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Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
20,000 restoration for chalk horse
The Cherhill White Horse in Wiltshire
Natural erosion has discoloured the landmark
An ancient white horse cut into a Wiltshire hillside is undergoing a major facelift after losing both its 'whiteness' and its horse shape.

Up to 200 tonnes of chalk will be used to restore the 18th century landmark, cut into the Marlborough Downs, to its former splendour.

Natural erosion from the weather has meant the 222-year-old Cherhill White Horse has become discoloured and shrunken.

The National Trust is to help the locals in the village of Cherhill, who own the 1780 monument, in the 20,000 reconstruction, which is due to start this week.


This work should restore the horse to something we can be proud of.

Councillor David Grafton

Trust staff have marked a more equine shape, using state-of-the-art technology.

White Horse Restoration Group chairman Rob Pickford said: "We found old paintings of the horse - there have been various different versions.

"We put them on to a computer and compared them to digital photographs of how it looks now."

Mr Pickford said the belly of the horse had moved a good 10 feet up the hill and the legs had become thin-looking.

Large clumps of grass had also given the horse an unwanted mane.

Restoration project

The horse is one of nine such monuments in Wiltshire and is the second-oldest, after the Westbury White Horse.

It was originally given an eye made from upturned green glass bottles, which sparkled in the sunlight, but that was later replaced by a stone and concrete eye.

Cherhill Parish Council chairman, councillor David Grafton said: "This work should restore the horse to something we can be proud of and that can be seen once more from afar."

The restoration project is expected to last around three weeks.


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28 Mar 02 | England
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