Ground Report – Etchilhampton Hill, 16/08/06
As we near the end of this unusual season, some people begin to expect the traditional ‘grand finale’ as we have been treated to in many seasons past. Whether this is it I don’t know, but it is an impressive formation both from the air and on the ground.
The inner part of the design is created with intersecting lines similar to the recent formation at Blowingstone Hill, but here there are no flattened sections in the centre. In my opinion the overall look of the crop circle bears some resemblance, although in fact they are quite different!
The location of this crop circle is an important factor. From the formation itself there is an awesome view of the Vale of Pewsey, which includes many notable and significant features such as the white horse at Alton Barnes, Woodborough Hill, Pewsey white horse as well as a view of the landscape either side for quite a distance.
At ground level things are also quite impressive! The formation measures 336 ft across the star shape, but as it is laid over the top of the hill, the size is difficult to gauge. The many intersecting and criss-crossing pathways making up the central part of the design are difficult to make out from the inside. There are many features within these narrow paths there are worth noting.
All of the pathways appear to be about 6-8 inches wide although there are variations in places. The direction of the flow of the crop in each of them also varies. In most places the crop flows out towards the points of the star. However, in at least one of the points the crop flows out towards the edge, then turns back on itself and flows back towards the middle. Here the strips are much narrower.
Each of the pathways overlaps many others during its course towards the outside (or inside) of the star. What is interesting is that it is not possible to see which of the paths was laid before any of the others because where the crop lays over another path it is then overlaid by another at the next intersection.
During my visit the word that kept coming to mind was ‘delicate’. The way most of the crop is laid is not with a great downward force, but appears much more gentle. There are many places where particularly the narrow pathways cross tramlines and the ‘bridging’ effect is evident.
Also within these narrow pathways forming the central part of the design there is evidence of ‘gap seeking’. The crop often flows over a tramline with many stems actually flowing into it and this also occurs where two pathways cross. In many cases the stems here turn quite sharply to follow a new direction as the images below illustrate.
The central star shape is formed by a path flowing around its perimeter which is generally around 2ft wide. The crop in the path flows clockwise. There is a very distinct and visible effect throughout the formation as the crop in the laid circle sections flows away from the star, also clockwise, and then back over the path on the other side. The image below shows what I mean (it is hard to explain!).
The photo above shows crop flowing away from the 2ft wide path on the left side, and over it on the right side.
There is a layering effect in each of the large laid sections forming the circle which appears ‘behind’ the star. This is created with swathes of crop flowing in a clockwise direction and where this flow meets the edge of the standing crop, some stems are not laid flat, but rather up the sides.
This crop circle combines an impressive overall design, intricate, precise and varied detail on the ground and an absolutely stunning location to create in my opinion an experience some have come to expect at this end of a crop circle season, particularly when you look a little closer!
Crop Circle Summary