Park Rangers to Increase Patrols at Ancient Sites Amid Reports of Neo-Nazi Rituals

Authorities in England are on high alert following reports that a neo-Nazi group has been carrying out rituals at historic sites.

According to an undercover investigation by The Daily Telegraph, a far-right group who align themselves with a Nordic religion have been performing sinister ceremonies involving flags and burning torches as part of plans to "take back" the ancient locations.

The National Trust, the British charity which overseas conservation and heritage sites, said it is aware that such rituals have been performed at the Avebury World Heritage Site in Wiltshire, South England—a stone circle older than Stonehenge.

It is believed similar rituals have also been taking place at Wayland Smithy, an ancient Neolithic burial chamber in Oxfordshire, where Swastikas have been found carved into trees.

The National Trust said they are increasing patrols at Wayland's Smithy in the wake of the investigation by The Telegraph.

"The safety and enjoyment of our visitors, staff and volunteers is our top priority. We want everyone to feel welcome at our sites and we will report to the police any non-peaceful, anti-social or illegal activities at any of our places," a spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek.

"Both Wayland's Smithy and the Avebury stones are open countryside sites and therefore it is hard to monitor access and activity 24 hours a day. We encourage our staff and local communities at both locations to be vigilant and to report any inappropriate activity to the police."

It is believed the rituals are being carried out by Woden's Folk, a group who practice the ancient religion of Odinism.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the religion which was previously favored by the German Nazi party has also been adopted by far-right terrorists and white supremacists as it "mythologizes the virtues of early northern European whites—seen as wandering barbarians, deeply involved in a mystical relationship with nature, struggling heroically against the elements."

Anders Breivik, the terrorist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, declared he was an Odinist in court. Brenton Tarrant, the suspected terrorist who killed 51 people in the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque attacks this year, mentioned the religion in his online manifesto.

The Telegraph said that members of National Action, who became the first British far-right group to be banned by the government under new terrorism laws in 2017, were among those who attended Woden Folk's rituals

"What we have noticed is that we have hard line neo-Nazis looking to use fake spirituality to increase people's desire for things like martyrdom," Matthew Collins, head of research at counter extremism group Hope Not Hate, told The Telegraph. "The people who follow these cults are searching for some kind of approval for their ideas."

A spokesperson for English Heritage, a charity which manages historic monuments, told Newsweek: "Wayland's Smithy and Avebury henge and stone circles are important pieces of our shared heritage and this sort of activity is clearly unacceptable and should be reported to the police.

"These sites are managed on behalf of English Heritage by the National Trust and we are working closely with them to ensure no future activity such as this takes place."

The Neolithic stones at Avebury are seen on February 7, 2013 in Wiltshire, England. Reports suggest that rituals have been carried out at ancient sites by neo-Nazi groups in England. Matt Cardy/Getty