A historical campaign group has launched a £50,000 bid to have the world famous Uffington White Horse made into a unicorn. The plan by the 'Save the Unicorn at Uffington' has almost 1,000 members and is being lead by Bronze Age enthusiasts. They claim the 3,000-year-old horse made from crushed white chalk in Uffington, Oxfordshire, was originally meant to be a depiction of the mythical horned beast. The amateur historians have now received financial backing from 'well-wishers' including a £50,000 anonymous donation towards adding a 75-foot long horn to the horse.
The Uffington White Horse - which measures 374 feet - or 110 metres - is owned and managed by The National Trust - who have now received a proposal about the horn from the campaigners. Leading the group is children's author Paula Broderick who claims to have uncovered the truth behind the giant carvings identity. Paula, best-known for her children's fantasy series, the Toby and Sox trilogy, lives in Somerset - almost 100 miles from the monument. She said: "The Uffington White Horse has been a great British landmark for centuries, however its true form has always been shrouded in mystery.
"You only have to look at its head to see that it is not, strictly, a horse. We believe that the Uffington carving is actually one of a unicorn, a mythical creature known to have fascinated our ancient cultures and folklore." Situated on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill, in the parish of Uffington, the 374ft-long carving - formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk - has been shown to date back to between 1,400 and 600BC. But its strange design, which varies significantly from other white horses in Britain, has sparked fierce debate among experts - including The National Trust - about whether it was intended to represent a horse or some other animal.
It has been referred to as a 'horse' since the 11th-Century, primarily because ancient scripts from nearby Abingdon Abbey refer to 'mons albi equi' at Uffington - or the White Horse Hill. According to Paula the figure is "most likely" a unicorn - a mythical beast resembling a white horse with a large horn projecting from its forehead. Its original horn, she argues, would have been removed by over-zealous Christian scholars in the 13th or 14th centuries. This isn't the first time that the Uffington Horse has been at the centre of an identity battle. In 2010, retired vet Olaf Swarbrick claimed that anatomically-speaking, the ancient carving was more akin to a dog.