Winterbourne Stoke Down, nr Stonehenge, Wilts.
Details: This circle was reported on Sunday the 17th of June and is in a field of barley. It measures approximately 180ft in diameter. It sits right beside a tumulus in the same field.
Location: This circle is very close to both Stonehenge and the Stonehenge Visitor Centre at Winterbourne Stoke Down and occurred just a few days before the Summer Solstice. This landscape lies at the heart of Sacred Britain, it is phenomenally ancient and filled with barrows and earthworks. From the air the vistas are simply breathtaking, Salisbury Plain stretches out majestically as far as they eye can see and in comparison the stone circle at its centre, while cyclopean on the ground, it is tiny from the air in comparison to the landscape in which it sits. You can read more about Stonehenge and how to visit using the links above.
What is not talked about much on official websites about Stonehenge is its deep connection to ancient astronomy and geometry. Our ancient ancestors were extremely competent astronomers and were fascinated by the movement of the stars and planets. Anyone wanting to know more about this can do no better than read Robin Heath’s Book’ Sun, Moon and Stonehenge’ we highly recommend it. ISBN: 9780952615170 – can be found through most good book sellers.
The circle is also very close to the Winterbourne Stoke Down Barrow Cemetery (see the galley below for images). The Barrow Cemetery is worth a visit in its own right and is open to the public. A collection of bell and round barrows it looks really beautiful in the landscape.
The Flight: We had to wait five days to fly this circle because of airspace restrictions at Salisbury Plain. The Plain is the British Army’s main training ground and exercises with live ammunition are common. When the guns are active red flags fly across the area and all aircraft are prohibited from entry without permission. We had to fly very early in the morning before the guns were active to record this formation. You can see from the images that the crop has started to recover (via phototropism) and if left untrampled, by the time the field comes to harvest it may well be just about invisible – which goes to show how little damage the circle making process causally does to the plants themselves.
Design & Symbolism: The geometry of this circle is essentially 10-fold. The 360 degrees of the circle is divided onto ten to create five alternating sections for the petal shapes and the V-shaped patterns. Ten is an interesting number it’s the number of fingers and toes we have – the word ten is derived form the word Dekm meaning ‘two-hands’. As such the number ten is ubiquitous in human counting systems – we have been counting with our fingers since our infancy. We count years in decades, and we use base ten in our own currency system and in our metric measuring system. Ten is, of course, twice Five (the number of life). This design reminds me of a traditional tudor tudor rose with a modern twist.
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.
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NOTE: Some of the images below are beautiful landscape scenes. Click on each image to enlarge them and see the whole picture.
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This circle has been on my drawing table for some time now in a series of sketches and versions. It wasn’t easy to reach a version with which I was truly happy. One of the main sticking points was the division of the circle into ten, it was clear after my first attempt that this was not straightforward at all, although the circle was divided into ten, it was not ten equal segments and my original attempt showed me that the ‘V’ sections were too wide. I then looked at division by ten with the petal segments wider than the ‘V’ sections, this worked better, but it still wasn’t quite right either. In the end I worked very carefully from the photo in regard to the placement of the ten lines which divided the circle and came up with a good approximation. However, I was unable to find a satisfactory, straightforward geometrical protocol which matched what was in the field; the ten dividing lines were not truly symmetrical. The petals also were not truly symmetrical, but once again I was able to find a rough protocol that reproduced them as they looked in the field. All this said, this was a very attractive crop circle, and the end result is a striking pattern which seems to marry the natural (flower) and the technological (the ‘V’ shipped chevrons). As I was drawing this formation and thinking of that natural and technological mix I thought about the marriage of the hemispheres of the brain (or the two-fold nature of mind); the Left – functional and specific – and the Right – imaginative and holistic. This formation seemed to evoke both – some geometry, but also some imaginative free-hand work. The formation also looked a little like a human figure with this pattern at its centre! I hope you enjoy the images…