on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Chalk Hills White Horses


Angus Haywood

Angus Haywood is a photographer originally from Dorset, currently living near the water of Chichester Harbour. He was airline pilot in the UK, and most recently finished eight years living in Saudi Arabia and the Middle-East. Currently he is following his interest since the 1980’s in landscape photography on black and white film, and open to other projects. ‘Chalk Hills White Horses’ and images available on the website or from independent bookshops and museums in southern Britain. Facebook


A surprise to find the words when photographing the White Horses and Hill figures in Southern England. Leucipotomy, noun, the art of carving white horses on chalk upland areas, from the Greek, Leuci- white, hippo- horse, tomy- the cutting or excising of. And Gigantotomy, noun, the carving of large hill figures. But the craft in Britain is far more ancient than the Greek culture that gave these words.

Alton Priors stone sculpture, Wiltshire

The White Horses and Hill figures are never quite on their own. Whatever the season, someone in our landscape will be aware of one in the corner of their eye, perhaps in the far distance through a cottage window, above or below them when walking uplands or downlands, or looming over them from the other side of their valley.

Climbing up and leaning into their sharp slopes each week, their orientation showed they were clearly chosen for their drama, the focus in the bowl of a hill range, the steepest convex curve of the hillside, or on a crown facing skywards across open Downs.
Like many, they first came into my conscious when young, in Dorset, intermittently glimpsing The Cerne Giant or The Fovant Badges framed through the glass of the family car as we skimmed past flickering hedgerows and trees, or suddenly ahead, after the curve in the road in stark view. 

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