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2 June 2013
Scouts restore Long Man of Wilmington

A 235ft (72m) ancient chalk carving thought to be an Iron Age symbol of fertility has been repainted by British Scouts. The Long Man of Wilmington (East Sussex, England) was painted green during the Second World War so German bombers could not use it as a landmark. Now,  as part of a UK-wide project, 40 Scouts have freshen up the man-shaped image cut into the South Downs.
     The origin of England's tallest chalk hill figure - one of the largest in the world - has puzzled historians and archaeologists for generations. It was once thought the man, who holds two 'staves' and appears in proportion from below, was an Anglo Saxon warrior or Roman folly. But more recent research suggests it dates back to the mid-16th century.
     The carving underwent a controversial makeover in 2007 when 100 women gave the Long Man a temporary female form, using their bodies to add pigtails, breasts and hips as part a TV fashion show. Angry druids and pagans protested over the 'disrespectful' TV stunt and the Sussex Archaeological Society apologised for allowing the filming to take place.
     Margaret Paren, chairman of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: "The Long Man of Wilmington is an iconic figure in the South Downs National Park and we're very grateful to our local Scouts for giving up their time to give him a facelift." Tristan Bareham, chief executive officer of Sussex Past, said: "We're delighted to see local Scouts getting involved in our project with the South Downs National Park to maintain and preserve the Long Man."

Edited from The Argus (30 May 2013), BBC News (1 June 2013)

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