Kileva Appeal : White Horse Challenge near Alton Barnes
I mentioned recently that my grandson Joe and I would be climbing all 8 of the Wiltshire White Horses over the coming weeks in support of the Kileva Foundation 2014 Appeal.
Well I’m pleased to say that we completed the first one earlier this week. It’s near the village of Alton Barnes on Milk Hill, which (together with nearby Tan Hill) is the joint highest point in Wiltshire at 294 metres.
Getting ready with Poppy
You’ll notice from the above photo that a guest walker – Poppy the black Labrador – came with us. Where Joe and I took our time to walk up and around the hill, Poppy managed to keep running up and down it, and so she ended up sleeping well that night!
Mud and History
After all the rain we’ve had in the UK over the last 2 months it was inevitable that we’d find mud en-route!
The originator of the horse was a Mr Robert Pile, who in 1812 paid twenty pounds to a journeyman painter, John Thorne, to design it and have it cut. Thorne designed the horse,then sub-contracted the excavation work to a John Harvey who ran off with the money before the horse was finished, and so Mr Pile was left to pay out again. Thorne was eventually hanged, but what crime that was for seems not to be recorded.
Approaching the horse
The horse seems to have been well looked after over the years, with fairly regular scouring. On one occasion, however, in 1866, the scourers dug a new chalk pit just above the horse, which created a white patch that spoiled the appearance for some time. However in 2010 the horse underwent a major renovation overseen by landowner Tim Carson and Alton Barnes Parish Council, when 150 tons of fresh chalk were used to replenish the surface of the figure.
View from the Top
There are some great views in every direction from the top of Milk Hill, and the horse itself looks out over the Vale of Pewsey which separates the chalk downs of Salisbury Plain to the south from the Marlborough Downs to the north.
That’s the first of 8 horses climbed and was a great day out so we’re looking forward to tackling the next one, which is located at Broad Town about three miles south of Wootton Bassett, in the next few days.
I’d like to thank Anne & Spencer, Julie and Eileen for sponsoring us so far, and if anyone else would like to do the same please click on the image below and follow the instructions on our JustGiving page.