Stonehenge solstice 2010 draws crowds of thousands to witness sunrise

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The summer solstice at Stonehenge drew the largest crowd for years – but cloudy skies blocked out the rising sun.

Thousands of people gathered at the ancient monument – more than last year – to celebrate the start of the longest day at 4.58am.

It marks the shortest day of the year, when the sun is at the greatest distance from the equator.

Some pagans see it as New Year’s Day, and burn a traditional log to give the sun strength.

Thousands of pagans, druids and new-age revellers flock to the 5,000-year-old site in Wiltshire every year for an all-night party which culminates at sunrise on June 21.

Stonehenge, a protected World Heritage Site managed by English Heritage, is believed to date from between 3000BC and 1600BC.

This year’s event passed off peacefully and celebrations at the nearby Avebury stone circles were also trouble-free.

Superintendent Dave Bennett of Wiltshire police said: ”We are pleased that in partnership with English Heritage another summer solstice has passed off peacefully.

”Yet again attendees have not been able to fully see the sunrise due to our unpredictable weather but at least it didn’t rain.”

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