The White Horse of Uffington is a prehistoric figure cut into the chalk of the hills. The design is highly stylised, and debate simmers away regarding whther it symbolises the horse goddess Epona or Rhiannon, is associated with the god Belenus, or is a dragon. My personal choice prefers the latter, though historically, I suppose the horse is a better choice.
Regardless, the Horse stands some 374 feet long on the top of the slope and can only be truly viewed from the air or from a distance. On a clear day it can be seen from over ten miles away.
Recent techniques have dated the figure to some 3000 years ago in the Bronze Age. It has been suggested that it is a tribal badge perhaps, but I feel there is far more to it than this as it sits in a strange and beautifully crafted sacred landscape.
Before it stands Dragon Hill, where St George is said to have slain the dragon.. and there is a patch of ground there to this day where the blood was pilled and the grass will not grow.
Ice terraces in the hillside are, of course, where the dragon clenched its tail in its death throes…
Waylands Smithy, a long barrow in a beautiful secluded glade, stands a little way to the west. The barrow is closed but when excavated revealed the remains of seven adults and a child. The structure dates back to 3700BC and legends abound. The most notable is that should your horse cast a shoe when nearing the ‘smithy’, tether the horse overnight and leave a silver coin on the capstone and the horse will be shod by morning.
Close to the White Horse is Uffington Castle, and enormous earthwork of ramparts and ditches. Archaeology suggests occupation and dates it to the 6th or 7th century BC. Two burial mounds of containing the remains of 46 Romano Britons and 8 Saxons are close by.
Curious too is the Blowing Stone, now in a village garden, but thought to have been brought from the hill. This perforated sarsen stone makes a booming sound when one blows into the holes. King Alfred is said to have summoned his army to face the Vikings with this stone.
This whole complex stands near the Ridgeway, an ancient track over 5000 years old.. the oldest known in the world still in use. It now runs past many of Britains most impressive monuments for 87 miles, though it once stretched for 250 mles across the land.
"Ah, Love, Could thou and I conspire, To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire, Would we not shatter it to bits, And then rebuild it nearer to the hearts desire?"
Omar Khyyaam of Naishapur
Great job Echo on all Scared places post. I really like the Blowing Stone. Now that's something for me. Just to think a rock used like a horn.
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