Operation Solstice : Battle of the Beanfield
The story of ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’ 1985 and the subsequent court case.
The Battle of the Beanfield took place on the afternoon of Saturday 1 June 1985 when Wiltshire Police prevented a vehicle convoy of New Age Travellers from setting up the Stonehenge Free Festival in Wiltshire. The incident became notorious for the police riot that took place.
Police attacked their procession of vehicles by entering the field where they were being contained, methodically smashing windows, beating people on the head with truncheons, and using sledgehammers to damage the interiors of their coaches, an account supported by all the independent witnesses and upheld by the subsequent court verdicts.
The Beanfield was the next field down from where the vehicles were being contained; and when a large number of police entered the first field, many of the Convoy vehicles tried to escape by going through the Beanfield, where they were pursued and arrested by police. There was no way out.
At the time, the police alleged that they responded after they had earlier come under attack, being pelted with lumps of wood, stones and even petrol bombs, though they did not repeat these allegations in any of the subsequent court cases and no proof for any of there claims has ever come to light. 24 of us later took the police to court in a civil action at Winchester Crown Court, receiving a half-arsed judgement some seven years later, found the police guilty of wrongful arrest, assault and criminal damage.