- On May 4
- In Visiting Stonehenge
Can I touch the stones at Stonehenge?
You can touch the stones at Stonehenge, but only if you are on an early morning or late evening private access tour of Stonehenge. These tours are before Stonehenge opens to the public, or after it has closed and are more expensive that standard tours and there is no guide to support you.
In order to take one of these private access tours, you need to have pre-booked the tour as these dates are less than usual tours and also often booked up early.
How close can I get to the Stones on a regular tour to Stonehenge?
For all regular tours, or people visiting Stonehenge on their own you can get up to 10 metres from Stonehenge. There is a low rope that acts as a guard around the Stones – this is un-obtrusive and serves as a great deterrant to people getting closer all the while not ruining your pictures or experience while visiting this ancient delight.
Why cant all people touch the Stones?
It was only a few years ago that people could touch the stones, however, unfortunately some people were carving names into the Stones or taking small parts of the Stones away as a keep-sake or memory. Stonehenge was also laser scanned to understand what the extent of the damage taken place to the Stones over time and it was significant, and the vast majority of damage was down to people.
There were once carvings on the stones, from axe work – but overtime these have faded due to the constant touching of hands. Also, with people constantly touching the stones, it means the lichen that surrounds the stones (which is also protecting it) will be less able to grow and will mean that the stones is less protected by pollution from the environment. So, there are a combination of factors which lead to the decision being made – and given over 1 million people every year visit Stonehenge you can see the scale of the potential problem.
Therefore, in order to preserve the Stones for many more generations the decision was taken in 1977 to give access to a few and for the general visitors you don’t need to touch the stones to take in the magnificent feat and wonder of these great stones and how they came to this resting place.