CARE OF A MONUMENT
The iconic Uffington white horse, carved into the northern escarpment of the Berkshire Downs, receives hundreds of visitors each year. The wear caused by boots and weather is counteracted by a community event which takes place in July and August, keeping the ancient monument clear and bright. For the annual clean up, known as a scouring, buckets of fresh, locally quarried chalk are carried up the hill. The horse is cleared of weeds and the new chalk pounded in place. The tradition goes back many centuries, with one local writer referring to it in the 17th century. It was once accompanied by a country fair, with stalls selling food, toys and alcohol, and games and competitions taking place throughout the day. It is likely though, that the event has more ceremonial origins. It is generally believed that the horse was carved into the hillside as a tribal symbol, although it may also be a representation of the mythical ‘solar horse’ drawing the sun across the sky.