|Where:||Uffington, Berks at the White Horse hill figure for Scouring - meet at the carpark- and Show at field off Fawler Road|
|When:||August Bank Holiday weekend for Scouring, Bank Holiday Sunday & Monday for Show|
|Time:||Scouring 10am-4pm, Show 10-5|
Uffington White Horse is an ancient and enigmatic chalk hill figure on the downland of Berkshire. Now in the guardianship of the National Trust, it has dominated the landscape for centuries. In earlier times it used to be “Scoured” every seven years amidst great festivities – hill figures need regular maintenance if they’re to stay white and pristine into the future. While the old custom has disappeared over time, a new one has arisen in its place and each Spring and August Bank Holiday weekends volunteers make a contibution to posterity by helping to keep the horse clean and in good order. This involves beating new fresh chalk into the surface and I have it on good authority that this is hard work but worthwhile!
Meanwhile, the fair that used to take place has also evolved. The current White Horse Show has developed from fundraising for the Village Hall and it is a totally separate event but happens to take place at the same time and very nearby to the figure. It’s a traditional country show aimed at all ages and there are many entertainments, crafts and competitons over both days including morris dancing, Punch and Judy and sheep dog trials.
Volunteers for the Scouring should book in advance via the National Trust website but in practice all are welcome even if they turn up unannounced on the day. Scourers work in half-hour slots. This event is subject to weather conditions – in previous years there were 2 weekends for chalking the horse, in May and August, but from 2016 there’s a move to July & August for more clement weather so double check with the NT if you’re planning to go. The Show is definitley going ahead as normal!
In 2017 August Bank Holiday Sunday & Monday fall on 27th & 28th August.
Click here for the National Trust website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/white-horse-hill/
Click here for the Show website: http://www.whitehorseshow.co.uk/
Click here for more on the history of the event: http://traditionalcustomsandceremonies.wordpress.com/?s=scouring
Thanks to Paula Gerrard for drawing my attention to these events and for providing the photos!
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