The White Horse of Uffington is considered to be the oldest chalk hill figure in England, dating back to 1000 BC in the Late Bronze Age. It lies just off the The Ridgeway, a route of great antiquity with many ancient sites located along its’ length. The economy and elegance of the chalk lines representing what most consider to be a horse is breathtaking. It is, at 273 feet long, one of the first major pieces of land art to grace the landscape and continues to enchant to this day. Similar images have been found depicted on coins dating from the same period, and one suggestion is that it represents the horse goddess Epona, worshipped throughout the Celtic world. Readers of my generation will also know the hill figure from the cover of XTC’s album English Settlement. The band members were from Swindon, eight miles to the east.
The enigma was perhaps summed up best by Terry Patchet in A Hat Full of Sky: "'Taint what a horse looks like, it's what a horse be."