Up Uffington

Up on Uffington White Horse Hill, skylarks sing their hearts out as they bounce and soar over the dramatic curves of the landscape. The views across the county of Wiltshire and beyond are vast and wide.

Light constantly flickers and changes, like rippling water and fresh, clean winds whip away any fragile spring warmth, leaving you almost breathless once you reach the top. Looking down, there is Dragon Hill - look closer, at the tiny figures sitting on it and the snaking road creeping up the slope.

White Horse Hill is rich with wildlife and we kept company with three types of birds of prey; buzzards, a red kite and a kestrel. A pair of ravens were croaking away below in the valley. Andy stalked the kestrel, hiding in a ditch upwind to sneak closer and got some nice zoom shots - this one was super, just a bit blurred, but I admit to being a little envious of him catching it taking off in flight, something I've never managed.

Below the horse, to the left, is a stunning natural valley formation known as 'the Manger', where the white horse is supposed to feed on moonlit nights.

Naturally, one does not actually walk on (or even near) the horse. It's survived since the Iron Age and deserves some respect.

It's one of my favourite monuments. Although I have yet to work out how to get a full picture of it - the usual view is from the ground.

But from above, it looks like this (taken from an old postcard). Makes you wonder how the Ancient Britons created such a perfect design, best seen from the sky.

I've been quiet recently, due to various *things*. One of those things - which I'm thrilled to be able to share at last - can be seen in a sneak preview here. Busy spring and looks like being a busy summer!


Lin said...

I never heard of the White Horse--how magnificent! So many mysteries on this good green Earth.

Caroline B said...

Front cover no less - wow, congratulations! I shall have to search that one out.
Wonderful kestrel photos, I particularly like the one of him in the tree.

Su said...

it looks a wonderful place to vist, so steeped in history. Great that the kestrals love it too.

Jane Moxey said...

We used to go on outings to this spot when I was at boarding school in Bath. I think space aliens came and left the horse mark!! So great that people are being mindful not to step on this great thing!

Lynn said...

Congratulations on front cover status in the magazine.
I love the post about the Wiltshire countryside which is beautiful and so uncrowded. It is rather nice that the origin of the White Horse remains a mystery, and one will never know how its abstract design could be designed and created by people who did not have the luxury of flight.

Cathy Holtom said...

There are so many unanswered questions, not only how did they make such a good design, but why?
Great photos of the Kestrel!

Julia Guthrie said...

Amazing photos Gretel! Birds are difficult to capture on film at the best of times :)
The white horse is spectacular!

Kim said...

Fun stuff! How did they ever get everything so perfect if they never saw it from the air? That question makes the mind wander a bit! Thanks for showing!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely to see it from this vantage point. I'm usually driving by.

I'm off now to see what's been taking up your time. I know it will be something wonderful!!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, they ARE wonderful!!!!

BumbleVee said...

hey.... the white horse!! lovely ....

and your little doggies.... awww...so sweet. Congrats Gretel.... how wonderful to get some lovely coverage.

I'm still fiddling with the feet ...not much work done today as a friend who has just learned to do a bit of felting stopped over for a visit...but, mostly we just yakked as we haven't seen each other for months...

maybe tomorrow I can work on goosie for a bit....

Dru Marland said...

"...a place that is not for owning, most there when you look away...."

...I'm still looking for the perfect view of Uffington, now I'm an occasional passer-by on my way to East Oxfordshire. No hurry, it's a nice area for bimbling, isn't it?

Things Hand Made said...

Urging ton is such a special place. Have you walked along the ancient path to Wayland Smithy? That's another amazing special place.

ted and bunny said...

I love the name Uffington, its like something out of a story book.

The kestrel pic is a delight and I'm envious of you having red kites.

We had a good happening here this week...we found we have a barn owl nesting in the loft above Bruce's stable. I'd seen owl poo but thought it was from the Little Owl who was resident last year, and then a few times as I've gone in and out the most beautiful barn owl has flown silently from the loft. Goodness knows he's certainly got enough mice in there to eat!

Happy easter weekend,

Frances said...

Oh Gretel...what treasure is found in this post!

The close up bird photos are remarkable. I now really appreciate just how stealthy a would be photographer must be to achieve such results!

I have also had the pleasure of seeing the white horse from a fairly great distance and like its mysterious beauty very much.

And now, I hope you can hear me applauding your Molly Makes cover. I keep thinking how lucky those folks are who will be having "hands on" tutoring in the art of needle felting, and also how fortunate readers of MM will be to have access to this technique with its unlimited possibilities.

Gosh, that was a long sentence.

Happy Easter to you and Andy. xo

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

What a wonderful post and one of the wonders of the ages at a very interesting angle.
Congratulations on your cover!

Frances Tyrrell said...

Congratulations on front-cover status! Those little dogs are very engaging, what a treat it must be for your needle-felting students to spend this weekend with you and learn how they (little dogs) are made.
What a lovely thing to be near enough to go for that walk up and around the white horse. Your photos and description are the next best thing to being there.

Celia Hart said...

What a breathtaking view!

I love walking in ancient places and feeling the history through my boots.

I've just popped over from Frances's b;og and realised I haven't visited for ages!


Karen said...

Wonderful pictures Gretel. I love Uffington it's a very special place.
Well done on the magazine front cover. Fabulous! x

Gemma Mortlock said...

Wow congrats Gretel!!! front page yipee!
I visited wiltshire a few months back for a weekend, the white horse is amazing and always makes me a little breathless looking at its scale.
Congratulations again you must be very happy :)

Charlotte said...

Love this post, my Dad grew up here (London evacuee, but to family in the area). Lived in Lambourne for much of his childhood. My great uncle Dickie was the Uffington ploughing champion in the war (proper horse ploughing). Thanks for sharing the pics. I miss being near to the horse and can hear the skylarks just as you describe them.

Sandy's witterings said...

The Uffington white horse has been on my to see list for some time - It's ever growing though but I'll get through it eventually.

If Andy had taken to lying in ditches, he deserves a couple of good kestral shots.