This year’s summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge have been canceled due to the ban on mass gatherings caused by the coronavirus.
Traditionally, around 10,000 people gathered at the Neolithic Wiltshire monument on or about June 21 to mark mid-summer.
English Heritage said it was canceling the event “for the safety and well-being of participants, volunteers and staff.”
The opportunity will instead be broadcast live on the association’s social networks.
Stonehenge director Nichola Tasker said, “We have consulted widely on whether we could have proceeded safely and we would have liked to have hosted the event as usual, but unfortunately, in the end, we think we have no choice but to cancel.
“We hope our live broadcast will provide an alternative opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of the year and we look forward to welcoming everyone next year. “
Tasker urged people not to go to the monument for the solstice but to watch it online instead.
“We know how strong the draw is for some people,” she said. “But I take this opportunity to say please don’t travel to Stonehenge this summer solstice. “
The summer solstice is one of the rare occasions when English Heritage normally opens the stones to the public.
At the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the heel stone, the ancient entrance to the stone circle, and the sun’s rays are channeled into the center of the monument.
English Heritage said it had consulted the emergency services and the Druid and pagan community, among others, before making the decision.