Oxford: The Uffington White Horse

For our hiking class we were split into groups and had to plan a hike.  My group planned the hike to the Uffington White Horse.  When I first heard our planning assignment I had no idea what the Uffington White Horse was. A statue? A monument? The name of a hill? An actual horse?  No.  The Uffington White horse is a horse shaped hill figure carved from chalk.

The Uffington White Horse dates back to the late Bronze or early Iron Ages (1200 BC -800 BC), making it the oldest hill figure in all of Great Britian.

There are actually 14 white horses in Great Britian.  Unlike the other white horses the Ufifngton White Horse is very abstract, leading some to doubt whether it is actually a horse.  Some popular theories are that it is a cat or a bird.

Down the hill from the Uffington White Horse is The Manger Valley.  The Manger  has very distinct ripples that were created by retreating ice during the last Ice Age.  These ripples are known as the Giant’s Steps.  The Uffington villagers used to hold Cheese Rolling Festivals at the Manger!

Just to the side of The Manger is a flat-topped hill known as Dragon Hill.  It is believed to be the site where St. George, the patron saint of England, slayed the dragon.  The dragon’s blood poisoned the ground, leaving a white chalk scar on the top of the hill.

We hiked above The White Horse and took in the scenery, then we headed a little more up the hill to Uffington Castle.  Before you get too excited about the castle I should probably warn you, it’s not actually a castle.

Uffington Castle is a hill fort.  It was built in the Iron Ages and has a moat dug around it.  It’s the highest point in Oxfordshire and you can see 6 conties from the castle.

The White Horse was really beautiful and interesting, but the most entertaining part of the day had to be our attempt at spelling Baylor and BU at the top of the hill.  We were on an incline, so no matter how stable we look in the picture, we were about half a second from rolling down the hill!  After we took pictures we headed back down to the hill to wait for the bus back to Oxford.

Happy Trails Everyone!!


2 thoughts on “Oxford: The Uffington White Horse”

  1. I absolutely loved your post. I was just there a few weeks ago and I was absolutely fascinated by it and out of all the wonderful things I saw in England, that’s one of the ones that I’ve thought about the most.

    It’s interesting how there is no way to actually see the horse in it’s entirety except from the air, but it’s cool to see it even close up….it’s HUGE.

    And I had the same thought about the castle. Just before I reached the top of the hill, I thought ‘wait, this is probably just a shell,’ and I was right!

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