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Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

Eastern Shore Va
Level Contributor
60 posts
69 reviews
Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

Has anyone attended? We will be in the area this September 22-23 and thought it would be a unique experience. We will arrive in Salisbury via train from London and plan on renting a car. We want to visit Wells and Glastonbury while touring this area of England. Is it better to stay the night in Amesbury or Salisbury? Is it ok to drive to Stonehenge morning of September 23 or would it be best to use bus/taxi? Thanks for any suggestions!

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Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London, Windsor
Level Contributor
8,029 posts
62 reviews
1. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

I've been to the winter solstice twice. I was wondering about going to the spring equinox in March, so I might be able to let you know what that's like.

I guess if you have a car it won't matter too much whether you stay in Amesbury or Salisbury, although of course the former is that bit closer to Stonehenge. You will probably have to arrive a good while before the sunrise because parking will be at a premium (ie 5 am) with people allowed in around 06.15am ... oh hang on. If you stay in Salisbury there *may* be a shuttle bus. Info will probably be out nearer the time.

There was some discontent, if I recall, that English Heritage were charging ?£5 (I may have made that figure up, but I don't think so) to park.

england
Level Contributor
6,689 posts
129 reviews
2. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

summer parking charge was £15, cant find anything saying what it will be next time.

Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
2,907 posts
60 reviews
3. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

last year parking was very limited for the winter solstice most took the bus from Amesbury or Salisbury

or walked from Amesbury also the parking in Amesbury is not that large

there is nowhere to park anywhere on the roads near Stonehenge to park

there is a court case going on at this time about free parking at the solstice so who knows what will happen next year

if you are going to get a taxi book it in advance it will not be cheap

going by last year the bus that was put on was the best choice apart from walking but you don't know the area one thing for sure is it will be cold dark and wet

Wiltshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Wiltshire
Level Contributor
11,299 posts
440 reviews
4. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

<< We will be in the area this September 22-23 and thought it would be a unique experience. >>

It may well be a fun early morning but the monument, at least as explained to me, aligns to summer and winter so I'm unaware of any "proper" significance that can be assumed for the Autumnal Equinox, but there will a crowd of happy folks/pagans/New Age/hippies (insert phrase to suit ones preconceptions !) around at the time, but they will be effectively entertaining themselves with events for which I am unaware of any historical connection.

The exact moment of the Autumnal Equinox in 2017 is on 22 September at 2002hrs UTC (and hence 2102hrs in U.K.) making a dawn attendance yet more problematic.

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London, Windsor
Level Contributor
8,029 posts
62 reviews
5. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

Here you go, PMQ. No need to thank me. ;-)

"In 1966, C. A. ‘Peter’ Newham described an alignment for the equinoxes by drawing a line between one of the Station Stones with a posthole next to the Heel Stone. He also identified a lunar alignment; the long sides of the rectangle created by the four station stones matched the moon rise and moonset at the major standstill. Newham also suggested that the postholes near the entrance were used for observing the saros cycle.[4]"

Reference: Wiki

I think it's a bit of a case of fitting square pegs in round holes. The druids celebrate 'Alban Elfed' and as the druids *obviously* built Stonehenge ok, let me rephrase that: As Stonehenge has been claimed by neo-Druids (other alternative religions are also available and just as valid) as their own, then they are going to want to celebrate their festivals there.

If anything one should be traipsing from one end of the Cursus to the other (in my layman's opinion). "The cursus is also aligned on the equinox sunrise which rises over the eastern long barrow.[5]" (Good ol' Wiki again)

Wiltshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Wiltshire
Level Contributor
11,299 posts
440 reviews
6. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

No, I must indeed thank you Gilliganuk for those *facts* as my eyes have now been opened to archaeoastronomy described by one Clive Ruggles as: "...[A] field with academic work of high quality at one end but uncontrolled speculation bordering on lunacy at the other." (Wikipedia)

😂

England
Destination Expert
for Peak District National Park
Level Contributor
5,468 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

I could be wrong but I don't think that there are any special buses from Salisbury to Stonehenge for the Autumn Equinox - only for the Summer and Winter Solstice which are much busier events.

Phil-the-Bus

Edited: 10 February 2017, 15:04
Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
2,907 posts
60 reviews
8. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

changing all the time all depends on what they can make money on who knows this year parking is always a problem and its not safe to park on the A303

Wiltshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Wiltshire
Level Contributor
11,299 posts
440 reviews
9. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

<<its not safe to park on the A303>>

I'm pretty sure the A303 is designated as a Clearway, so even stopping (much less parking) is actually illegal?

Liverpool, United...
Level Contributor
2,008 posts
10. Re: Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge

Out of interest, what is the significance of the equinox? I can see the interest that the ancients might have had in solstices, particularly for aligning monuments. Earliest/latest sunrise/sunset, the extremes of the directions of sunrise and sunset, longest/shortest days etc. But what's special about equinoxes?