Midsummer is one of the four solar holidays, and is considered the turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest. Among the Wiccan sabbats, Midsummer is preceded by Beltane, and followed by Lammas or Lughnasadh.
Some Wiccan traditions call the festival Litha, a name occurring in Bede's The Reckoning of Time (De Temporum Ratione, 8th century), which preserves a list of the (then-obsolete) Anglo-Saxon names for the twelve months. Ærra Liða (first or preceding Liða) roughly corresponds to June in the Gregorian calendar, and Æfterra Liða (following Liða) to July. Bede writes that "Litha means gentle or navigable, because in both these months the calm breezes are gentle and they were wont to sail upon the smooth sea".
Our own celebration of Summer Solstice always involves a Greenman Walk. Held annually and is designed to bring together families for a walk in our beautiful countryside. THe event has now been running for ten years.
Although attempts have been made to organise the walks in different places over the last few years, it is the event at Whiteways Lodge that always seems to be more popular.
Whiteways countryside and picnic site is just off the Whiteways roundabout on the A29 and A284. Within short walking distance are spectacular views of the South Downs and Sussex Weald.
It can be reached on foot from the village of Houghton via the Monarch's Way.
The Monarch's Way is Britain's second longest signed walking trail. A total of 615 miles (990km), this historic route uses footpaths and bridleways to follow Charles II's escape route after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. For 6 exciting weeks, and hotly pursued by the Parliamentary forces under Oliver Cromwell, the king travelled first north, then south, through the Cotswolds and the Mendips to the South Coast, and finally along the South Downs to Shoreham Harbour where he made the escape to France. Following the death of Oliver Cromwell, Charles was eventually restored to the throne.
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