The National Trust have confirmed that neither Avebury nor its land across the Stonehenge Landscape will be open for this year’s summer solstice and are asking visitors not to travel to the area.
The celebrations which take place every midsummer, on or around the 21 June, regularly attract in the region of 10,000 people to Stonehenge and surrounding areas including Avebury.
A spokesperson said: “Our priority is always to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, volunteers, attendees and residents. This decision was made due to the on-going ban on mass gatherings, and the need to maintain social distancing – still the mainstay of measures to combat Coronavirus.”
English Heritage who manage Stonehenge have also announced that they will not be able to host the solstice at the World Heritage site, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all attendees, volunteers and staff.
The National Trust has consulted widely with its partners (English Heritage, Wiltshire Council, the Police, Ambulance services and Avebury village community).
The spokesperson said: ‘The National Trust recognise the spiritual importance and relevance of the summer Solstice and understands that this will come as a great disappointment to many but also not a huge surprise given the on-going pandemic crisis and a ban on mass gatherings. We hope that this announcement will be received with the understanding of everyone who likes to celebrate this important time of year and traditional acts of worship.”
Many other live events have either been cancelled or postponed this year due to the ongoing battle against the disease and to limit its spread.
The camping sites, the village pub, car parks and toilets will all be closed.
Each year the Trust works closely with partners through the Avebury Solstice Planning Group to manage visitors who come to Avebury for the Solstice aiming to ensure the event allows peaceful access for celebrants and to minimise disruption to the village and neighbouring farms. They thanked everyone for their understanding and that they hope to welcome summer solstice visitors back next year.