The famous White Horse at Uffington is situated in the county of Oxfordshire and is the oldest hill figure in Britain. The horse was thought to have been built during the early Iron Age, or possibly first cut into the ground as far back as 1000BC- placing it in the Bronze Age and an astonishing 3,000 years old. Unlike most other white horses in the UK (which are more recent) paleoanthropologists and archaeologists have found Iron Age coins with depictions of a strikingly similar image in the region, all but confirming its existence at the time.
An examination of the soil at the bottom of one of these lines using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (which measures radiation levels in soil) later confirmed the image had indeed been built in the Late Bronze Age.
To visit the horse we drove up Lambourn Valley Way to the car park. From here there is a path along a gentle slope, which gets a lot steeper as you get closer to the horse. The entire complex is far larger than you’d expect, so wear comfortable, non-slip shoes.
The chalk itself has been dated to the Cretaceous, making it around 80 million years old.
Though there had been rain all week, I was lucky enough to head up to the horse in patchy sunshine, and it was a great stroll. The path is well worn, the natural grassland mostly manicured- I assume from the numerous sheep- and the air was alive with butterflies and bees.