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“Animated and easily viewed hill figure”

Reviewed 2 June 2013

Broad Town white horse is arguably the most animated of the eight equine hill figures in Wiltshire; it sits on a 45 degree incline above the village making it very easy to view. It sits at the western extremity of the Vale of White Horse and dates to circa 1864. It measures 24 meters in length x 18 meters high and was carved by a William Simmonds, a wealthy land owner in the area. It sits on a back road between Broad Hinton and Broad Town, not too far from the horse at Hackpen Hill and I do pass it several times a month. Its precise grid reference is SU 098 483

Stories do exist, the most plausible one being that of the Curator of the Imperial War Museum in London, that as a boy in the 1850s, he had assisted villagers to clean the horse which had by all accounts existed on that site for "at least 50 years" which would in such a case, make its carving date considerably earlier, although there is no independently verified proof of this.

This carving is certainly the most animated of the eight, as the horse was designed with a trotting stance. The horse has reputedly been recut several times including in 1896 when a Mr Hussey ( a common name in these parts) found the horse to be almost totally overgrown with weeds. Being the most visible of all the horses, it was turfed over during the war but survived its "black out" well.

Once found, it is most visible but the initial sighting can be difficult. As you drive west through Broad Town down the hill, the horse sits to the right of the road, and behind you on the steep escarpment. You can park close to the church which is where I took my photographs from

2  Thank GBfromDevizes
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