Nature demeaned by ritual 'tat'

Nature demeaned by ritual 'tat'. Image credit Willow

The following quotes are taken from an exceptionally impassioned email Heritage Action received sometime ago, which deserves to be expressed as an individual response to the clutter of ‘new age’ litter often to be found at sites.

Our ancient sites, not just those in Wiltshire, but everywhere throughout the country should be protected, treasured and maintained, as indeed most are. It is therefore unfortunate that certain religious factions see fit to participate in irresponsible pursuits in the name of paganism and druidism, both in my opinion, sadly misplaced in the 21st century.

My concern is not for the pagans or the druids and their beliefs, I couldn’t care less, no, it is for the rubbish they leave behind. I refer to the ribbons, bits of clothing, Wiccan effigies, which can all be seen adorning the trees at the Swallowhead Spring and on the approach to West Kennet Avenue. These trees have their own beauty, they don’t need bits of tat hanging from their branches like so many split bin bags.

Silbury Hill doesn’t escape either, ‘don’t climb on the hill’ the sign says, so why is it that nearly ever time I pass it, some air head is up there trying to get closer to their god. Avebury too has seen its stones daubed in graffiti over the years not to mention bits being chipped off the stones, god knows why, souvenirs I suppose. I am not suggesting for one minute that religious factions are responsible for all the defacements and damage, but it is true that the vast majority is down to them, my feeling is that they should take with them their rubbish, paraphernalia and imposed beliefs and leave our ancient sites tidy and tranquil once more.

For all their religious practices, I strongly believe that so called modern druids and pagans have no claim on Avebury, Silbury Hill, Stonehenge or anywhere else for that matter as they would have you believe.




Strong words, and Heritage Action in printing them is reflecting a personal viewpoint, these words do not represent our attitude to the Pagan world. Protection of ancient sites belongs to us all, but the above comment received by Heritage Action shows sometimes how deep the feelings of the ordinary public are when they visit these sites.

Heritage Action does not of course go along with the idea that Pagans, in all their manifestations, should have their religious activities on the site of our ancient monuments stopped. This is a free world, how we wish to interpret our own beliefs is a matter for the individual. Such issues as litter at sites needs to be addressed however. Damage to stones cannot be tolerated, but these acts come from many sources. Pagans are as keenly aware of the need to address these problems, and do much to protect the sites, probably far more than the general public.

The ‘tat’ seen round the Swallowhead Spring, the Christmas decorations swaying from the trees on Waden Hill or down the Avebury Avenue does offend the eye. Such tat needs to be removed, and people should feel free to remove it without the slightest compunction of guilt. Avebury and it sites are, after all, for everyone whatever their religious beliefs.

While we welcome articles and reports on heritage-related subjects to the Heritage Journal, the opinions expressed therein and the accuracy of the reporting lie solely with the originators of the report.