Butser Ancient Farm celebrates Beltain with spectacular Wickerman burning

PHOTOS captured the spectacular moment a wickerman was set on fire in Hampshire.

Monday, 2nd May 2022, 1:28 pm
Butser Ancient Farm Beltain Festival took place on Saturday. Picture: Eleanor Sopwith
Butser Ancient Farm Beltain Festival took place on Saturday. Picture: Eleanor Sopwith

Butser Ancient Farm near Petersfield welcomed in summer on Saturday evening with a celebration of ancient Celtic traditions.

The museum held its annual Beltain Festival, which was back with a bang after 2 years of absence due to the pandemic.

As a revival of an ancient Celtic celebration to celebrate the start of summer, the festival saw over 2500 festival goers gather to eat, drink and make merry with re-enactments, ancient crafts, live music and workshops.

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Butser Ancient Farm Beltain Festival. Picture: Harvey Mills Photography

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The festival, which is known as Bealtaine in Ireland, ended with the burning of a 35ft wickerman at dusk.

There was a fantastic festival atmosphere at the event with axe-throwing, warrior training, Saxon fighting, sea shanty singing and Morris dancing to name just a few of the activities on offer.

The wickerman was built by a team of woodsmen, volunteers and artists, who started construction in February, and had an Iron Age Warrior theme.

The theme was picked to honour the 50th anniversary of Butser Ancient Farm which started in 1972 as a research site exploring Iron Age life and farming through experimental archaeology.

Beltain is the biggest fundraising event of the year for Butser Ancient Farm, a community interest company focused on archaeological research and education, which welcomes visitors, students and school groups throughout the year.

For more information about Butser Ancient Farm and their upcoming events, workshops and projects for their 50th anniversary year visit Butser’s website here - www.butserancientfarm.co.uk.