WINTER Solstice is approaching – and Stonehenge once again takes its place at the heart of events to mark the occasion.
The Wiltshire attraction plays an important role in celebrating both the summer and winter solstices, and has done for thousands of years.
Now, English Heritage has unveiled details of free, managed access to Stonehenge and the conditions of entry.
The Winter Solstice event will take place on Thursday (December 22). Admission is free of charge and entry to the monument will be from 7.45am (or when it is light enough to safely enter) until 10am. All vehicles must vacate the car parks by 11am.
“Please note that access to Stonehenge might not be possible if the ground conditions are poor or if it is considered that access might result in severe damage to the monument,” a spokesperson said.
“Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines.
“We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for the protection of Stonehenge and its surrounding monuments.
“If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.
“These Conditions of Entry are written to ensure enjoyment and public safety for everyone. Contravention of any of these conditions may result in entry being refused or your removal from Stonehenge.
“English Heritage reserves the right to refuse entry.”
* Amplified Music is inappropriate and will not be permitted.
* Drunken, disorderly, and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated; ejection, by security staff and/or Police, without return, will be the outcome.
* Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
* Illegal drugs are still illegal at Stonehenge as they are anywhere else. The police will be on site during the access period and will take immediate action against anyone breaking the law.
* Please do not bring dogs, pets or other animals into Stonehenge, with the exception of registered guide dogs or other assistance animals. Apart from potentially upsetting wildlife and stock in the area, animal faeces present a health risk to both people walking barefoot and children.
* Please do not bring large bags.
* Glass is not allowed at the monument as many people walk barefoot and, in addition, livestock and wildlife also graze in the area.
* Camping is not permitted at Stonehenge, in the Visitor Centre car park or on the surrounding National Trust Land. Please do not bring duvets or sleeping bags.
* Do not climb or stand on any of the stones – this includes the stones that have fallen. This is in the interest of personal safety, the protection of this special site and respect for those attending. As well as putting the stones themselves at risk, climbing on them can damage the delicate lichens.
* To help us reduce the amount of litter on site, leafleting or flyering is not allowed.
* Please do not light fires or bring flaming torches, candles, night-lights, fireworks, or any other type of real flame. Do not bring flammable substances or fuel. This applies to the stones and to the land that surrounds them. The nature of this access makes real flame extremely dangerous. It constitutes a potential fire hazard and is against stringent Health and Safety guidelines which must be observed. It also infringes local bylaws and regulations.
* There is a No Fly Zone in place over Stonehenge during Winter Solstice which makes the flying of drones and remote controlled aircraft illegal. If you attempt to fly a drone or remote controlled aircraft from anywhere on site, including the Visitor Centre Car Park, you will be stopped and asked to leave.
* Please be aware that live broadcast filming is taking place. By entering the Monument Field you agree that your likeness may appear in this broadcast.
Extremely limited parking is available and organisers strongly recommend using public transport. Salisbury Reds are operating a dedicated Solstice service from Salisbury train station via Amesbury.
Limited parking is available in the Winter Solstice car parks, which will open at 6am on December 22. Follow the brown tourist route signage to Stonehenge.
There will be a parking charge for all vehicles in the official car parks for Winter Solstice 2022 – £5 for cars and minibuses up to 16 seats and £2 for motorbikes. This can be paid by cash or card.
“Whatever the weather, it could be cold and wet,” the spokesperson said.
“Shuttle buses will be running to take you from the car parks to the stones.
“However, you may choose to walk from the Visitor Centre up to the stones. “This takes 30 minutes on average and will be in low-light. So a torch would be essential.”
Blue Badge Holders
Parking for blue badge holders is available. No pre-booking is required. Visitors are asked to highlight their Blue Badge to stewards on arrival so that they can be directed to a Blue Badge parking space.
Visitors with accessibility requirements will have access to a shuttle bus to and from the Monument Field and the Visitor Centre.
The Visitor Centre café is open from 6am for hot drinks and breakfast.
Toilet facilities will be available from 6am when the car parks open to Winter Solstice visitors.
Limited toilet facilities are available at the Monument Field for the duration of the access (7.45am until 10am) although these facilities will not be open prior to the access commencing.
For more information call English Heritage Customer Services Solstice Information Hotline on 0370 333 1181.