- This is the Uffington White Horse
and it is somewhere around 3,000 years old.
It was carved into this hill in Oxfordshire
before the British isles had written history,
so we have no idea who made it, or why.
And until humanity invented aircraft millennia later,
no one could even really see it properly.
The view from the ground here isn't great.
We're also not allowed to fly a drone over it,
so you're going to have to make do with a satellite photo
to see the whole thing.
This is a 3,000 year old piece of art.
And I am now going to smash part of it with this hammer.
- We're smashing the chalk into the figure of the Horse today
to preserve its appearance and keep its longevity
as people have done for the last 3,000 years,
otherwise it wouldn't be here.
We're taking new chalk from the quarry just behind me,
about 50 metres away, 10 tonnes in all.
And yes, that's being applied to the Horse by the use of a club hammer.
Before that though, the Horse is weeded,
or "scoured" for the old traditional term,
so we can get on to the best surface.
We rechalk and scour the Horse every year now.
They're all volunteers. Previous years have been years of neglect,
maybe 20, 25 years, but traditionally,
back in Victorian times every seven years.
But we're proud of the Horse here,
and we want to keep it looking its best as long as we can.
Oxford University, back in the 1990s,
came out with a newly developed sensor back then,
which was able to determine the last time sunlight
touched the bottom of the trenches on which the Horse is founded.
And that put it to what we know today, 3,000 years ago.
This is by far the oldest chalk figure in the country,
nothing else comes anywhere near it.
We don't know for sure about how the Horse was put in,
or for what reason.
We imagine that there might have been a wooden tower
constructed from which the seer would be able to direct
"left, right, missed a bit," that kind of thing.
Part of the mystery or the enigma of the White Horse Hill
is what makes it so appealing to people that come.
You can use your own imagination.
What would happen if we didn't chalk the Horse?
I think it would grow over within 20 or 30 years.
That's what we say to the people who've been kind enough
to come along today and help us;
is they're actually contributing to living history here.
Without that human intervention, it would grass over
25, 30 years, and be lost forever.
- This is art that's been preserved
by generation after generation after generation after generation.
Repair and upkeep that's been going on for millennia.
Through the Roman empire, the medieval period,
a lot of invasions, the English Civil War,
the formation of the United Kingdom;
all the way up to the Information Age.
Every so often, groups of people have come together on this hill, to preserve this.
It is a very real connection with the folks who came before us.
Smashed it! ...nothing, just nothing.