As we recently observed, people are fully entitled to see Stonehenge as their temple. However, while such claims are harmless in themselves they have also been responsible for some unwelcome effects. For isn’t it clear that a wish to avoid offending people of a spiritual nature has led to a reluctance to say that no, access by tens of thousands of revellers at Summer Solstice is unseemly and damaging and really must end?
It seems to us there’s an easy and equitable solution that balances tourism, spirituality and conservation in a proper manner:
1. No more thousands of tipsy revellers standing on the stones. (It’s recent, not traditional, it carries a risk of damage to both the monument and the revellers and brings shame on our country – and it simply shouldn’t happen as English Heritage knows full well.)
2. Spiritual people yes. Of course. But in limited numbers, selected by ballot from the membership of well established pagan organisations.
3. Other people (whether non-spiritual or spiritual but without demonstrable group affiliations), yes of course and also in limited numbers, selected by ballot from those who apply.
So how many in total? That’s entirely EH’s affair, depending purely on how many they think can be safely and sensibly admitted without imposing a risk of damage or broadcasting an image to the world that we don’t treat Stonehenge as it should be treated. It’s certainly time they decided what they could cope with rather than unsuccessfully trying to cope with many times more than they can!
So let’s SHARE Stonehenge, it’s the obvious thing to do. But not abuse it, which is also obvious.
If spiritual people agree to that and people in general agree to that (following a consultation) then English Heritage could surely have a mandate to make radical changes to what happens at Stonehenge as soon as next year?
How about it?