Stony Littleton Long Barrow

Winter Solstice Sunrise 2003


Stony Mouth

  Stoney Littleton is a recently restored Neolithic Long Barrow half-way between Glastonbury and Bath in southwest England. It was said to be aligned to the Winter Solstice Sunrise. Seven of us from the Glastonbury Earth Mysteries Group ventured up there bright an early on December 22nd, 2003 to check that out amid rumours of snow and ice and generally foul weather. Mother Nature delighted us with a perfectly clear sky and a glorious sunrise.


 The walk up to the barrow was bitterly cold for northern Somerset - a bit below freezing with a strong wind. We found that a number of other folks, also from Glastonbury had preceeded us. The interior chamber is long and low with six side chambers - three on each side as one crawls on hands and knees towards the back chamber, which was pleasantly warm. Before the Sun came up, a suprising amount of light was coming into the chamber. The two bright lights below the person at the mouth of the tunnel are candles.    

morning at Stony Littleton




   The moment of Sunrise, Notice that the Sun is not in the centre of the door, but in the left hand corner, But the point of alignment - when the light of the Sun hit the back of the chamber - came a bit later. Unlike stone rings, the alignment at Stony Littleton Long Barrow was not when the sun broke the horizon, but when it was several degrees above the already elevated horizon.

The exact point of Winter Solstice in 2003 was at 6:51 GMT on December 22nd. According to the BBC, sunrise on that day was at 8:14 GMT; however, due to the elevated horizon, the Sun didn't rise until closer to 9:00. When it was fully above the horizon, it was absolutely magical.

One of the big mistakes that many make when looking at alignments in chambers like this is that they only look at the Sun. It is also useful to look at what the Sun is doing on the back wall.While this wasn't as revealing as it was at Cairn T at Loughcrew in Ireland, it still was magnificent to behold.



view outside   Here's a final shot of the Sun taken from the back of Stoney Littleton Long Barrow along the top. The mouth of the tunnel
is just over the drop off, just below the Sun.


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