Friday, 20 June 2008

Hilly Fields Stone Circle

Stonehenge, the 5,000-year-old megalithic monument on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, is the most famous place in England to celebrate the summer solstice.

It consists of two concentric circles of stones, inside which is a horseshoe shape of five stones, with the axis aligned on the midsummer sunrise. The world heritage site, administered by English Heritage, is only fully open to the public at the winter and summer solstices and the spring and autumn equinoxes.

There is no doubt that watching druids celebrate the solstice sunrise is a fantastic experience.

However, Londoners do not have to travel all the way to Wiltshire to celebrate midsummer in this way. They have a stone circle all of their own, in Brockley, south-east London.

In 1997, a group of Brockley artists got the idea to create a new stone circle for the millennium in 2000. The local community got behind the project and they got permission to build it on Hilly Fields, Brockley - a public park which had been the site of an annual midsummer fair for a quarter of a century.

Boulders were transported from Scotland and set in place on the morning of the spring equinox, March 21, 2000. The stones are a giant sundial and you can use them to tell the time of day as well as marking the spring and autumn equinoxes and the winter and summer solstices.

Michael Perry, who watched the solstice sunrise at 4:45 am on June 21, 2000, said: "A visit to the stones gives you an opportunity to reflect on your life and how this is integral to time. Myths and legends surround stone circles. It is up to us to continue this process."

This year, the Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre, run by the Brockley Society, takes place on Saturday, June 21, from noon until 5pm. It is a community event, with entertainment including a steel band, bird of prey displays and a karate demonstration. There will be stalls raising money for charity and community projects, Caribbean, Thai and English food, children's rides and a bouncy castle.

But, if you get there at dawn to celebrate the sunrise in a more spiritual fashion, I suspect you will not be alone.

news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/06/0620_Stonecircles.html
www.thehill.org.uk/eventdetails.asp?eventid=357&back=-2
www.brockley.com/brocsoc/
www.megalithic.co.uk/
http://stonehenge.mercurymoon.co.uk/links.html

Photo: Belly dancer Maisie performing during a ritual at Hilly Fields Stone Circle, by Mel Dymond Harper

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again.
Regardless, just wanted to say superb blog!
My website - Still Life Photographers