I received details of the Blandford Forum formation (nb, not Badbury RIngs) from David Kingston on 20th July 2000. From Bournemouth you must take the A350 to Blandford Forum and the B3082 off the bypass to Black Lane at the Tesco Petrol Station roundabout. You can access the formation from a derelict portion of the barbed wire fencing near the Bypass layby, and I would suggest this in preference to entering the field via Black Lane. Make your way uphill on the side of the field until you can enter the tramlines that run parallel to the overhead telephone cables. Following these tramlines will lead you directly into the formation.
The formation is somewhat reminiscent of the 1992 Olivers Castle formation (hyperlink?) that CSETI (Center for the Study of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) adopted for their logo. This one however has the three circles linked by arched and tapered corridors as opposed to straight and uniform ones. The farmer was interviewed by another local researcher and claimed that when he inspected the field on Tuesday morning, there were no markings yet by the evening the formation was there.
I had heard that the formation was a couple of days old but on entering I could see the premature barley had not recovered particularly far as the slope is North-facing and consequently the lay was a joy to survey.
The topmost circle is 8.88m in diameter and lies directly under the aforementioned telephone cables with a sectioned clockwise swirl. The centre of the swirl has the first swatches of crop reaching outwards to the 9 o'clock position and then continuing round. There were a number of flimsy, green, thin-stemmed weeds that remained completely unaffected by the circlemaking force. In the 6 O'clock position, the first corridor arched away from the circle to the bottom circle (North), the distance between the two circles' centres being 26.51ms but remember this measurement is 'as the crow flies', and does not follow the curve of the corridor.
Leaving the topmost (South) circle, you walk down the tapered corridor to the North-East. The lay on the left, by the demarcation line of the standing crop was strange in that near the top, the lay points in the direction of the corridor, but as you walk further it gradually changes so that at the thinner end, the lay is now perpendicular to the direction it started out. This is only a thin ribbon of crop, and the rest of the corridor crop comes in from the left and right creating a shallow brook effect. Also on the right, at about 1/2 way down, outside the formation, there is a small triangular-swirled grapeshot, no more that 60cms in diameter. It is separated from the corridor by a veil of about 3 stems' thickness. Further up on the same side, the crop seems to have bowed out more than the design requires and this could be evident of so-called gap-seeking.
The 2nd circle (11.23ms) similarly displays a sectioned clockwise swirled floor pattern with a relatively large amount of standing stems. Just in front of these standing stems were scattered a lot of wood pigeon feathers. They were curiously stuck together with loose 'blades' of barley 'whiskers' but there was no blood or a carcass and I recorded this as probably a natural death (as opposed to a 'supernatural' one :o); Lucy Pringle's recent book deals with animals found in crop circles in one chapter and I agree that the less dramatic reason is probably the most plausible; feathers and suchlike are more likely a result of predation after the formations' manufacture. An injured (and unlucky) animal however would be a lot more likely to be incorporated in the circlemakers' design, and this has been seen with porcupines in the States! Again the lay was impressive and had a 3D element to it; not in the way the Basket Weave of 99 and the various fabric formations of this year have, but in that the downed crop seemed to zig-zag up and down as opposed to being horizontal along the ground. There were no seeds on the ground under the lay and the whole formation had a springy-ness to it. Although it could be clearly seen from the bypass, interest in Dorset crop circles is not as great as that in Wilts and so does not attract as much visitor damage. For this I was grateful; despite years of visiting formations, I have never been able to witness such a pristine crop circle full of so many features.
The main feature that impressed me was the bottom corridor arch linking circle 2 to circle 3. It contained 2 standing swirls much like the 'corn dollies' of the 9th August 1998 Tawsmead Copse formation. About 1/4 way down the corridor, placed centrally, was a twist of corn (again in the triangular swirl format) and again 3/4 way down was another. What made this special was that the general lay that spread down the corridors spiralled around these 2 'corn dollies' in a figure of 8. I've never seen anything like it in the fields. After the figure of 8 it regained its flow and carried on to the tapered point where it joined the ANTIclockwise lay of the last circle (3). This circle appeared to be reather featureless save its direction and the odd standing stalks. The centre did, however, have the triangular central swirl that was now becoming very familiar and typical of this formation. From the 1 o 'clock to 5 o'clock positions, the fallen crop was almost rested against the standing crop very delicately. This is something that I have seen a lot of comments on this year and a number of people I've spoken to in Wilts are referring to formations having been "kissed down".
The last corridor that leads from circle 3 back to 1 again was similarly featureless; just a nice lay of barley going uphill to the main circle.
I have taken a large amount of photos and as there are few people actively involved in the Dorset Crop Circles, I have decided to concentrate my efforts in this County in the hope that more formations are uncovered. My organisation The Corn Exchange (www.thecornexchange.org.uk) will feature a full report and photos in due course and in the meantime, a dedicated lo-cost hotline has been set up to report any formations 08700 772 773. Next year we hope to have procured a micro-light craft so that more aerial shots can be obtained.
© C Bean 2000