THE summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge will not be going ahead this year, as the latest event to fall victim to Covid-19.

Following the ban on mass gatherings, social distancing guidance and deliberations with police, emergency services and the druid and pagan communities, English Heritage has today announced that the charity cannot host the event this year.

The occasion will instead be live streamed for free on English Heritage’s social media channels.

The summer solstice takes place annually on or around June 21 and regularly attracts tens of thousands of people to Stonehenge, to celebrate the longest day of the year, the history of the stones and the sunrise.

Stonehenge director Nichola Tasker said: “We are very sorry to be the bearers of this news today.

"Given the sheer number of major events worldwide which have already been cancelled across the summer, from Glastonbury to the Olympics to Oktoberfest, I doubt this will come as a huge surprise, but we know how much summer solstice at Stonehenge means to so many people.

"We have consulted widely on whether we could have proceeded safely and we would have dearly liked to host the event as per usual, but sadly in the end, we feel we have no choice but to cancel."

Stonehenge has been closed to visitors since March 18 in accordance with the government's lockdown measures to manage the coronavirus outbreak.

The English Heritage team said that the site will re-open as soon as possible, when it is safe to do so, potentially with additional restrictions in place to ensure the wellbeing of visitors, volunteers and staff.

Nichola added: "We hope that our live stream offers an alternative opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.

"We know how strong the draw to come is for some people, but I would take this opportunity to say please do not travel to Stonehenge this summer solstice, but watch it online instead.”