Wiltshire crop circle numbers 'almost halve' in a year

A crop circle in Alton Barnes, Wiltshire, reported in July 2013 A crowd-funding scheme is attempting to raise money to compensate farmers

Related Stories

Crop circle appearances in Wiltshire have dropped by almost half in a year, according to researchers.

The county's Crop Circle Information and Coordination Centre (CICC) said they had only seen 25 so far this year - 15 fewer than usual for the period.

A decline in the man-made act and a late harvest have both been blamed.

Charles Mallet, from the centre, said he wished amateur crop circlers would quit because they were "clouding a genuine and real phenomenon".

'Extremely angry'

He said: "The whole situation has become massively polluted over the last 10 years or so, to the degree where the real issue is clouded by huge amounts of organised crime and vandalism.

"These people are effectively creeping onto private land and vandalising it. Farmers are extremely angry about this."

A crop circle near Stonehenge. Wiltshire, recorded in August 2013 An Avebury farmer said hundreds of pounds of damage was being done to his land every year

In a bid to appease landowners, the centre has backed a crowd-funding campaign to sell "access passes" with money raised going towards compensating affected farmers.

So far it has raised about £1,900 towards a targeted £35,600.

Derren Heath, landlord of the Barge Inn near Pewsey, said local businesses depended on tourists coming to see the crop circles.

He added that tourists would spend time in the area to also visit the stone circles in Stonehenge and Avebury as well as West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill.

"We have had visitors from Norway, France, Spain in the last year - from everywhere in the world they come here," he said.

"They are going to stay here for a week and take in absolutely everything, so it brings a massive amount of money into the area."

'Nobody asks'

But man-made crop circles are often unpopular among the landowners who have their crops targeted.

Ben Butler, a farmer from Avebury, said hundreds of pounds of damage was being done to his land every year.

"Farming over the last 12 months has been very hard due to the weather, so the crops were not established well last autumn, and now we've got criminal damage in the field," he said.

"Probably over the last 20 years we would see at least two formations on our farm every year.

"What that brings is the issue of people entering your field - nobody asks, they just come as they like.

"I wouldn't walk into someone's garden without asking so why should they be allowed to walk in the field without asking."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Wiltshire



10 °C 6 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.