Westbury White Horse, Westbury

4.4
The Westbury or Bratton White Horse is a hill figure on the escarpment of Salisbury Plain, approximately 1.5mi east of Westbury in England. Located on the edge of Bratton Downs and lying just below an Iron Age hill fort, it is the oldest of several white horses carved in Wiltshire. It was restored in 1778, an action which may have obliterated a previous horse which had occupied the same slope. A contemporary engraving of the 1760s appears to show a horse facing in the opposite direction, and also rather smaller than the present figure. However, there is at present no documentary or other evidence for the existence of a chalk horse at Westbury before the year 1742.The horse is 180 feet tall and 170 feet wide and is a symbol for the town of Westbury, appearing on welcome signs and in the logo for its tourist information centre. It is also considered a symbol for Wiltshire as a whole.OriginsThe origin of the Westbury White Horse is obscure. It is often claimed to commemorate King Alfred's victory at the Battle of Eðandun in 878, and while this is not impossible, there is no trace of such a legend before the second half of the eighteenth century. It should also be noted that the battle of Eðandun has only tentatively been identified with Edington in Wiltshire.Another white horse, the Uffington White Horse, featured in King Alfred's earlier life. He was born in the Vale of White Horse, not far from Uffington. Unlike Westbury, documents as early as the eleventh century refer to the "White Horse Hill" at Uffington ("mons albi equi"), and archaeological evidence has dated the Uffington White Horse to the Bronze Age, although it is not certain that it was originally intended to represent a horse.
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  • August 12, 2017
    easy to get to, and a nice walk along fields to get to white horse, where to can sit on benches and watch the sun set  more »
  • July 30, 2017
    Popped up single track as easily marked. Easy drive up to huge car park then waljed a few hundred metre to start of track, very steep and have a tingle in bum for most of it due to height. Touched the...  more »
  • July 23, 2017
    We moved to Westbury in December 2016. Been up to the horse many times now, very popular place for visitors. Easy parking and great views of the surrounding countryside.  more »

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