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FEATURE

Will Structures Stop Stonehenge’s Summer Solstice Sunrises?

There’s no more important day to druids and Stonehenge souvenir shop owners than the summer solstice. It’s the day thousands gather to gaze at the spot known as the Sun Gap to observe the summer solstice sunrise through the massive stones thought to be positioned according to this and other celestial events. That view may soon be spoiled and perhaps even blocked by a housing project.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) wants to build hundreds of homes for up to 4,000 troops being withdrawn from Germany at Larkhill, a garrison town one mile north of Stonehenge. Most of Larkhill is within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, so the MoD is conducting a study to determine the impact of the construction.

This has happened before in the same location. An aerodrome was built there in 1910 and aircraft storage sheds were positioned so as to not block the summer solstice sightlines.

An original photo of the Larkhill aeroplane hangers.

An original photo of the Larkhill aeroplane hangers.

Heritage officials, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), astronomers, historians, religious groups, local residents and fans of Stonehenge worldwide are demanding that the houses be built elsewhere. Further, they’re asking that a line of trees which has grown over the years in the gap be removed.

The MoD study is scheduled to end at the end of March and meetings with protesters have been planned. Let’s hope they do the right thing and let the sun continue to rise unobstructed over Stonehenge.

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