Booze banned from summer solstice celebrations
BOOZE will be banned from summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge, English Heritage has confirmed.
And drivers will have to fork out £15 to park at the Stones, in a bid to reduce the number of cars at the event.
When the plans were unveiled in February it led to a "pay to pray policy" accusation from senior druid King Arthur Pendragon.
Bosses at Stonehenge say the reason behind introducing a £15 parking charge is encourage more people to car share and use public transport.
They also believe that banning alcohol will "reduce the risk to those attending and to the monument itself". Drinking will not be allowed anywhere in the monument field.
Part of the reasons for the changes is the increase in numbers to Stonehenge for the summer solstice. In 2000, approximately 10,000 people attended while in 2014, the figure was close to 40,000. That same year, the stones were vandalised during both the summer and winter solstice celebrations.
Money raised from the new charges would go towards supporting £60,000 a year cost of maintaining the visitor centre car park. Kate Davies, Stonehenge’s General Manager, said: “Over the last 15 years we have seen a huge increase in the number of people celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge. We have limited parking facilities and we believe the parking charge will encourage more people to car share or travel by bus.
“We’ve also seen more drunken and disrespectful behaviour. Something has to be done or we risk losing what makes solstice at Stonehenge so special.
“These changes will help us to better look after both those attending the solstice and the ancient monument itself.
“Since we proposed these changes, we’ve had a lot of support from the public and from across all the different groups who help to organise the solstice celebrations.”
English Heritage also said it was mindful of how alcohol was used by some druids during ceremonial practice and would be consulting with the community on how moderate use of ritual alcohol.
Posted by tjj
7th April 2016ce