THE first crop circles of the year in Wiltshire have appeared at Old Sarum and Stonehenge.
The one at Old Sarum was discovered in a field that is part of Little Durnford Farm last Tuesday.
Estate manager Philip Simmonds said it had been created overnight, but people living in former farmworkers’ cottages nearby did not see or hear anything unusual.
Since then enthusiasts from across Europe have been travelling to Salisbury to see the intricate design, photographed by Old Sarum flying instructor Mark McClelland.
“People have come from Holland, and this morning two ladies arrived from Austria,” Mr Simmonds said on Saturday. “On Thursday evening we had a Dutch film crew, and we’ve had an approach from a Californian film crew to film here next week. It’s all over the internet.”
The circle is in a 110-acre field of oil seed rape, owned by Lord and Lady Chichester.
“I’ve not seen one in a rape field before,” said Mr Simmonds, “although we did have a simple circle in the adjoining field, in a crop of barley, about five years ago.”
Unfortunately for Mr Simmonds the circle has caused £1,000 worth of damage to his crop, so to recoup his loss he is charging visitors to view it close up.
Excitement grew with the discovery of the second circle – or rather three swirling interlinked circles – across the A303 from Stonehenge at 9am on Monday.
Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group sent up photographer Olivier Morel to take aerial pictures of the design, estimated at 350ft long.
According to the group’s website www.wccsg.com, another circle appeared in the same field in 1996.
Salisbury crop circle researcher and lecturer John Bannister, who has been fascinated by the phenomenon ever since seeing his first circle in a 1950s newspaper article, said: “The geometry of these things is inch-perfect. And no two are ever the same. We send soil samples from the circles away for analysis and they show significant changes.
“We usually get between 60 and 70 in Wiltshire each year because we have got so many ancient sites and ley lines.”