Saturday, 30 August 2008

Holiday trip 5 - Uffington

One place that was really frustrating to visit, on our holidays in June, was the Uffington white horse. You see pictures of it in books and have no idea how complicated the reality is. First of all it is badly signposted. We drove around in circles, squinting at maps and road signs, before we finally found our way there. Then you discover that the car park is at the base of the hill and you have to hike up the hill along winding grassy paths to get to the horse.

And when I did finally get there (pant pant *gasp*) you discover that the horse is carved out of the hillside across several lumps and hollows - so you cannot see the entire horse from any spot on the ground. This creature was definitely meant as a message for the gods, not humans!

The white horse of Uffington is the oldest white horse carved out of the chalky hills. It's dated at roughly 3,000 years old. Hubby and I both have doubts about the "horse" theory. He thinks it looks like a cat, my mom thinks it looks like a cat. Dad and I thought it looked like a dragon. I'll add an aerial photo so you can decide for yourself.

But first our photos. This was taken walking towards the horse. The gorgeous view of the surrounding countryside from horse level up the hill. :-) Another view of the horse... kind of! The head is to the right.
Dragon hill - below the horse (its tail points directly at the hill). You can see the road we took up to the parking area running sort of central, between dragon hill and the horse. You see the white spot on the hill? Nothing will, or ever has, grown on that spot. Legend is that this is where St George killed the dragon and its blood poisoned that spot forever. Cool legend! :-)
And finally, an aerial photo of the white horse, road curving below it. To give you an idea of size two people could stand in its eye - the tiny white dot in the head portion. This thing is BIG - 374 feet (110 m) long.

So, what do you think - cat, horse or dragon?


  1. This was very fascinating. I had never heard of the Uffington White horse before.

    And my vote would be for it being a cat, I think.

  2. Beautiful. It's a horse. Maybe it looks like a cat because you're veiwing it from an angle.

  3. Hmmm...I'm a bad person when it comes to visual images like this. I had to look up other pictures from the net...To me it looks more like a horse, though he he...

  4. So it seems horse is winning the votes so far? :-)


    I knew about the Uffington horse, because I had a picture of it in a book I owned, but I never knew about the dragon's hill legend.

    There is so much here in the UK I never knew about. All you ever seem to see is stonehenge. I never knew there were other stone circles or that there were all sorts of amazing ruins and stuff like the chalk figures.

  5. Definitely a horse! (or very thin cat) J.