Willoughby Hedge, nr Mere, Wilts
FIRST CIRCLE OF 2018 REPORTED: The first crop circle of 2018 was reported on Tuesday 8th May at Willoughby Hedge, near Mere in Wiltshire. The circle is in oilseed-rape (canola) crop and measures approximately 100-150ft in diameter. We have not heard that the farmer is granting access to this formation. Do not enter the field without permission please.
We have had crop circles at this general location before, notably last year where one of the first formations of the season appeared in a field on the other side of the road – click here for more information.
Landscape: The area surrounding Mere is littered with ancient land-markers. Tumuli, a long barrow and hill forts (large ditched earthworks) can be seen dotted all over this landscape. There was one tumulus in the same field as this crop circle (see gallery below), but there are more at nearby Keysley Farm, at least one of which was found to contain a Saxon burial with grave goods, when it was excavated in the early 1800s. While some tumuli have been found to have been used for burial, many are entirely empty and where originally created well before many burials they do contain. It’s not at all clear that they were ever originally meant for burial, it is more likely that they were appropriated over time for burials and that originally they were landscape markers, perhaps connected to ancient astronomy – the rising and setting of the Sun, Moon or stars.
Design & Symbolism: This design is a combination of the Seed-of-Life (a geometric six-petalled flower) and an insect, possibly a Pond Skater (also known as a Water Strider) because they have the ability to walk on water! You can read more about the Pond Skater here. The symbolism of the design is interesting on so many levels – the more one looks, the more one sees! Firstly is the use of the Seed-of-Life design, which is the seed from which the greater Flower-of-Life blooms – is this first formation the one from which the entire 2018 season will bloom? The Seed-of-Life itself can also be said to symbolise the seven days of creation – six circles contained by a larger seventh, once again a reference to beginnings and perhaps even origin. The Flower-of-life might be seen as a symbol of the invisible monistic realm which, while in plain sight, is rarely acknowledged, yet connects all things. The Pond Skater imagery is also interesting for several reasons; one is its ability to walk on water, this might mean the crop circle is also symbolic of the miraculous and the Divine at work in the world. Secondly, there might be something here about reflection, and threshold, water both reflects and is also a shimmering threshold. What do the crop circles reflect and to what depths are they a threshold? This circle seems to me to be an auspicious start to the 2018 season – we’re off! You can see Karen Alexander’s beautiful drawings of this formation in the Geometry Gallery below.
First Flight of 2018: We took to the skies approximately one week after this circle was reported. It was a wonderfully sunny, but very windy day. You might see some of the yellow petals from the Oilseed Rape plants in the photos as they blew around in the strong breeze and the wash from the helicopter blades.
Visiting the Circles? If you are thinking of visiting any crop circles this summer, please read our Visiting the Crop Circles section. It’s full of useful information and etiquette for visiting the countryside and the crop circles. Please remember that you should not enter any fields without the express permission of the farmer.
Please Help to keep us Flying in 2018: If you have enjoyed looking at our pictures and information please consider making a small donation to keep us flying. There are so few of us left regularly recording the circles it’s really important that we continue. And while some now use drones to record the circles, it is important that there are still images taken from aircraft where the best quality camera equipment can be used and images that include the broad vista of the landscape can be taken. This kind of photography is expensive and it gets harder with each passing year to raise the funds we need to continue our work, but if everyone who regularly looked at this website made a small donation we would meet the funds we need. You can make a donation here.
NOTE: Some of the images below are beautiful landscape scenes. Click on each image to enlarge them and see the whole picture.
This Pond Skater design is a play on the classic ‘Seed-of-Life’ design, a six petalled flower created with the compass open at only one measurement to create the whole design. The body of the insect (upper and lower) is created with two classical petals and the four legs are half petals. The small circles create the eyes and the indentations in the water that the feet would create on the water. The outer circle might be seen as a ripple on the water or as the surface tension created by the insect moving on the water. It’s an incredibly effective design.
You can see the Classic Seed-of-Life design and an image of a Pond Skater in the gallery below.