Ground Report - Ripley, Hampshire, 23/04/05
The first crop circle of the year (!) is located in a quiet and fairly secluded area of Hampshire, the surroundings very peaceful, apart from the odd 747 breaking the silence!
Of course our excitement and optimism was significant, this being the first formation of the year. The sun had come out after a very dubious start to the day (weather wise) in Sussex and our first outing of the summer promised to be typical of a spring crop circle investigation, the smell of rapeseed in the air to punctuate the experience, and bring back fond memories of previous summers.
This excitement was not lessened on finding heavily crushed and broken stems when entering the design. After a week of possible visitors trampling the laid crop the condition was bound to be less than perfect. Unfortunately, as we carefully inspected the whole of the outer section of the crop circle, where the largest areas of laid crop are situated, more and more damaged and scuffed stems became apparent. Fully aware that the crop circle had been present for at least a week, it still seemed hard to comprehend how so much damage could have been inflicted by visitors alone. Everywhere we looked there was more and more evidence of damage and really no fluidity or continuity to the lay.
Situated just a few yards from a public footpath that runs up the side of the field, this formation is approximately 150 ft in diameter incorporating two ‘arms’ comprising a segmented ‘ratchet’ style pattern beginning near the centre and continuing with seven separate blocks of standing crop on each side, progressing outwards in an anti-clockwise direction. The outer edge of the circle is punctuated by an eighth segment, where the central pattern continues and meets the perimeter. The six inch wide counter flow begins ‘outside’ this eighth segment starting at a tram line.
The crop across the whole of the formation is laid anticlockwise, apart from a counter-flow, as mentioned previously, about six inches wide running around the outside of the crop circle.
Some underlying pathways are present, mainly flowing from near the centre of the formation towards and into the perimeter. Where junctions exist between differing directional flows, such as around the edges of some of the segments making up the central pattern, crop damage is particularly severe, many stems actually broken in two (see photo), as well as appearing scuffed and crushed along the lower part of each plant.
The centre of the formation is distinct not because of an expected swirl or other intricate and imaginative feature but because of the large area, perhaps a metre in diameter, of bare, trampled earth, surrounded by severely damaged stems.
This image shows the centre of the circle.
On a different note, two members of the group, who incidentally were previous crop circle ‘virgins’ did experience persistent headaches whilst inside the formation. Whether this was a result of being inside the formation is, of course, impossible to say.
In conclusion, the interesting design of this crop circle was pleasing to the eye, and accurate to a degree. The disappointment felt by all of us at the state of the crop inside was compensated for by the enjoyment of being outside at the beginning of the summer and being in a crop circle, whatever its condition. Not exactly an exceptional start to the 2005 season, but a start none the less…
Crop Circle Summary