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From white horse.. ..to the grey mare.

Byline: RICHARD SMITH

A BUNGLED facelift has left the world-famous Westbury White Horse looking distinctly old and grey.

Experts from English Heritage decided to give the giant-sized chalk horse a concrete overcoat to preserve it from the elements.

But it has transformed the stunning white charger into a grey mare.

Locals are seething over the discolouring of the legendary carving, cut into the hillside above Bratton and the oldest of seven white horses in Wiltshire.

Councillor Christopher Newbury said yesterday: "It looks dirty. I predicted it was a mistake putting concrete on when it was done. All the other horses are chalk and they are kept white by adding extra chalk when necessary."

A spokesman for English Heritage said: "Local people are very unhappy about it and we share their concerns.

"Technical investigations are under way to establish the cause and nature of the discolour and we are committed to finding a solution."

The horse is reputed to commemorate King Alfred's victory over the Danes at Ethandune in 878. But experts believe the horse dates from around 1700 when it was commissioned by landowner Lord Abingdon.

CAPTION(S):

ALBINO: Westbury White Horse carving lived up to its name for centuries; CONCRETE MIX-UP: Now landmark's a blotchy grey Picture: GEORGE PHILLIPS
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2001
Words:210
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