Here are some facts about the Uffington White Horse.
- The Uffington White Horse is a prehistoric figure of a horse. It is located on a hillside in Oxfordshire, a few km from the towns of Wantage and Farringdon.
- The figure is estimated to date from between 1,000 BC and 100 AD. It was created by digging trenches into the hillside and then filling them in with white chalk.
- King Alfred may have been responsible for the carved horse, or it may have been made by Hengist, the 5th century Anglo Saxon leader.
- Some people believe that it is actually meant to be a dragon, not a horse.
- The Uffington White Horse is 110 metres long. The best view of it is from the air, although it can be seen from nearby hills and is visible from 20 miles away.
- The horse lies on the Ridgeway Trail, Britain’s oldest footpath. The 140 km trail dates from prehistoric times and was used by farmers and travellers.
- Nearby is a small hill with a flat top, known as Dragon Hill. It is said to be the place where St. George killed the dragon, leaving a white scar made by the blood.
- The Uffington White Horse is one of 16 similar horse carvings found throughout southern England. Eight are in Wiltshire and the white horse carving has become the county’s symbol.
- Nobody knows for sure the reason for the white horse. It was probably a tribal symbol, intended to designate the area that a tribe controlled.
- A nearby hill is the highest point in Oxfordshire, at about 262 metres. Also nearby is the Manger, a series of giant terraces, where the white horse is said to sleep at night.
- The chalk trenches were scoured, or replenished, every 7 years up until the late 19th century to make sure the carving was still visible. The horse has been vandalized several times during the 20th century.
What next? Find out more about the Anglo-Saxons.