]


Stonehenge Tour Guide

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Neolithic acoustics of Stonehenge revealed by academics

A team of academics have revealed the "sonic experience" that early visitors to Stonehenge would have heard.
Scholars from the Universities of Salford, Huddersfield and Bristol used an American replica of the monument to investigate its audio history.
Salford's Dr Bruno Fazenda said they had found the site reacted to sound "in a way that would have been noticeable to the Neolithic man".
He said the research would allow a "more holistic" view of its past.

The degradation of the site meant it could not be used for acoustic tests
"It is as if we can travel back in time and experience the space in a more holistic way”  Dr Bruno Fazenda University of Salford
The acoustic experiments could not be carried out at Stonehenge, as the derelict state of the site meant only a "few weak echoes and no noticeable reverberation" could be studied.
As a result, the team used a full-sized concrete reconstruction of it in Maryhill, America, which was built in 1929 as a memorial to WWI soldiers.
In February, scientist Steven Waller published a paper suggesting the design of Stonehenge could have been inspired by music.
Dr Fazenda, who has been involved with the acoustic testing of the monument for four years, said his own research had not revealed if this was the case or not.
"Stonehenge is very well known, but people are still trying to find out what it was built for," he said.
"We thought that doing this would bring an element of archaeology that so far hasn't been looked at.
Maryhill replica of Stonehenge
The team used an American concrete replica of Stonehenge for tests 
"This type of research is important because now we can not only see ourselves surrounded by the stones using virtual reality, but we can also listen how the stone structure would have enveloped people in a sonic experience.
"It is as if we can travel back in time and experience the space in a more holistic way."
Dr Fazenda said that the data collected did not "unequivocally reveal" if the site was designed with acoustics in mind, like a Roman amphitheatre.
But he added that it did show "the space reacted to acoustic activity in a way that would have been noticeable to the Neolithic man

Link source: BBC

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Stonehenge Future. English heritage plans for 2012 - 2014

Stonehenge key milestones from now to 2014:

May/June 2012: Removal of Airman’s Cross memorial for safe storage during construction works. Construction begins at Airman’s Corner

July/Aug 2012: Stonehenge to welcome visitors during the Olympics as normal at the current facilities

Sept 2012: Improvement works to Longbarrow Roundabout begin

March 2013: A344 closed to traffic between the A303 and Byway 12 (access to current visitor facilities and car park via A360/ Airman’s Corner)

Summer 2013: Installation of Airman’s Cross memorial in visitor building precincts

Oct 2013: New visitor centre opens, existing facilities and car park decommissioned, fencing removed

From Autumn 2013: Re-landscaping work at the site of current facilities and car park

Summer 2014: Environmental improvement works completed

It is their intention to keep local residents, community groups and businesses fully informed about the project, and we will be sending out regular newsletters updating you on progress.


Stonehenge Tour Guide