Address: Bratton Rd, Westbury, Wilts BA13 3EP

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Westbury White Horse History

It’s reckoned that a horse has been on this site for at least 300 years, this according to local chronicles. In 1778, a Bratton Camp steward of Lord Abingdon (Mr G Gee!) had the horse re-cut in the chalk to give it a more equine appearance. Over time, chalk erosion changed its look, and this forced it to be redesigned in 1873. It resulted in its current shape, with edging stones inserted to hold the chalk in place.

In the early 20th century, it was decided to minimise the costs of maintenance by covering the chalk surface with concrete and painting it white. This created the permanent structure seen today. The concreting was repeated again in 1995.

 

Westbury White Horse Visit

It’s a well-known landmark, part of folklore, and certainly worth a trip. And it’s certainly big enough, standing 33 metres high and 54 metres long, and you’ll find it near Bratton Camp, about a mile and a half east of Westbury, near the villages of Bratton and Edington.

You drive up the steep hill (the B3098) and when on top, park in the car park. The horse is then where you’d expect to see it – over the edge of the hill. Travelling to the area, you become aware of the steep valleys and, if you don’t know exactly where the horse is, you find yourself looking at lots of potential locations.

Whilst it doesn’t have the background of a battle or major construction work, it would be nice if there were more details to view. A museum may be OTT, but a little more information would be good. They certainly have a large car park area to site it and the area has a fascinating tale to tell, with all the earthworks of the 18th century nearby.

It’s certainly best viewed from a distance, but good to get up close and inspect the work that’s gone into it.

It doesn’t take long to view, but, if you want to discover the other local earthworks of long ago as well, it could form a fascinating day.  It can be a quick stop when travelling through the area or a nice day out.