Pictures of Uffington
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Victory over the Danes by King Alfred is said to have caused the carving of the great White Horse of Uffington which sprawls 400ft across the hillside below the Iron Age battlements of Uffington Castle. Others believe the huge beast may be a tribal symbol dating back to the Ist-century BC. What is certain is that whatever the date of origin, and certainly of the 16 such carvings in England this is one of the oldest, is that with its tilting head and swirling tail, the carving is amazingly beautiful.
There is an attractive mix of building materials in Uffington, with older parts of the village being almost entirely built in chalk, these are off-set by the newer build which is a soft cream sandstone. One chalk building is the 17th-century structure that was the old school house.
Whitehorse Hill rises to a spectacular height of 850ft and is gloriously topped by the circular Iron Age fortress of Uffingham Castle. The climb is steep and sometimes, after rain it can be slippery but once the summit is reached and you gaze down into the valley beneath-well it is then that you know your laborous climb has been truly worthwhile. The farms and cottages interspersed throughout the village and the countryside below take on the magical appearance of an enchanted miniture village.
Interestingly, St. George is said to have slain the dragon on the small, almost non-existant hill that lies below the White Horse. Saint George has been patron saint of England since the 14th-century, hence this little hill has been aptly named Dragon Hill.
The peaceful parish church of St.Mary has an octagnol tower and dates from the 13th-century. Inside the calm interior of the church is a commemorative Bronze of Thomas Hughes who made the area the home of his hero in Tom Brown's Schooldays.
This whole region is as spectacular as it is interesting. It is an area steeped in factual history as well as myths and legends and as such is well worth a visit. The graceful White Horse of Uffington has illuminated the great hill for centuries and perhaps the intregue surrounding it's age is best summarised in the wise words penned by G.K. Chesterton, almost a century ago;
'Before the gods that made the gods
Had seen their sunrise pass,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale
Was cut out of the grass'
Other attractions in the area are, Waylands Smithy, the beautiful N.T. property of Ashdown and the ruins of Barbary Castle.
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