Wicker Man heralds summer

BLAZE Crowds enjoy the Festival of Beltain at Butser Ancient Farm.  Picture: Bill Shimmin
BLAZE Crowds enjoy the Festival of Beltain at Butser Ancient Farm. Picture: Bill Shimmin
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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THERE were whoops of delight as the giant’s blazing head came crashing to the ground.

But it wasn’t a horror film, it was the real life burning of the Wicker Man at Butser Ancient Farm.

BLAZE Crowds enjoy the Festival of Beltain at Butser Ancient Farm.  Picture: Bill Shimmin

BLAZE Crowds enjoy the Festival of Beltain at Butser Ancient Farm. Picture: Bill Shimmin

The tradition of setting the 40ft structure alight stems from the pagan Festival of Beltain which is celebrated every year at the working Iron Age farm, near Horndean.

It marks the beginning of summer in the Pagan calendar.

This year it was extra special because Butser is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

There were morris dancers, folk bands, including Portsmouth’s own Feckless, and local ales and ciders.

Children and adults had their faces painted in blue as they would have done thousands of years ago and wore woven fern and flowered headdresses.

But the main event was the burning of the Wicker Man which began when the sun went down.

To find out about events call (023) 9259 8838 or go to butser.org.uk