AN ancient tradition could be making a permanent comeback after the first one to be held in 5,000 years proved a huge success.

On Wednesday, more than 500 people took part in the Amesbury Lantern Parade to mark the mid-winter solstice, walking from Stonehenge to the nearby town along the original processional route of the Avenue carrying glowing lanterns.

Mayor Andy Rhind-Tutt, who came up with the idea of reviving the procession, said: “We had hoped for 500 but I think it was closer to 600 people who came along.

“It was an incredible sight, to look back as we walked away from Stonehenge to look back and see all the lanterns leading back towards Stonehenge.

“I wasn’t sure if it would go that well but everything fell into place, the weather was good to us and everyone seemed quite overwhelmed by how good it really was.”

Joining people from the local area were those who had read about the plan online and joined the occasion from as far away as Bolivia, Australia and the USA.

Mulled wine, mince pies, craft stalls and plenty of festive cheer greeted them as they arrived in Amesbury, complete with a Solstice Lantern made for the occasion by art students at Avon Valley College have teamed up with Amesbury-based A&R Metalcraft.

The lantern spent the night at the Holiday Inn before being taken back to Stonehenge on Thursday morning.

Now, cllr Rhind-Tutt is hoping the event will become a regular highlight of the calendar in south Wiltshire and beyond.