An exploration by young people of the iconic white horses and chalk hill figures across Wiltshire is being boosted by a £30,100 grant from the Hertitage Lottery Fund.
The money had been awarded to Wiltshire Council for its exciting Virtual Landscapes project, due to take place in four locations – Pewsey, Ludgershall, Westbury and Tidworth.
The project, being carried out by young people aged from 11 to 25, will focus on the heritage of the white horse figures, providing an opportunity to explore their identity and significance through creative media activities, storytelling and reworking old media and archives.
The aim is to bring new life to the figures from the landscape that surrounds them, Wiltshire’s chalk hills being unique in the UK as the home of eight white horses dating from ancient to modern day.
The project looks at why they are important to young people in Wiltshire and their significance for the transitory military communities.
“It’s brilliant we have received this lottery funding to help young people from the county learn all about the heritage, history and significance of these recognisable landmarks,” Stuart Wheeler, the council’s Cabinet member for culture, told Marlborough News Online.
And commenting on the grant award, Richard Bellamy, HLF’s acting head of south west, said: “Although chalk figures are found in other parts of the country, they are a characteristic feature of Wiltshire’s rural landscape.”
“The fact that so many have survived in the county and that in some instances new figures have been created, is a tribute to the motivation of local people in caring for them. We are delighted to support this project, which will stimulate the interest of a new generation in the figures, ensuring their survival into the future.”
The project will enable young people from the four areas to discover the origins of them by working with heritage professionals, visiting the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, in Chippenham, and the chalk hill figures. Professional artists will work with the young people to help them create their own interpretations using a range of creative media technologies and to share them with friends and relatives online.
Virtual Landscapes will also offer young people involved the chance to achieve an Arts Award, a nationally recognised qualification by taking part and sharing their experiences with others.