A new Crop Circle in Dorset has appeared at the top of Okeford Hill near Sturminster Newton. Often suggested to be a paranormal phenomena, it’s widely known they are man-made constructions, created using ropes and boards.
No matter what your belief on their origin, they’re often a fascinating thing to see: the new one on Okeford Hill will continue to draw an increasing amount of visitors until the field is cut. But what impact does this have for the farmer whose land and crop has been used?
We spoke to Dorset NFU who have been in contact with the farmer who owns the land and the crop on Okeford Hill:
“Annoyance at the flattening of some of this crop, making it hard to harvest, and quite possibly wasting £600 worth of wheat, is tempered by some respect for the perpetrators who have made an admittedly pretty good job of this attractive geometric pattern.
Local Dorset commercial drone photographer ‘Droning On’ was happy to catch the crop circle at just the right moment “After a thunderstorm the sun and heat returned, mist rose and golden hour made for some stunning views over Dorset. Whatever your views of such formations, I have to say this was an impeccably chosen location, and this is a well-executed crop circle.”
There are no public footpaths through the field in question, and the circle is invisible from the popular walking routes across the local viewpoint. Though local drone photographers have taken to the adjoining footpaths and made the most of the circle from the air, the Dorset NFU spokesperson points out visiting the crop circle is inevitably pointless:
“Not only is there no legal public access across the field in question, the only way worth seeing it is from the air; it is not visible from anywhere on the ground, and of course being close up gives you no clue of the design.”
They also point out the potential for further negative effects from visitors on foot:
“The damage from the circle is one thing in itself. But more damage can be done by crowds of spectators at ground level. Please spare a thought for the farmer’s field, biosecurity, safety to wildlife, and farm staff as they have to clear up the flattened crop and prepare the ground for the next crop. Although elsewhere there have been attempts to set up ‘honesty’ schemes to compensate farmers for their losses by what amounts to trespass and criminal damage, these have largely not been successful.
“The Crop Circle in Dorset was created while the crop was still green, when it should have been filling the grains by photosynthesis, which should have continued over the following weeks. Once flattened this will have ceased, and valuable yield lost. A crop like this costs a lot to grow; that cost is lost, as well as the return from the grain that will be left shrivelled on the ground, which may cause a nuisance by germinating in the next crop. Birds will land on the flattened wheat to feed on the ears, and where birds go, so do their droppings, not a good mix with a food product.