Summer Solstice, Tuesday 21st June, 4:15am

One of the world’s oldest evidence of the Summer Solstice’s importance in culture is Stonehenge in Wiltshire, a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June Solstice. ‘Solstice’ (Latin: ‘solstitium’) means ‘sun-stopping’. The point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise and set, stops and reverses direction after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west, meaning it’s visible in the sky for a longer period of time.

Although the June solstice marks the first day of astronomical summer, it’s more common to use meteorological definitions of seasons, making the solstice midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Stonehenge is surrounded by chalk grasslands which have been restored by the National Trust.  Grazing sheep and cattle keep the grasses under control and encourage wildflowers such as Common Poppy, Wild Orchid, Scarlet Pimpernel, Oxide Daisy, Cow Slips and Birdsfoot Trefoil, all of which bring in lots of bumble bees and butterflies.

poppy wildorchid