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Thousands flock to Stonehenge to mark summer solstice

People flocked to the attraction to chant, play instruments and dance from Tuesday evening within the perimeter of the historic stone circle.

Around 8,000 modern day spiritualists – and other curious visitors – flocked to Stonehenge to mark the summer solstice.

People dressed as druids and pagans were among those gathering at the attraction in Wiltshire on Wednesday morning to celebrate what is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and the official start of summer.

Participants spent the previous few hours chanting, playing instruments and dancing from Tuesday evening within the perimeter of the historic stone circle.

For some the summer solstice is simply a day for revelry, for other modern day spiritualists Stonehenge and the summer solstice hold centuries long importance.

The sun is known to rise behind the Heel Stone in the north east part of the horizon – with its first rays shining into the heart of the stone circle.

It was built on the flat lands of Salisbury Plain some 5,000 years ago, with the unique stone circle erected in the late Neolithic period around 2,500 BC.

“Stonehenge continues to captivate and to bring people together to celebrate the seasons, just as it has done for thousands of years,” said Nichola Tasker, director of Stonehenge at English Heritage.

“There was a wonderful atmosphere from sunset to sunrise, and everybody enjoyed a very atmospheric morning.”

The attraction’s prehistoric stone circle is also located on ley lines – historic alignments between stone structures – which some believe to have mystical powers.

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