MORE than 2,000 visitors celebrated the start of summer with the burning of a huge wickerman at the annual Beltain Festival at Butser Ancient Farm.

At the revived ancient Celtic celebration, festival goers enjoyed re-enactments, ancient crafts, live music and workshops, before witnessing the burning of the 35ft Wickerman at dusk.

This year to mark the date of the celebration, the handmade Wickerman had a hint of the Jedi about him in honour of Star Wars Day – ’May the fourth be with you’ – with a billowing black cloak framing the impressive figure.

Ancient farm spokesman Rachel Bingham said: “The design changes each year and is kept top secret until the day of the festival, but this year’s figure certainly didn’t disappoint.

“On the day, the figure is adorned by the wishes of festival goers, which are sent out into the world as the Wickerman burns, a beacon beckoning the sun’s warmth for the year ahead.”