The Castlerigg stone circle, with Blencathra in the distance. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Castlerigg stone circle, with Blencathra in the distance. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Police have reminded visitors thinking of making a summer solstice visit to a Lake District stone circle that overnight camping is banned.

Government coronavirus regulations in England prohibit stays away from home for non-essential purposes.

Cumbria Constabulary issued the warning in anticipation of an influx of people to Castlerigg, near Keswick.

The site, a collection of 40 megaliths within view of Blencathra, is owned by the National Trust.

Police also pleaded with anyone attending a solstice gathering to maintain social distancing.

Sergeant Scott Adams said: “This weekend is summer solstice and we would like to remind people that there is still a risk around coronavirus and if people do attend to follow the government guidelines to reduce the risk to themselves and others.

“Concerns have already be raised by the local community and we would urge the public to respect local communities.

“Over the last few weeks we have had issues around illegal parking that has caused roads to be blocked and restricted access to emergency vehicle putting lives at danger.”

Tom Burditt, general manager, north Lakes said: “The National Trust is proud to look after this wonderful site that acts as a focus for this annual spiritual and social celebration of joy and life at the famous stone circle. But in this extraordinary year, you really don’t need to travel here to take part.

“We’re encouraging people all over the country to make the most of the longest day by noticing and enjoying the moment close to where they live: by experiencing a dawn or sunset in their garden or local green space, noticing the flowers closing up, the birds singing, the colours of the clouds, the stars coming out or the mystical light.

“During the easing of the government’s lockdown restrictions we join with our partners across the Lake District to ask people to use good sense and be respectful of other communities if they do come, and to not stay overnight.”

Councillor John Cook, Allerdale Borough Council’s executive member with responsibility for tourism, said: “We’re very much supportive of the message from Cumbria police and partners.

“I fully understand why people may be tempted to come and camp at Castlerigg stone circle or somewhere else to experience the solstice and stay overnight. However, despite recent easing of the lockdown, government advice is very clear that overnight stays are still prohibited. So please stay at home.”

Government regulations state that visitors to areas such as the Lake District should go home at the end of their day trip.

Cllr Cook said: “This also applies to people staying overnight in vehicles such as camper vans and motorhomes. As well as dealing with this issue, agencies are also spending time clearing up after people who have abused their stay in the county by leaving litter at beauty spots.”

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