The new Devizes white horse
Ordnance Survey grid reference: SU 016 641
This is the newest of the Wiltshire white horses. Designed by Peter Greed, it was cut by around two hundred local people in 1999 to mark the millennium. It is on Roundway Hill to the north of Devizes, overlooking the village of Roundway. This horse is the only one in Wiltshire, and one of only four in Britain, to face to the right.
In 1954, pupils at Devizes Grammar school researched the old Devizes horse, and one of them, Peter Greed, drew up plans for re-creating it. Nothing came of that at the time, but years later, in 1998, Sarah Padwick, who had recently moved to Devizes and was unaware of the old horse, wrote to a local paper suggesting that a Devizes hill figure should be cut on Roundway Down to celebrate the millennium.
Chris Combe, a local tenant farmer, offered land on Roundway Hill for the project, and the owners, the Crown Estates Commissioners, gave their approval for the land to be used. It was decided that a reversal of the design drawn up in 1954 for re-creating the old Devizes horse should be used, and thus the new horse faces right. Work began on the site in August 1999, ultimately involving some two hundred local people with the assistance of heavy machinery supplied by Pearce Civil Engineering. By the end of September Devizes had a new white horse.
The horse can be seen well, though somewhat foreshortened, from Hopton Industrial Estate and from near Roundway village. To visit the site of the horse, take the A361 out of Devizes towards Swindon. Just before the first big roundabout, take the left turn signposted Roundway and Garden Industrial Estate, then follow the narrow lane to Roundway village. In the village, take the right fork by the phone box. Beyond the village take the right fork on the hill. At the top of the hill, there is a stile on the right which gives access to the site. A few yards further on there is a parking area on the left.
By early September 2008 the horse had become barely visible. The Devizes Millennium White Horse Committee were seeking funding to restore it, but the Probation Service - Community Service Group then took on the project of thoroughly cleaning the horse. They have been carrying out this work regularly, which means that the horse maintains a good, clean appearance.
With the dissolution of Kennet District Council, the Committee were given a grant to cover installing a mobility gate into the field and edging around the horse, so that the outline is not lost over the years.
On 10th October 2009, 250 people went up to the White Horse Field to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the construction of the White Horse, an event attended by the Mayor of Devizes, the late John Leighton. People formed a figure '10' on the surface of the Horse, whilst a light aircraft from GS Aviation flew over taking aerial photographs of the event. It was a glorious, sunny day and there was a real party atmosphere throughout.
Nursteed Primary School in Devizes has the Devizes white horse as its logo, and the school now has a scaled-down white horse of its own. The horse, a one-tenth scale replica of the original, measuring around 10 metres by 8, was cut in the school grounds by volunteers from staff, parents and children. It was unveiled by the Mayor of Devizes Kelvin Nash on 10th October 2012 to celebrate the school's tenth birthday.
There is a tradition of lighting the white horses to mark special occasions, and the Devizes horse and the Alton Barnes horse were lit up on the evening of 30th June 2012. You can find more information on this page.
OS 1:50 000 map
This site was last updated on 10 August 2017