The oldest and most interesting of all the White Horses lying as it does on the northern escarpment of the Berkshire Downs above the village of Uffington. The Ridgeway Path runs along the top of the Downs.
The ancient earthwork above the Uffington White Horse is known as Uffington Castle Hill Fort. For over 900 years references to this horse have appeared in various documents. In the 14 century the Uffington White Horse was listed as being the 2nd wonder of Britain, while Stonehenge was the 1st.
Origins and history of the Uffington White Horse Wiltshire
Traditional stories for the origins or inspiration for the Uffington White Horse in Wiltshire suggest it might have been cut by Hengist, the Saxon leader (who had a white horse on his standard) about 1500 years ago.
Another story claimed it was cut as a memorial to King Alfred’s victory over the Danes at Ashdown in 871 AD. However archaeological digs with analyses of silts date the cutting to nearly 3000 years ago. This was the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age, and can be linked with the occupation of the anicent Uffington Castle Hill Fort above the White Horse’s location.
The outline of the horse resembles those stamped on the early Iron Age Coins. The horse may have been put there to act as a totem for those living on the hill as it can be seen from many miles away. Great fairs were held on the hill top in the Middle Ages and every 7 years up to 1857, to celebrate the cleaning of the horse.
Location and viewing the Uffington White Horse
This horse is best seen at a distance from some of the little roads around Uffington Village. There is a turning off the B4507 signposted to White Horse Hill and car parking area.
Uffington White Horse Wiltshire extra information
The famous White Horses of Uffington and Wiltshire were carved on the hills because the geological structure of these hills is solid chalk with a thin top layer of turf.
In the 1940’s Morris Marples coinded the word Leucipottomy to describe the cutting of White Horses on hillsides.
All the White Horse Wiltshire England were covered during the Second World War against possible enemy recognition. Gradually they have been recut and cleaned.