Posted tagged ‘England’

The Vale of the White Horse

December 31, 2011

In August I encountered one of the most mysterious landscapes I have ever seen – the Vale of the White Horse in Uffington, in Oxfordshire, England.  Although the Vale itself is fairly typical looking, with hedges delineating individual farms and holdings,

Vale of the White Horse, Uffington

The Vale of the White Horse, as seen from an outlook near the White Horse.

it is the White Horse itself that makes this destination so special.

White Horse, Uffington, Vale of the White Horse

The White Horse, viewed from below. It's much easier to photograph from an aerial perspective, but I had failed to book a helicopter.

The White Horse is described in Wikipedia as a “highly stylized prehistoric hill figure”, created of chalk (it is estimated) during the Bronze Age some 3000 years ago. (For a better aerial view of it, click here.) The figure is about 375 feet long and is cleaned periodically to keep it visible. The surrounding landscape contains some unusual ridged hills called The Giant’s Stair, and above the White Horse stands a knoll known as the Iron Age Uffington Castle.

The day we visited, the landscape was windy and clouds scuttered across the sky. A child was running with a kite.

Uffington, Vale of the White Horse

Flying a kite below the White Horse

The surrounding meadows were appropriately bleak, with an occasional outcropping of thistles.

Uffington, thistles

Purple thistles dotting the meadow grass near the Vale of the White Horse.

I won’t forget the Vale of the White Horse. See it if you can.

%d bloggers like this: