Description: This horse is a little under a mile north of the village of Alton Barnes, on a moderate slope on Milk Hill on the ridge that extends to Walker's Hill, to the east of the Alton Barnes to Lockeridge road.
The originator was a Mr Robert Pile, of Manor Farm, Alton Barnes. He may have been the same man who was responsible for the first Pewsey horse, or possibly his son. In 1812 Mr Pile paid twenty pounds to a John Thorne, also known as Jack the Painter, to design the white horse and have the work of cutting it carried out. Thorne designed the horse, then sub-contracted the excavation work to a John Harvey of Stanton St Bernard. Before the work was finished Thorne took off with the money, and Mr Pile was left to pay out again. Thorne was eventually hanged, but what crime that was for is not recorded.
The horse seems to have been well looked after over the years, with fairly regular scouring. On one occasion, however, in 1866, the scourers dug a new chalk pit just above the horse, which created a white patch that spoiled the appearance for some time. The most recent cleaning of the horse took place on March 23rd 2002, organised by the Wiltshire Crop Circles Study Group. No new chalk was added, but weeds, grass and soil were removed from the surface, and the edges were redefined where necessary.
The Alton Barnes white horse looks out over Pewsey Vale towards the new Pewsey horse, and can be seen for many miles. Perhaps the best views, though, are from Alton Barnes itself, and from the road from Alton Barnes to Lockeridge. The horse can be reached by footpaths from the Lockeridge road.