Patrols to prevent camping and fires at Glastonbury Tor on Summer Solstice
- Credit: Paul Jones/Archant
Police and National Trust Wardens will be on patrol at Glastonbury Tor to prevent people camping and lighting fires to celebrate the Summer Solstice.
June 21 marks Midsummer's Day, also known as the solstice, and people have for many years celebrated at special spiritual sites such as the Tor, and notably at Stonehenge.
Now, people planning on visiting the Tor are being encouraged to play their part in ensuring there’s minimal disruption and damage to the ancient site.
The Glastonbury Multi Agency Group (MAG) says previous solstice celebrations have seen irresponsible vehicle parking on Stonedown Lane, blocking access for residents, preventing farmers from tending livestock and obstructing emergency vehicles.
MAG, which represents the county, district and town councils, as well as Avon and Somerset Police, has been working with the National Trust and consulting with residents to find solutions and ease any problems.
A new road layout was introduced in March at the Tor’s north entrance, and a grassy bund and boulders have helped reinforce a clearway along Stonedown Lane.
A new bus stop has also been installed, as well as disabled bays for blue badge holders, and people are encouraged to park in one of the town's many car parks.
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Camping and fires are also prohibited on Glastonbury Tor and the surrounding area.
National Trust Wardens, who look after the Tor, will be patrolling, as well as police and parking enforcement in the run-up to the Solstice on Tuesday.
Penalty notices will be issued to those parked illegally, and where necessary, vehicles will be towed away, visitors have been warned.
Somerset County Council’s lead executive member for transport and digital, Cllr Mike Rigby, said: "We don’t want to restrict anybody’s access to the Tor at the north entrance.
"We know this is a very important place for residents and visitors alike and we really want everyone to have a great Summer Solstice.
"This new layout simply prevents unauthorised parking and an unsustainable build-up of traffic on Stonedown Lane.
"Since the works were completed in March, Stonedown Lane is quieter, cleaner and safer for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders."
And Cllr Rigby urged people to park in the town and walk, or use bus services, to reach the Tor.
"For this year’s solstice we’d like to remind everyone there is plenty of parking in town in close proximity to the Tor entrances and well-marked routes for walkers," he added.
"There’s also a regular bus service, bicycle bays, and disabled parking at the entrance for blue badge holders.
"We would urge visitors to help look after this special place by respecting the environment, and if they are able, to cycle or take the bus from town to the north entrance."
James Mcwilliam, visitor operations and experience manager for the National Trust, said: "We are committed to allowing all visitors to enjoy the Tor and ensuring it can be accessed by everyone.
"However this can be made very difficult by visitors camping overnight, and the littering and damage done to the sensitive landscape.
"This year, we will be taking measures to protect the site from irresponsible behaviour.
"If everyone acts sensibly, and with consideration to others, we’ll be able to avoid congestion and parking problems and celebrate the solstice at Glastonbury for decades to come."