2023 Circles: Broad Hinton Groundshots

May 31, 2023 | 2023 Season | 2 comments


Date Reported: 28 May 2023
Location: Broad Hinton, near Wroughton, Swindon, Wiltshire

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Sometimes crop circles can get a bit much. You can feel jaded by all of the online mudslinging, rivalries and silliness that emanate from various corners of the internet. So many people with so many views on how things should be. So many people certain that their outlook is the right one and the only one that matters. So many people who think they have the unreserved right to talk smack to you and then play the victim when they get a taste of their own medicine. So many people jumping to erroneous conclusions. So many people running down others because they happen to see the world in a different way. So much competition fought by individuals without any realistic objective or endgame. People being idiots for the sake of their own ego. 

With this in mind I wasn’t particularly eager to get to Broad Hinton to visit the first crop circle of the 2023 season. Normally, when opportunity allows, I’ll race to a crop circle that isn’t too far away, but this was the most unenthusiastic I’ve felt for a new season in a very long time. The aerial photographs of the crop circle weren’t the most enticing. Its design seemed familiar, a callback to something from within the last decade. It also didn’t seem as precise as it should have been. A sign of things to come, or simply the first shoots of a season that will bloom?

Visiting the first circle of the year is always an odd experience. It can be a very lonely affair, particularly if it’s a wet field of oilseed rape in the middle of nowhere. On this occasion, just outside of Swindon on a bank holiday weekend in the evening sunshine, there was to be a steady footfall of visitors. Most parked up close to St Peter Ad Vincula church, walking the short distance to across the grass path past the allotments and straight into the field. Very few crop circles appear so close to a settlement, and it’s something that will always make croppies talk. 

Photograph by Kris Malford.

I was accosted by a group of visitors, two ladies from Swindon with some very quiet companions I later learned were Ukrainians. They asked for my help in locating the circle. Fortunately, from the edge of the field, my height allowed me to direct them down the correct tramline. The two women had become regular croppies in recent years, enjoying the circles for what they are and avoiding the online nonsense which, one admitted, they found as tiring as I do. They explored the formation, took photos and simply soaked up the ambience, talking to others who came and went as the minutes passed by. 

Another visitor was a man called Graham from the neighbouring county of Gloucestershire. I asked him why he’d dropped by. His answer resonates with me as much now as it did at the time: ‘It’s the awe and wonder’. Looking back, this is why I became interested in crop circles to begin with. I recall being a child and seeing the crop circles on the local news programmes shared across the southern counties of Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire. Who couldn’t be fascinated by the weird, mysterious circles and rings being stamped into the cereal fields? As I got older I’d spend my lunchtimes in the school library, reading books and looking for newspaper articles on the circles and the UFOs I believed created them. They were golden times. 

In hindsight, the incessant silliness of crop circle politics has stripped that awe and wonder away from me. At least it had. Sometimes the reality of things needs to hit you in a few short words to get you back on track. And it hit me again, when I was back home and I was sent a link to the film Connor Skerman of Croppie Coffee made to the Broad Hinton crop circle. Inside, he discovered a laminated piece of paper bearing an even shorter message than that shared by Graham, but equally as powerful: forgiveness, hope, new beginnings. 

It really hurts some individuals that such an understated, imperfect crop circle can have such power over people and extract such strong emotions and feelings. They can whine and moan and cast aspersions until the sun goes down, but this simple crop circle has never been part of any competition. Instead, it has been a massive success. No amount of whining, sulking or bed-wetting can change that. The crop circles are much bigger, far more important and meaningful than such people can ever hope to understand.

A simple gift of a pattern pressed into a field can help us see what’s truly important. At this point in time it’s sharing experiences that bring happiness, togetherness, peace and enjoyment into our lives. Let’s hope the rest of the 2023 season is as rewarding. 


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