Saturday, August 31, 2013

White Horse Hill

The head, eye and ears of the White Horse.
There are white horses carved in the chalk of the mountain sides in Oxfordshire.  They are as recent as the 1800's to as ancient as the Bronze Age.  We had to find the one that's the oldest, of course, near the village of Uffington.  Getting there didn't seem like a problem.  The roads were all major highways, although not the M roads.  What we should have known after driving here was, if BiB says it will take 1 hour and 15 minutes, you will be lucky to get there in 2 hours.  The "highway" was two lane, sometime narrow, that had everything traveling on it from cars to semi's.  The average posted speed was 60 mph, the actual speed was 30 mph.  Then we turned off onto the next size down road.  Posted speed 40 mph, actual speed, if you were very lucky, 25.
The two rear legs, part of the body and two front legs, kinda showing.
We did find the horse.  It is carved onto the side of the hill, very stylised, almost, modern art in it's design.  For the best view, one needs to be flying.  There was a parasailing club from Oxford who was doing just that.  Oh how we wished we could join in!  People have been working at keeping the horse chalked since the mid-1700, when the land owners would get their workers to spend a day, complete with picnic and a party, re-chalking the horse.  This is also when the newer horses were carved elsewhere in the county.

These rolling hills down to a plain were caused by glaciers.  If you look closely at them, they are ridged sideways across.  This island is still feeling the effects of the last ice age; there was an earthquake in the past week that was blamed on the change in weight from the ice melting.  Guess is just took the land a long time to realize it was gone.

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