Cherhill White Horse
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
The white horse on Cherhill Down is quite prominent, and can be spotted when you drive from Bromham towards Calne. It sits on a hill which is also an iron age hillfort known as Oldbury Castle., which started life as a bronze age enclosure in 1000BC, and developed into a hill fort around 500 years later.
The horse itself dates back to the 18th Century, around 1780, so is similar in age to the white horse at Westbury.
At the top of the hill you will also see a prominent, needle like structure which is the Lansdowne monument. This was erected back in 1845 by the Marquis of Lansdowne, whose family have owned Bowood House for generations.
Bowood is open to the public and well worth a visit in the spring and summer months. The monument itself is looking a little weathered and worn, and the National Trust have erected scaffolding around the base to protect it from further erosion. It needs some investment to get it back to its best.
There is a tremendous amount of walking in this area which rewards you with some splendid views. You are not far from Morgan's Hill, which you can easily spot if you look for the two radio masts on the adjacent hill. There are paths which lead you toward Avebury, as well as a Roman Road and King Alfred's Wansdyke. Take your time to explore maps and find a walking route to take in all the interesting parts of this landscape, as well as the views of the white horse itself.
The White Horse itself is not so hidden, but all the other historic parts of the landscape are not that well known and worthy of exploration so when you come, make a day of it and wander in this ancient landscape that takes you from the bronze age, through the iron Age, into the Civil War and right up to the modern day. As you look at the view, ask yourself if this is what our ancestors would have seen as it is relatively unspoilt by man.
If you make your way to the village of Cherhill on the A4, you can park up in one of the many laybys and walk up Cherhill Down. The horse is very visible from the main road if you are coming out of Calne, so you won't miss it. If approaching from Avebury, the horse is on the left as the road heads downhill towards the village.
If approaching from Avebury, there is a car park on the left of the A4 just after the Beckhampton roundabout. You can park here and take a walk over the downs.