2023 Circles: Cakebole Lane Groundshots
Photograph by Crop Circle Explorer
Date Reported: 16 July 2023
Location: Cakebole Lane, Rushock, nr Droitwich, Worcestershire
Nobody can expect to ever again experience the craziness of the 1990 crop circle season. It stands out as the pinnacle of interest in the phenomenon. The peak was the appearance of the now legendary East Field pictogram in July. How I wanted to go, but never had the courage to ask my parents to drive me the hour and a half to visit. Instead, I watched on the television news as visitors parked up on the road above Alton Barnes to gawp, whilst others paid farmer Tim Carson £1 per head to step inside. It was an event that will never be replicated and no museum can preserve a crop circle. All formations are transient. They change from day to day and minute to minute. When they’re gone they’re just celluloid memories.
Music legends Led Zeppelin tapped into the national love of crop circles when they released their Remasters album. The East Field pictogram, shrouded by the shadow of an airship, adorned the cover. I bought it on cassette for that reason alone … I wanted to understand what type of band would use a crop circle as their cover art.
The circle and now the Remasters album are now both gone. Digitally, the latter has given way to other compilations on streaming platforms such as Spotify. We are left with the folk memory of a crop circle that has become forever associated with popular musical culture. We even have modern croppies who view every pictogram as a ‘copy of the Led Zeppelin crop circle’, as if it was the East Field event that began the entire pictogram genre. Rather, the East Field circle and its lesser known twin at Stanton St Bernard were unprecedented in their size.
The 2023 incarnation of the design is perhaps destined to be like the Stanton St Bernard event, away from the public eye and visited by a massively smaller audience due to its location. The Worcestershire village of Rushock is not far from southern Birmingham, well away from the crop circle heartlands. Its assocation with this green, small, well-maintained and exclusive location is the church on the hillside above the formation. In the graveyard Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham is buried.
Inside the crop circle is a wyrd scene. The dimensions of the circle are similar to its ancestors but the field is flat and the crop is in poor condition, scraggly and partially-lodged. The dead remains of a tree punctuate the canvas in a witchy, somewhat foreboding manner. Next door, in the field directly under the church, the crop is vastly superior. It is as if the circle makers chose the darker option. Perhaps they knew that their work will surely never be even one hundredth as popular with croppies as the East Field circle circle. Even the German visitors I encounter are off-the-wall hippies. I also run into photographer Josh Drury and we chat. But we all came alone and will leave the same way.
I return when darkness has fallen and the location is even odder. The sky never seems to become fully dark. The artificial lights from Kidderminster, Bromsgrove and the Birmingham conurbation beyond ensure the horizon is a polluted off-white. Shadows dance and lights from nearby residential properties flash through swaying branches. This is a place of ghosts and a misremembered past. It most certainly isn’t crop circle country, but it is an ideal location to explore the apparition of the most famous crop circle of all time in near isolation.