Come talk to the pub's regulars and find out everything you ever wanted to know about Crop Circles.
Every year new people 'discover' the world of crop circles and many are captivated by the mystery that surrounds their creation. After a little research it soon becomes obvious that the county of Wiltshire in the UK is the world epicentre for the appearance of these wonderful formations. Some folk are so intrigued by the mystery that surrounds them they feel compelled to travel, often thousands of miles, to experience crop circles for themselves. Inevitable after a little further research crop circle newcomers discover the Barge Inn at Honeystreet, the most famous pub in the Universe and the 'world headquarters' for all those interested in the subject of crop circles. This is a place, at the edge of reality, where every summer, researchers, academics, scientists, investigators, photographers, land artists et all gather to enjoy a pint of the pubs Croppie ale and share tales of their seasons adventures.
In 2015 we celebrate twenty five years of the crop circle phenomenon at the Barge Inn, dating back to the days of the famous East Field pictogram in 1990.
To mark this milestone we have installed an impressive new sculpture hewn from steel and oak. Standing eleven feet high it depicts the 409 circles of the Galaxy formation, without doubt the pinnacle of the circle makers art.
This annual pilgrimage has been occurring for over twenty years with many using the campsite behind the pub as their summer base. Inevitably this is the place to pick up all the crop circle gossip and usually the first to hear of the whereabouts of any new formation. The position of the seasons circles are plotted on a map on the wall of the pubs crop circle room. This room is a crop circle shrine and its ceiling is painted with a magnificent mural, created by the artist Vince Palmer, the pubs very own Michael Angelo. Described by The Daily Telegraph as “The Sistine Chapel of Wiltshire” it depicts the ancient monuments of Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury Hill along with famous crop circle formations that have appeared close by. Often new crop circle formations appear within walking distance of the pub and campsite and there is a buzz of excitement at the prospect of being amongst the first people to enter a new formation. No matter what your own research at the Barge Inn tells you about the origin of crop circles, the one thing that many agree on is the peace, tranquility and special energy that resonates from a newly formed circle.
In the field is also a great place to network with other 'students of cerealogy' and share information and experiences. Occasionally the farmer who owns the land where the crop circle has appeared gets a little, shall we say, uptight, and is determined to spoil the formation by cutting the crop out. This of course can add to the overall drama of the crop circle experience , its not everyday you lay meditating in a tranquil corner of a foreign land as a twenty ton tractor bears down on you. But fear not, many farmers are equally spell bound by the subject and content that out of thirty seven billion available acres on the planet, their patch was chosen to host the intergalactic 'artwork'. Just imagine for a moment the sense of awe experienced by farmers, when they realise they are the 'chosen one' and someone or something has traveled maybe two million light years just to crush their corn and leave a coded message from outer-space.
Maybe, just maybe, the answer is a little closer to home. Back at the Barge Inn no one is saying, it must be time for another pint. Anyone for a 'Magic Buzz' or are you all on the 'Away with the Fairies'.
Right, we all know crop circles are made by aliens and they travel millions of light years just to leave secret messages disguised as intricate patterns left overnight in Wiltshire's wheat fields. Wrong! Believe it or not, some crop circle formations are in fact made by humans. There I have said it, got that of my chest. Oh don't spoil the fun I hear you say, that's like telling small kids there's no Father Christmas. Now before you leave this page in disgust, I did in fact say “some crop circles are made by humans”, not all crop circles are made by humans. Now depending where you sit on the fence on this one, defines many peoples experiences and thoughts on the subject of 'Cerealogy'. In the early days, before the infamous revelations by 'Doug and Dave', many thought crop circles were all made by, lets say 'non humans' beings, aliens, little green men, microwaves and any other supernatural means you could think of . As time went by even top level crop circle researchers like Colin Andrews began to have doubts and he stunned the crop circle world by famously declaring that 80% of all formations were in fact man made. Colin is acknowledged as a world authority on the subject and even invented the name 'crop circle' in 1989, the same year he published his subject defining book ' Circular Evidence' , co-written by fellow researcher Pat Delgado. In 1993 Colin set up a crop circle research 'forward base' at the Barge Inn, siting an old caravan in the field behind the pub. The caravan was also used by the American academic Dr Collette Dowell, who claimed to have been abducted by aliens from the caravan on no less than two occasions. To commemorate this impressive feat of transponding and to honour Colette's achievements. Honeystreet Ales named its green beer 'Alien Abduction', it is to be found on the pumps at the bar during April and May, the peak abduction season.
So putting aside for one moment circles made by 'forces unknown' and concentrating instead on man made circles. Again depending on your position on this, that may be anything from zero to 100% of crop circles. You may well be wondering how on earth is it possible for humans, lets call them rural grafitti artists, to create such massive intricate and complex patterns in the dark, in just a few hours, with no one ever seeing them. That , as we say, is the sixty four thousand dollar question, unless of course you are privy to top secret information only known to a handful of people in the whole of Wiltshire. And this is where you are going to be rewarded for visiting the Barge Inn crop circle web page, because we are going to share it with you, but only if you promise not to tell another soul.
The secret of man made circles lies in just one thing, a top quality stomper board ( Okay, there is one other thing - refreshment in the form of Croppie ale, exclusively available from the Barge Inn). If you haven't heard the word 'stomper' before it relates to the action of crushing down the crop by foot using a plank type devise attached to a hoop of rope, held in both hands. Obviously just like any other professional, leading land artists use only the best equipment and its really important to have a top notch stomper board. Boards are manufactured in a variety of styles and types depending on the competency level of the land artist, ranging from beginner to expert.
Many top crop circle artists custom make their own boards or adapt one of the leading brands to suit their own particular style. If you haven't made a crop circle before, a good starter board would be one like the Barley Bender Nitro available from StomperBoards.com. It is reasonable priced, has a decent flattening rate and is supplied in a very nice lightweight hemp carrying bag. For intermediates a good choice would be The Wheat Wizard from Devizes Surf & Crop. This board has the advantage of a flexible leading edge and is particularly good for making crop circles in early season wheat. If you are an expert rural graffiti artist you wont need me to tell you there is only one board worth considering. Winner of numerous design awards and voted 'Board of the Year' for the third year running by Crop Circle Magazine, its the 'Crop Crusher Pro 5000'. This board has legendary flattening capability combining superior power-flex and market leading node height adjustability. It also has a magnitude of attachments including a laser sight and built in GPS.
With the ever greater complexity of crop circle design, advances in stomper board technology is never far behind. In 2009 Devizes Surf and Crop introduced the UK's first carbon fibre model and a year later NASA scientists made an extremely complex crop circle formation using a stomper board made of Titanium Alloy 363 combined with a bolt on satellite mapping software package.
Warning: If you are new to crop circle making always seek permission of the farmer before you go out and crush his crop. Some farmers are happy to put out a collection box and receive donations from those visiting the artwork, to help compensate for the loss of grain. Other farmers would prefer you kept off their land altogether and practiced your crop circle making elsewhere. And to think, you just traveled two million light years and get a greeting like that, charming!
Honeystreet Ales Croppie - Only available at The Barge