Where to find the White Horses of WiltshirePosted on 15th May 2015
Ancient hill figures cut into grass on hillsides are a phenomenon across England, but this is no more visible than in Wiltshire. The county boasts the famous White Horses hill figures, with nine located in the county, seven of which are visible.
The hill figures were commonly made by cutting into a steep hillside, revealing the underlying geology, and in most cases the outline of these figures was then filled with material that is brighter than the surrounding environment, which in many cases was chalk. Many of these White Horses hill figures are spectacular and that is why thousands of people on Wiltshire cottage holidays and breaks visit these figures during their stay.
Here we take you through where the nine White Horse figures are or were located in Wiltshire.
The White Horses
Five of these White Horses lie within a five-mile radius of Avebury and a further four White Horses are located further away.
Westbury White Horse
Image Credit: Hans Splinter (flickr.com)
The Westbury White Horse is regarded as the oldest of Wiltshire’s hillside White Horses. Although the original work on the horse is unknown, some historians believe it could date back to 878 and could have been created to celebrate Alfred’s victory over the Danes at the battle of Ethandune.
It has been documented that the Westbury White Horse was restored in 1778 and visitors who are looking to visit this iconic Wiltshire landmark should head to Westbury Hill, which is on Bratton Downs on the outskirts of the villages of Bratton and Edington. Westbury is also just a short distance away from the landmark.
The Cherhill or Oldbury White Horse
Image Credit: Angel Ganev (flickr.com)
Located on the edge of Cherhill Down, just off the A4 Calne to Marlborough road, is the Cherhill White Horse.
It is believed to be the second oldest White Horse and dates back to 1780 and historians believe that this horse may have been inspired by the Westbury horse.
The Cherhill White Horse originally had a glass eye that reflected the sunlight, but now the eye has been built from stone and concrete.
The location of this horse makes it easy for people to get to. If you are looking at holiday cottages in Calne, Wiltshire, then this would be your best bet to see one of the remarkable White Horses.
New Pewsey White Horse
Cut in 1937, the New Pewsey White Horse is just off the A345 road on the edge of Pewsey and is just to the left of where the old horse once was.
The new horse, which underwent renovation in 2004, looks over Pewsey Vale towards another White Horse; the Alton Barnes White Horse.
The old Pewsey White Horse was created in 1785 on Pewsey Hill, but now the hillside horse is no longer visible.
The Marlborough or Preshute White Horse
This small hillside White Horse is well-maintained and is located on Granham Hill, just above the village of Preshute. It is believed the horse was constructed back in 1804.
Alton Barnes White Horse
Image Credit: Quinn Comendant (flickr.com)
Built in 1812, the horse is just under a mile away from Alton Barnes village and is located on Milk Hill. The horse is lit with candles every year at the winter solstices and the hill figure is now in really great condition, following a major renovation in 2010.
Broad Hinton or Hackpen White Horse
Broad Hinton or Hackpen White Horse is located on The Ridgeway on the edge of the Marlborough Downs, which is just two miles south east of Broad Hinton village.
This hill figure is believed to have been cut in 1838 by a local parish clerk, Henry Eatwell, to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria.
To get the best view head to the village of Cliffe Pypard or Wootton Bassett.
Devizes White Horse
The newest of the Wiltshire White Horses was designed and cut in 1999 to mark the millennium. The hill figure is located on Roundway Hill to the north of Devizes and is one of just four in the UK to face to the right.
Devizes used to have another White Horse close-by, but this is no longer visible. The old figure was located on Roundway Down and is believed to have been cut in 1845.
Broad Town White Horse
Located on a steep slope half a mile north east of the village of Broad Town is another White Horse figure.
Cut in 1864 by William Simmonds, the horse was nearly lost through neglect, but now the Broad Town White Horse Restoration Society looks after the historic landmark.
The Ham Hill or Inkpen White Horse
This White Horse is sadly lost, but historians believe the horse lay on a steep slope on Ham Hill near Inkpen Beacon.
Image Credit: Matthew Black (flickr.com)