English Heritage is introducing the following two changes to the summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge:
To reduce the risk to those attending and to the monument itself, alcohol will not be allowed in the monument field.
To encourage more people to use public transport or to car share and to make best use of the limited parking facilities, a parking charge of £15 per vehicle will be introduced.
English Heritage said: “English Heritage is a charity, and every penny generated at our sites works hard to protect and care for the nation’s heritage. Introducing a parking charge at Solstice will allow us to recover some of the £60,000 that we spend on providing parking facilities, for which we have to rent land and infrastructure. Over recent years we have seen an increasing number of people take the bus to the solstice celebrations and we hope that this parking charge will encourage even more people to travel by more sustainable means such as public transport or car shares.”
“Since open access was introduced for the solstice celebrations, more and more people have been coming to Stonehenge. 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.”
“English Heritage is committed to maintaining open access to the stones and has no intention of introducing an entrance fee to the monument during the solstice celebrations.”
Kate Davies, Stonehenge’s General Manager, says: “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 is mindful of the practices of some druid and pagan groups who use alcohol as part of their ceremonial practice and will consult with this community on how moderate use of ritual alcohol might be incorporated in to the new policy.