The White Horses of Wiltshire
So autumn is here at last. Happily it took a long time to arrive, but the nights are starting to draw in and I thought about putting the heating on last night!
So, whilst I was sat in front of my sewing machine yesterday, busy quilting a mountain, (more on that in another post) I started to think in earnest about a series I have wanted to make for a long time. The White Horses of Wiltshire.
I started my research for this series in the spring, when I went in search of a few of the horses.
Being a mostly rural county of England with lots of beautiful countryside, Wiltshire is characterised by its high chalk downland and wide clay covered valleys. Salisbury Plain is famous as the location of the Stonehenge and to the north you can find Avebury stone circles and other ancient landmarks. Personally, I find these ancient monuments fascinating, but I am presently even more interested in some not-so ancient marks made on the earth that seem curiously overlooked - the 8 visible white horses scratched into the chalk hillsides.
As a child I remember looking out of the car windows, keeping an eye out for the sight of a white horse on a hillside. I remember being very puzzled by them - they made no sense to me, but they were huge and interesting, and sometimes we even stopped the car and walked the hills to sit on the horse's nose.
Many years on it is still fun, although the steepness of the slope and the slippery chalk is much more of a challenge than it used to be. I was sliding down the nose like crazy in this picture!
Over the next few days I intend to work in my sketchbook, developing my ideas for the series. If the weather is good I also hope to go and walk the hills to a few of them and take some nice photographs to use too.
There is a fantastic website with lots of great information about these hill figures;
http://www.wiltshirewhitehorses.org.uk/ , but apart from that there seems to be very little else. I must say I am rather puzzled. They are even poorly marked with regard to road signs - I think Wiltshire is missing a trick here, as I am sure I can't be the only person who thinks these horses are worth a visit!
So - over the next few days I will post some of my sketchbook pages and share the development of this series as it unfolds. Hopefully I will convince others of the beauty of these curious creatures!