Friday 21 June 2013

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge - A midsummer day's scene: Revellers rise at dawn to celebrate the solstice with drumming and dancing

  • The solstice is a rare chance for members of the public to walk among the ancient Wiltshire stone circle
  • June 21 is the longest day of the calendar year, with daylight hours getting shorter from now on
  • By sunset last night, 2,000 people had gathered to keep vigil. By 5am, 21,000 people were greeting the sunrise
  • Police praise 'positive, friendly atmosphere' and made only 22 arrests, mainly for drug offences

Thousands of people spent the night at Stonehenge, watching the sun set then waiting for it to rise on the longest day of the year

About 21,000 people, including pagans, druids and partygoers, were at the ancient monument by dawn to greet the longest day of the year

Boaz Sobrado and his girlfriend Lolita Honich, from Hungary, kissed during a sunset ceremony at Stonehenge

Ian Temple, aka Wild Fox, of the Druids of Dorset Grove, wore traditional dress and facepaint for the solstice celebrations

The solstice, which means the sun is standing still, was also marked by about 500 people at Avebury, Wiltshire, who kept watch for the sunrise at stone circles there.
From Monday, the final steps in Stonehenge's transformation will begin. Part of the road running alongside will be permanently closed as part of a long-awaited refurbishment of the World Heritage Site.
The closure and grassing over of the A344 will make Stonehenge fully part of the landscape again, allowing visitors to relieve the walk between the stone circle and the prehistoric avenue that used to be the approach to the monument.
It is part of work which includes the creation of a new visitor centre around 1.5 miles away from the monument, with a cafe, shop and museum showing artefacts and exploring theories about Stonehenge, as well as three replica neolithic houses.
A girl jumped off a rock at Stonehenge during a sunset ceremony before thousands more people arrived at the ancient monument

The grey cloudy morning did not affect the mood at Stonehenge, where visitors played music and performed rituals

The solstice, which means a stopping or standing still of the sun, has been celebrated for thousands of years

Crowds were still celebrating the solstice at dawn despite keeping vigil overnight at Stonehenge

Dancing and drumming was among the overnight activities as people stayed awake to greet the morning

A couple of partygoers danced together in a rare chance to be among the Stonehenge stones

About 500 people attended a gathering at Avebury, 22 miles away from Stonehenge