"Hi there Bad Witch, my friend and I are looking for somewhere to celebrate the solstice this year. My friend is a hedge witch and I am just somebody who likes to look for god wherever I can find her. We live North of Sheffield/Barnsley and don’t want to travel too far (which rules out Stonehenge and anyway that is apparently like Billy Smarts Circus these days) so I was looking at Arbor Low in North Derbyshire and your name came up. If you know of anything that is within an hour drive (60 miles) of us, do let me know."Not being familiar with what is happening in that part of England myself, I asked my pagan friends if they had any suggestions. Here are some of the replies I got:
"There is a circle called the 9 ladies in Debyshire, it has its strongest power at the Summer Solstice and is on a ley line with Arbor Low, which has its strongest power at the Winter Solstice. There is also a sacred Goddess spring close by too."
"Nine Maidens stone circle is quite local but I don't think there is anything big being organised there - rather people go privately in groups. I know that the Nottingham pagan scene is very active and lively and they do an open ritual for Midsummer next to Robin Hood statue under the Castle Hill in Nottingham. I have never been there so I can't say what kind of celebrations they put on but they did mention that they are planning an open ritual. It won't be on the same scale as Stonehenge though."
"Nottingham is only half an hour from Sheffield ...check this FB page for Nottinghamshire Pagan Network. They will probably have more information https://www.facebook.com/groups/nottinghampagannetwork/?fref=ts"
"Leodis Pagan Circle in Leeds do rituals for the Cross Quarter days, and The Ravens Rest also in Leeds do Open Rituals for all 8 festivals."
"Arbor Low for sure! Country lane drive to get there - car park then voluntary donation to walk to the site. Lovely, remote spot. Dunno if there's an "official" presence but when I visited (last spring) there was slight evidence of worship."
"Isn't Pendle near Sheffield? (30mins) Seems an appropriate place for a pagan to celebrate."I also learnt that the The 10th annual Summer Solstice celebration in Pendle - an area famous for its historic witch trials - will be held over the weekend of 13th-15th June 2014, which is a week before the actual solstice. You can find out details about it here: http://www.pendlewitchcamp.co.uk/
A book I can recommend for finding out about stone circles near you is A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. Even if you can't find an organised Summer Solstice event, just visiting an ancient sacred site on the longest day of the year to watch the sun rise is a magical experience.
And if anyone else knows of Summer Solstice events that are taking place this year, do leave a comment below.