DRUIDS and pagans blockaded Stonehenge over the weekend as part of a protest against English Heritage's proposed changes to the summer solstice celebrations.

The protestors stopped English Heritage coaches from visiting the stones, with visitors having to walk the mile-and-a-half journey from the visitors' centre to the stones themselves. The action comes after English Heritage announced plans to ban all alcohol from the summer solstice celebrations, as well as introducing a £15 parking charge in a bid to reduce the number of cars attending the event.

Led by King Arthur Pendragon, the protestors handed out leaflets explaining their reasons for protesting to those making the walk to access the stones. The druids were allowing buses through carrying disabled and elderly people, as well as families with children.

Kate Davies, Stonehenge’s General Manager, previously told the Journal that the proposed changes would allow staff to better look after those attending the solstice, as well as looking after Stonehenge itself, and that the plans had received a lot of public support. She said: “Over the last 15 years we have seen a huge increase in the number of people celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge. We have limited parking facilities and we believe the parking charge will encourage more people to car share or travel by bus.

“We’ve also seen more drunken and disrespectful behaviour. Something has to be done or we risk losing what makes solstice at Stonehenge so special.

English Heritage also said it was mindful of how alcohol was used by some druids during ceremonial practice and would be consulting with the community on how moderate use of ritual alcohol.

King Arthur Pendragon said: "It was quite a major disruption. We were only there for a few hours, we only needed to be. We were exercising our right to pass and re-pass on a public right of way, we were just slowly walking across the road and walking back. I had to stop their buses from going up and down.

"They are trying to get the monopoly on parking and charge us £15. If you go to Stonehenge today they'll charge you £5 today as a tourist, which you get back when you view the stones. But they want to charge pilgrims £15 to pray, because they don't want us there. They're only interested in the tourist dollar. That's why I did the protest. Whichever way they put it, they're asking people to pay to pray.

"The protest was received very well by the public. We had one guy there who was really against us and shouting, but eventually he ended up agreeing with us.

"As far as I'm concerned it was an unqualified success".

He told the Journal that he has contacted managers at Stonehenge asking them to reconsider the charges, and that if they are willing to "sit around the table and talk about it" he will drop his campaign, but that if the charges go ahead he will increase campaigning with regular pop-up protests at the stones.

King Arthur also said he was in touch with the police and ambulance services, suggesting that they charge Stonehenge for their services this year, as in previous years it was a free event.

Kate Davies said: “There was a small protest at Stonehenge this morning. A small number of our visitors were inconvenienced but they were very understanding of the situation. We’ve had a lot of support for the changes we’re introducing for the Summer Solstice celebrations, including from members within the pagan and druid community. These changes are necessary if we are to keep what makes celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge so special.”