Thousands mark Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Winter Solstice 2018

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 9:15am 22nd December 2018. (Updated at 11:50am 22nd December 2018)

It's one of the most important occasions in the Pagan calendar, with people allowed up close to the stones themselves.

Winter Solstice celebrates the end of the longest night of the year, with the sunrise happening at 8.09am this morning (Saturday December 22nd).

It's also one of the few occasions we can also go inside the stone circle.

5,000 visitors went along to mark the occasion - making the most of the mild, dry weather and Solstice falling on a weekend too.

Kate Davies from English Heritage has been telling Spire FM about the atmosphere at Winter Solstice:

Winter Solstice 2

See more photos from the morning's events on our Gallery page.

This year's Winter Solstice is also a poignant one, at the end of a year of celebrations to mark the centenary of Stonehenge itself being gifted to the nation by Cecil and Mary Chubb.

PEACEFUL EVENT:

English Heritage put out a plea to revellers before the event, asking them to 'respect the stones and each other' while taking part in Solstice.

Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Council work closely with English Heritage to make sure it passes off peacefully.

Curator of Stonehenge, Heather Sebire explained the meaning of Winter Solstice to Spire FM News:

STONEHENGE RE-OPENED TO VISITORS:

The monument field itself closed at 10.00am.

There's been a clean-up operation to get the site ready for re-opening to the public, which has been completed:

Winter Solstice Stonehenge 2018
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