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Stonehenge Campaign Newsletter
Spring Equinox 1999

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    Four years ago a number of demos were held to challenge the newly-passed Criminal Justice Act. One of these was to have been at Stonehenge, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ on 1st June. Wiltshire police over-reacted. They banned it, using the first order to be made under s70 of the CJA to prohibit ‘trespassory assemblies’ within four miles of the Stones. The demo was moved to Figsbury Ring, where the National Trust access track was closed for live firing by the Army and filled with (bullet-proof?) riot vans. People made their way from there and elsewhere to the Stones during the day, and at 7 in the evening the police moved in. Two people in a group on the verge by the Heelstone refused to move and were arrested. Three weeks later at the Solstice, Arthur Pendragon was arrested under a second ban, but acquitted as not being a part of the main group. Margaret Jones and Richard Lloyd, the ‘Stonehenge Two’ from June 1st, could and should have also been acquitted by evidence that the 20 people needed to make an assembly weren’t there, and that would have been the end of the story. Convicted by the magistrates, they appealed and won. The Crown Court said that as the group had been peaceful and non-obstructive, they had not been trespassing, so the order did not apply. The Judge wistfully looked forward to the 10th anniversary of the 10th anniversary of the Beanfield, hoping this case would be then seen as a milestone in improving relations with the police at the Stones. The police were having none of it. They appealed to the High Court, insisting that the public only had the right to ‘pass and repass’ on a road, anything else being a trespass that the police might tolerate but didn’t have to. Their arguments were based on rulings from the days when highways were mostly just accepted routes, for horses and carts and peasants on foot, across the estates of the landowners. This time the police won, and the Court ordered the ‘Two’ to be retried. However they managed to get an appeal to the House of Lords on the basic question of: what are the limits of the public’s right of access to the public highway?

    The Law Lords not only finally set aside the convictions, but went much further, effectively extending the Law to establish for the first time "an issue of fundamental constitutional importance" - that "there is a public right of peaceful assembly on the highway." The police have always assumed the opposite until now. The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine, also a Cabinet member) was startlingly clear in his lead judgement on an issue that has always been carefully fudged in the past. "..the public highway is a public place which the public may enjoy for any reasonable purpose.." so long as it is not a nuisance or an obstruction. He goes on to "deprecate any attempt artificially to restrict" this right, and politely rubbishes those parts of the CJA that do. He says that any gathering on or by a road should be treated fairly as it happens, not limited beforehand by orders based on what a policeman thinks, which is exactly what the more draconian parts of the CJA depend on. Powers apparently given to the police by the CJA and PoA to limit the time and numbers for a group are "an unwarranted restriction." The ruling applies equally to tracks and paths across private land, although in practice these can be more easily claimed to be obstructed.

    Margaret and Richard were there that 1st of June as anti-CJA protestors in the spirit of mutual support that seemed at the time to be the only way for the different groups affected to have a chance of achieving anything. All those who took part in the demos and actions can take some credit for this positive result eventually emerging from the mass of court cases. Even those who suffered in the Beanfield itself might find a crumb of comfort in the irony of their ordeal leading fourteen years later to Wiltshire Police accidentally establishing Freedom of Assembly in this country.


    So what does all this right-to-be-on-a-road stuff (see front page) mean? In theory the starting point of any discussion on the street or a road with a policeman who would rather you were not there has now completely changed, as long as everyone realises it. That old standby, an imagined breach of the peace, will not wash either unless it is real and imminent, according to three recent rulings here and in the European Court. The police have loads of other powers, but they are not so easy to use if you are not actually doing anything wrong. The ruling will make it more difficult for Wiltshire Police to apply for an ‘exclusion order’ at Solstice time, or to arrest or threaten small groups in the area. They don’t seem to have yet decided if they will go for a ban this year. English Heritage are still planning for limited ticket-only access. As the actual Solstice time is unusually near the mid-point between sunrises on the 21st and 22nd, this may happen on both days with more than one access time, perhaps including an afternoon ‘slot’ for those who used to go at that time. What happens to the general public who turn up without tickets will presumably depend on whether or not there is a ban in force. Last year the level of police harassment went up to ensure the smooth running of the ticketed event. Its about time we had an Inclusion Zone.
    ~~~~~    Dear Stonehengerites:    ~~~~~
    I was lefty in Glasty Winter Solstice:
    ’twas foggy so I didn’t wake the driver.
    On telly male archeologists were saying
       Avebury is female, and/but there was
       a huge phallic Stone in the middle..
    Their computer model was flash but wrong
       because there never was a lintel over
       the small Stone 11 entrance.
    If the alleged road tunnel excavations
       vibrations damage the Stones then
       will they buy us a new one?
    Will the Greenwich dome last as long?
       (Meanwhile some noisy boyseys parked
        in our track so we got complaints).
    Eviction soon from Wells, wheretonext?
    ~ ~ 07970-378572 ~
    PS converting my lightshow to 12volts.

    I believe that we who walk with the Stones in our hearts should have access to them at the times and dates that we need them, without cost, since we ARE the ones who built them. Druids rule and moneygrubbers DROOL!!!!Peace. (From) Celt
    Greetings, Fellow Hengephile! I am a writer in Portland, Oregon USA with an avid interest in Stonehenge. In the course of writing a fiction novel, I am seeking true stories (eye-witness accounts) from people who have been at Stonehenge during a Summer Solstice. I know that the sun rises over the Heel Stone, but I’d like more description information on what this event is like. If you or someone you know could help me out with my research, I would be very appreciative! (Any photos or videos would be great as well!)
    Many thanks
    Lori Stephens Portland, Oregon.
    At the moment I am writing an essay about access to Stonehenge which takes into account all sides of the argument on to who, where and when access should be allowed to Stonehenge. Your campaign lists as its aims both the reistatement of the free festival and the protection of the site for future generations. How is it possible to combine these two aims when the festival causes so much damage to the surrounding landscape.

    Could you please make your answer as detailed as you can bothered as I want to put forward your arguements as forcefully as possible.

    Yours sincerely James Hirst

    an answer: The inclusion of the aim ‘to protect the Stonehenge landscape and environment’ was a reaction to emerging plans for a motorway and large scale visitor centre near the Stones some years ago. A landscape is a living, evolving thing that cannot be frozen in one state forever. Natural processes and ‘normal’ use mean that eventually the man-made features will fade into their surroundings unless artificially maintained by modern reconstructions. It is obviously desirable with a special landscape such as this to minimise unnecessary wear, but it is pointless to be concerned at one use without considering it in the context of the overall effect of other uses.

    The festival did cause some damage, but it was recognised by the last one that it was to large to go on for as long as it did to be sustainable in that form, and steps were taken internally to deal with that. Much of the ‘damage’ was from shallow holes for campfires on a field that had already been deep ploughed. Damage to the barrows consisted of slight wear on existing paths on the reconstructed mounds left by the archaeologists who dug them up long ago. A bread oven was made in one nearby, but not during the festival. Reports of ring-barked trees, damage to ‘stone graves’ and even the monument itself were all false: it was necessary for their to be an apparent reason for the political decision to stop the festival. Perhaps the writer should carefully check the sources that have given him the impression that there was "so much damage"; he could be in for quite a surprise.

    The sensitive areas marked off by fences were respected and undamaged. The National Trust later chose to remove fences and allow cattle to seriously trample the Cursus and a barrow. In the festival era they offered no public access, leasing the landscape to farmers to use as they liked within broad limits. One unsupervised English Heritage contractor probably did more damage in one day than any festival. In the wider landscape farmers continue to plough and modify sensitive areas, and the MoD build their own roads and drive tanks through earthworks.

    However, although the ‘Festival Field’ could still be justifiably used as a low-impact campsite in connection with Solstice celebrations in the Stones (most likely its original use), a full-on festival would nowadays probably need to find a nearby site where there is less concern.

    Does the writer agree with the English Heritage argument that the digging of a colossal trench across the landscape and destroying several ancient monuments to insert a dual carriageway is, on balance, a good thing because of the benefits it brings?


    There was an exhibition in Amesbury for two days in January on the Stonehenge Master Plan (see last issue) and the Highways Agency road plans . The Agency produced a brochure supposedly about the Stonehenge scheme but actually about the Winterbourne Stoke bypass, the next part of the A303 to the West. The proposed cut-and-cover tunnel was shown on the map, but the questionnaire included referred only to the Winterbourne Stoke Area. This ‘public consultation’ exercise closed at the end of February without the main part of the scheme, the controversial tunnel, being aired at all. However English Heritage say they would still like to hear peoples’ views on the tunnel and the Masterplan, which is not yet finalised. You can write to EH at: Abbey Square, Amesbury, Wiltshire.
    The young man
    With a red scarf
    Had revolution
    In his heart
    He marched
    He protested
    He chanted
    He demonstrated
    He was arrested
    But the revolution
    Fell on deaf ears
    It remained bottled
    In his heart
    Waiting for someone
    To draw the cork
    He waited and waited
    But the anger
    Turned to arrogance
    And the idealist
    Became the cynic
    Stephen Morris
    (from ‘Twelve’-
    see contacts)

    my wife and I try to make a point to visit the pertinent festival sites in the UK as often as possible. would love to get involved in as much as possible - how can we help free the stones? the more info the better as we here in the states are not so often recipients of timely info in this regard
    Peace BB /|\ Drgn
    ARTIST: Ray Elf is looking to work in zines, posters & album covers. Phone 01309 641219 or write to Ray Elf, 8 Darklass Place, Dyke, nr Forres, Morayshire, IV34 0GX
    Campaign Website at

    email the Campaign at

    John Pendragon Any words, pictures, ideas etc about or inspired by John please to John Pendragon Project, BCM 2002, London WC1N 3XX

    (see )

    For henge or eclipse poster, SAE + 2 stamps to EFFIN, c/o 87 Debden, Gloucester Rd, London, N17 6LN.

    Send us an sae for the next newsletter. (Summer Solstice)


    missing pictures:
    Attachment: Diggers.tif -- Attachment: Denny.tif -- Attachment: Suzy.tif -- Attachment: Eclipse.tif --

    This is the end of the Stonehenge Campaign's
    1999 Spring Equinox Newsletter webpage
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    ,          /  Free  \   / The     \  / Stones \          ,
    ,          \________/   \_________/  \_______ /          ,
    ,       ____       ___           ___         ____        ,
    ,      /    \     /    \        /   \       /    \       ,
    ,     |      |   |      |   o  |     !     !      !      ,
    ,     |      |   |      |  m   |     !     !      !      ,

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