Police guarded Stonehenge on Wednesday as about 1,000 hippies gathered to celebrate the winter solstice at the Bronze Age stone circle where they fought pitched battles in the summer.

The hippies chanted, meditated and played bongo drums around the 4,500-year-old monument which they regard as their spiritual home and police did not interfere.English Heritage, which is responsible for preserving Stonehenge, allowed the hippies into its inner circle to mark the shortest day of winter to avoid violence which erupted on June 21 when they tried to march on the monument through police lines.