Separating the wheat from the chaff...
Number of formations: UK: 77 Worldwide: 152
Above: This formation appeared at Silbury Hill in Wiltshire on the 3rd August. It has a definite Aztec feel to it and relates back to a similar formation at Wakerley Woods in Northamptonshire which appeared in 2001 and resembled an Aztec Sun Stone.
Above: This grid formation appeared at Aldbourne, Wiltshire at the beginning of August. It's approx 200ft across.
Above: Another optical labyrinth formation, this time at West Kennet, Wiltshire. It was discovered on 29th July and has a distinctly celtic flavour.
Above: This optical labyrinth formation appeared next to Savernake Forest in Wiltshire on the 28th July and has been variously described as "awesome" , "stunning", "sensational" and "best of the year so far" - and we have to agree! It consists of 180 seperate standing and flattened elements and is approx 200ft across. Formations of this type started appearing back in 2000.
Above: This formation appeared on Golden Ball Hill in Wiltshire on 26th July and spawned a hilarious apocryphal tale about an army of darkness creating the formation. The report talked of ten "shady characters... wearing black" being seen leaving the formation... that's ridiculous, and sounds like something
someone who had no understanding of the logistics of circlemaking
might say if they were constructing a story. One has to wonder about this "researcher's" motive for telling the apocryphal tale?
Above: The end of July saw a spike in the number of formations appearing out in the fields, the increase in numbers coincided with an increse in scale. As the 2004 season speeds towards it's end we are seeing some real jaw droppers appearing. The above formation appeared at Etchilhampton on July 25th.
Above: One of the prime locations for circles in Wiltshire is around Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long barrow. This formation is placed in very close proximity to the barrow, allowing easy access for curious circle seekers. It was discovered on the 13th July and consists of a sun and crescent moon motif.
Above: Sussex has seen a steady increase in the complexity and competence of the circles that appear in it's cereal crops over the past few years. This well executed spinner formation was found at Steyning close to Sompting on the 11th July. It span's approx 300ft.
Above: This formation appeared in Warwickshire, outside the usual stomping ground of the circlemakers. It was discovered on 4th July and relates to the optical formations that first started to appear in the fields of Wiltshire back in 2000.
Above: Researchers are referring to this exquisetly crafted formation which appeared in a wheat field beneath Milk Hill, Wiltshire on the 26th of June as variously an insect - possibly a bee - an angel or if they don't want to pin down it's exact symbology "a complex arrangement of circles, arcs and crescents".
Above: Set in a natural amphiteheater East Field is one of the more spectacular crop circle locations in Wiltshire. This formation discovered on 20th June and located in East Field, Alton barnes is a throwback to the type of formations that made headlines around the world in the early 1990's. Most famously of all was the picogram that ended up on the cover of Led Zeppelin's album. According to an article in the Western Daily Press the 2004 East Field crop circle "is uncannily similar to plans for one of Nikola Tesla's early pieces of equipment".
Above: This impressive six-fold formation is a close cousin to the monster 700ft formation that appeared at Stone Henge back in 2002. Located near the famed Barge Inn at Honey Street and discovered on the 16th June in wheat.
Above: Now we're talking, if it makes people well-up you know you've hit the spot: "When I saw the photos, tears came to my eyes and I felt joy and relief in my chest." said one over excitable croppie on the cropcircleresearch.com website. This double spiral formation appeared on the 10th June at Portsdown Hill in Hampshire in quick recovering immature wheat.
Above: This impressive formation appeared in barley on the 30th May at West Kennett in Wiltshire. It's three fold geometry and spirals resembles a celtic symbol known as the Triskell.
Above: This complex oil seed rape formation which appeared near Patcham in East Sussex on 9th May made the crop circle research community sit up from their armchairs. It covers 260ft and the two interlocking compound curve crescents resemble a Möbius Strip.
Above: The first significant formation of the 2004 season appeared on 3rd May in oil seed rape near Pegsdon in Bedfordshire. The sprawling design consisting of spirals and arcs is reminiscent of a sigil and covers an impressive 300ft.
Photos: Steve Alexander, David Russell, CCC, Nick Nicholson.