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The white horse chalk carving which overlooks the famous crop circle fields of Alton Barnes in Wiltshire was lit up by candles to celebrate this year’s Winter Solstice. MELANIE GAMBRILL, whose project it was, reports on the results…

Here are some photos of the Winter Solstice Lighting of the Alton Barnes White Horse on Tuesday 21st December.

It turned out to be a great day weatherwise, with the sky clearing in the afternoon so we could watch a beautiful sunset before lighting the horse. Lots of people came, so we got the candles and jars ready to light very quickly. As the sun set and the daylight started to fade, we lit the candles. It must have been amazing to watch the horse being lit from a distance, as the lighting progressed up the horse's head, along the tail and up the legs until it was completely aglow. As darkness fell, the horse lights became brighter and brighter. We could see vehicles stopping along the road below as people paused to view the lit horse.

Afterwards, a group of us met in ‘The Barge’ pub [regular summer haunt of many crop circlers] for a drink and were welcomed and cheered by many local people who had seen the lit horse and thought it was wonderful. Apparently the local ‘Wigglybus’ had stopped to let its passengers get a good view of this rare sight! Some locals even offered to help us collect the jars the next day. We also met a photographer from the local paper and he said he would be interested in taking a picture of it if we light the horse again.

When we returned to the horse the next day to pick up the jars, we met a local chap with a hawk who asked if we were lighting the horse again that night as he had heard about the lighting but missed getting a photo of it. Apparently it was being talked about as far away as Bath that evening. He said he was a beekeeper and so had plenty of jam jars if we needed some next year.

It was great to receive such a warm welcome and lots of appreciation from local people for our efforts. I am sure they would like to help light the horse if we arrange to do it again next year.

Later, we discovered that circle researcher Jeff Wilson in the US had organised a group to light the Ohio Serpent Mound [site of several crop circles in recent years] on the Solstice with 650 candles. This was amazing, as we had no prior knowledge of other groups doing this.

If people want to email me to be put on a mailing list to hear about our plans to repeat the lighting next year, then email me at:



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