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Westbury White Horse, Westbury

4.5
#21 of 77 in Sightseeing in Wiltshire
Landmark Tourist Spot
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
157 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Easy to drive to and park nearby. You can walk right up to the horse, Great views from the top of the hill. You could make this a long visit with a picnic and walk or just a short walk. Best to visit ...  more »
  • We are fortunate enough to live near the White Horse. Whenever we show friends around this area this is one of the "must see" places. The views from the top are stunning, and on a clear day you can se...  more »
  • Walked up the big hill from Westbury centre with my partner, only took us around an hour and we came across some stunning views on the way. Thankfully the weather was perfect and we both got sunburnt ...  more »

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