A hill figure is a large visual representation created by cutting into a steep hillside and revealing the underlying geology. It is a type of geoglyph usually designed to be seen from afar rather than above. In some cases trenches are dug and rubble made from material brighter than the natural bedrock is placed into them. The new material is often chalk, a soft and white form of limestone, leading to the alternative name of chalk figure for this form of art.
The Uffington White Horse is a highly stylised prehistoric hill figure, 110 m long (374 feet), formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk. The figure is situated on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill in the English civil parish of Uffington, some 8 km (5 mi) south of the town of Faringdon and a similar distance west of the town of Wantage. The hill forms a part of the scarp of the Berkshire Downs and overlooks the Vale of White Horse to the north. Best views of the figure are obtained from the air, or from directly across the Vale, particularly around the villages of Great Coxwell, Longcot and Fernham.
The Long Man of Wilmington is a hill figure located in Wilmington, East Sussex, England on the steep slopes of Windover Hill, 9.6 kilometres (6 mi) northwest of Eastbourne. The Long Man is 69.2 metres (227 ft) tall and designed to look in proportion when viewed from below. The Long Man is one of two main human hill figures in England; the other is the Cerne Abbas giant, north of Dorchester. Both are Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
The Cherhill White Horse is a hill figure on Cherhill Down, 3.5 miles east of Calne in the county of Wiltshire, England. Dating from the late 18th century, it is the third oldest of several such white horses to be seen around Great Britain, with only the Uffington White Horse and the Westbury White Horse being older. The figure is also sometimes called the Oldbury White Horse.
The Cerne Abbas Giant, also referred to as the Rude Man or the Rude Giant, is a hill figure of a giant naked man on a hillside near the village of Cerne Abbas, in Dorset, England. The 180 ft (55 m) high, 167 ft (51 m) wide figure is carved into the side of a steep hill, and is best viewed from the opposite side of the valley or from the air. The carving is formed by a trench 12 in (30 cm) wide, and about the same depth, which has been cut through grass and earth into the underlying chalk. In his right hand the giant holds a knobbled club 120 ft (37 m) in length. A 1996 study found that some features of the image have changed over time; notably, the study concluded that the figure originally held a cloak in its left arm and stood over a disembodied head. The figure’s origin and age is unknown. Early antiquarians associated it with a Saxon deity, though there is little evidence for such a connection.
The Osmington White Horse is a hill figure sculpted in 1808 into the limestone Osmington hill just north of Weymouth called the South Dorset Downs, within the parish of Osmington. The figure is of King George III, who regularly visited Weymouth, and made it ‘the first resort’, riding on his horse, and can be seen for miles around. It is 280 feet long and 323 feet high in size and is best viewed from the A353 road. There is a legend that King George was offended that the figure was riding out of Weymouth — a sign that he was not welcome — and never returned.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is a zoo located at Whipsnade, near Dunstable in Bedfordshire, England. It is owned by the Zoological Society of London, a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, and is a companion to ZSL London Zoo in Regent’s Park, London. The park covers 600 acres (2.4 km2), and can be located from miles to the north and from the air because of its large white lion hill figure carved into the side of the Dunstable Downs (part of the Chiltern Hills) below the White Rhino enclosure. The distinctive white lion hill figure was completed in 1933.
The Westbury or Bratton White Horse is a hill figure on the escarpment of Salisbury Plain, approximately 2.5 km (1.6 mi) 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.
Wye is a historic village in Kent, England, located some 12 miles (19 km) from Canterbury, and is also the main village in the civil parish of Wye with Hinxhill. The parish population was 2,384 (for the entire parish:2001), although the students at Wye College (see below) add to this total. On the Downs east of the village is a crown (hill figure) carved in the chalk by students in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII.