Local Landmarks

Cherhill Monument

Update: February 2019

A meeting was held about the repair of the Lansdowne monument on the 22nd January at the Kerry Suite at Bowood.  Attendees included the Director General of the National Trust, the Mayors of Calne, Marlborough and Devizes, Wiltshire Councillor Alan Hill, Debra Bassett – who started a campaign to repair the monument, Council for the Protection of Rural England, David Dillimore – chair of the Great West Way Calne committee and Lord Lansdowne who chaired the meeting.
Some of the many points made by the NT;
1    The monument was not the highest priority
2    The cost to repair properly would be £1.8 to £2.0 million, but could be £1.0 million
3    The repair would not start until the funding was in place
4    The project planning would start in 2022 or 2023 and work start in 2024.
5    NT funding team working on 40 projects at present
6    NT holds small amount of funding itself for emergency use nationally
7    Interim repair is in place
8    Another listed monument, NT found it difficult to raise funding for repair
Some of the many points made during questioning by local representatives
1    Importance of tourism locally – monument 175 years old anniversary in 2020
2    Local offers of fundraising, free stone for repair and free scaffolding
3    Petition for repair signed by 6500 people
4    Iconic building -can be seen from afar
5    Give monument to community charitable organisation – N T – No
6    Difficult to raise funding because of finder’s conditions
7    Donation box and notice saying what is happening to repair monument
8    NT to purchase land to provide car park off A4 to raise funding
9    Can NT survey be viewed with local group – NT yes
10  Cherhill White Horse owned by P C and chalked regularly by locals community.
The above are just a few of the suggestions made, some with anger at the lack of information or action by the N T… 

The monument stands in the south west corner of Oldbury Camp and can be seen for many miles around.  Originally bearing no inscriptions the monument caused some confusion.  Some supposed it to mark the limits of Bowood estate, others to commemorate the birth of King Edward VII.  It was in fact built in 1845 by Lord Lansdowne in memory of his ancestor, Sir William Petty and now bears an inscription to that effect.It is 125ft. high and built of freestone corner-stones filled in with Atworth stones and cost £1,359.  In 1915 it was repaired for the first time.

The Monument is currently awaiting restoration

Cherhill White Horse

The White Horse was carved in 1780 by Dr Christopher Alsop. It obviously took great ingenuity to carry out this task.  It is said that he took up a position 100yds south of Main Road opposite the lower farm and gave instructions to the workers by shouting through a large trumpet.  These two points are at least 1 1/4 miles apart so it is unlikely that voice communications were used, it is more likely that flags were used.  He could have used his trumpet from a point about 1/2 mile west of the horse from where it can be seen almost perfectly. More information here

Oldbury Fort

This is one of the finest earth fortifications in Wiltshire. It was originally a British camp although much strengthened by those who subsequently occupied it. Its situation towards the north east is fortified by deep ravines and very indented ground. The principle entrance is thought to have been from the south-east, by an outwork that is still visible. The camp is doubly ditched and contains 25 acres. The circumference of the rampart is 1276 yards or approximately 1167m and the height 50ft or approximately 15m. A bank and ditch intersect the area. The camp appears to have been made use of as a place of residence as well as of defence. The labourers digging for flints within its area threw up numerous fragments of animal bones and rude pottery – the certain marks of habitation.