The White Horse of Uffington- IELTS Reading Answers
Limited-Time Offer : Access a FREE 10-Day IELTS Study Plan!
With diligent practice, the IELTS Reading Module can be your highest-scoring section. To achieve the best results, you need to understand how to approach and answer the different question types in the Reading Module.
By solving and reviewing sample reading questions from past IELTS papers, you can ensure that your reading skills are up to par.
The Academic passage, ‘The White Horse of Uffington‘, is a reading passage that appeared in an IELTS Test. Since questions get repeated in the IELTS exam, these passages are ideal for practice. If you want more practice, try taking an IELTS reading practice test.
The complete The White Horse of Uffington is reading passage 1, and is a part of an IELTS Academic reading test. The question types found in this passage are:
Do you want to revise the steps to solve the True/False/Not Given questions for IELTS Academic Reading?
Check out IELTS Reading True/False/Not Given!
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-14, which are based on the Reading Passage below.
The White Horse of Uffington
The cutting of huge figures or ‘geoglyphs’ into the earth of English hillsides has taken place for more than 3,000 years. There are 56 hill figures scattered around England, with the vast majority on the chalk downlands of the country’s southern counties. The figures include giants, horses, crosses and regimental badges. Although the majority of these geoglyphs date within the last 300 years or so, there are one or two that are much older.
The most famous of these figures is perhaps also the most mysterious – the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire. The White Horse has recently been re-dated and shown to be even older than its previously assigned ancient pre-Roman Iron Age* date. More controversial is the date of the enigmatic Long Man of Wilmington in Sussex. While many historians are convinced the figure is prehistoric, others believe that it was the work of an artistic monk from a nearby priory and was created between the 11th and 15th centuries.
The method of cutting these huge figures was simply to remove the overlying grass to reveal the gleaming white chalk below. However, the grass would soon grow over the geoglyph again unless it was regularly cleaned or scoured by a fairly large team of people. One reason that the vast majority of hill figures have disappeared is that when the traditions associated with the figures faded, people no longer bothered or remembered to clear away the grass to expose the chalk outline. Furthermore, over hundreds of years the outlines would sometimes change due to people not always cutting in exactly the same place, thus creating a different shape to the original geoglyph. That fact that any ancient hill figures survive at all in England today is testament to the strength and continuity of local customs and beliefs which, in one case at least, must stretch back over millennia.
The Uffington White Horse is a unique, stylised representation of a horse consisting of a long, sleek back, thin disjointed legs, a streaming tail, and a bird-like beaked head. The elegant creature almost melts into the landscape. The horse is situated 2.5 km from Uffington village on a steep close to the Late Bronze Age* (c. 7th century BCE) hillfort of Uffington Castle and below the Ridgeway, a long-distance Neolithic** track.
The Uffington Horse is also surrounded by Bronze Age burial mounds. It is not far from the Bronze Age cemetery of Lambourn Seven Barrows, which consists of more than 30 well-preserved burial mounds. The carving has been placed in such a way as to make it extremely difficult to see from close quarters, and like many geoglyphs is best appreciated from the air. Nevertheless, there are certain areas of the Vale of the White Horse, the valley containing and named after the enigmatic creature, from which an adequate impression may be gained. Indeed on a clear day the carving can be seen from up to 30 km away.
The earliest evidence of a horse at Uffington is from the 1070s CE when ‘White Horse Hill’ is mentioned in documents from the nearby Abbey of Abingdon, and the first reference to the horse itself is soon after, in 1190 CE. However, the carving is believed to date back much further than that. Due to the similarity of the Uffington White Horse to the stylised depictions of horses on 1st century BCE coins, it had been thought that the creature must also date to that period.
However, in 1995 Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) testing was carried out by the Oxford Archaeological Unit on soil from two of the lower layers of the horse’s body, and from another cut near the base. The result was a date for the horse’s construction somewhere between 1400 and 600 BCE – in other words, it had a Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age origin.
The latter end of this date range would tie the carving of the horse in with occupation of the nearby Uffington hillfort, indicating that it may represent a tribal emblem making the land of the inhabitants of the hillfort. Alternatively, the carving may have been carried out during a Bronze or Iron Age ritual. Some researchers see the horse as representing the Celtic*** horse goddess Epona, who was worshiped as a protector of horses, and for her associations with fertility. However, the cult of Epona was not imported from Gaul (France) until around the first century CE. This date is at least six centuries after the Uffington Horse was probably carved. Nevertheless, the horse had great ritual and economic significance during the Bronze and Iron Ages, as attested by its depictions on jewelry and other metal objects. It is possible that the carving represents a goddess in native mythology, such as Rhiannon, described in later Welsh mythology as a beautiful woman dressed in gold and riding a white horse.
The fact that geoglyphs can disappear easily, along with their associated rituals and meaning, indicates that they were never intended to be anything more than temporary gestures. But this does not lessen their importance. These giant carvings are a fascinating glimpse into the minds of their creators and how they viewed the landscape in which they lived.
*Iron Age: a period (in Britain 800 BCE – 43 CE) that is characterized by the use of iron tools
*Bronze Age: a period (in Britain c. 2,500 BCE – 800 BCE) that is characterized by the development of bronze tools
**Neolithic: a period (in Britain c. 4,000 BCE – c. 2,500 BCE) that is significant for the spread of agricultural practices, and the use of stone tools
***Celtic: an ancient people who migrated from Europe to Britain before the Romans
Book a free trial session with our IELTS experts to learn more tips and techniques of IELTS Reading!
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 1–8 on your answer sheet, write:
True if the statement agrees with the information.
False if the statement contradicts the information.
Not Given if there is no information on this
1 Most geoglyphs in England are located in a particular area of the country.
2 There are more geoglyphs in the shape of a horse than any other creature.
3 A recent dating of the Uffington White Horse indicates that people were mistaken about its age.
4 Historians have agreed about the origins of the Long Man of Wilmington.
5 Geoglyphs were created by people placing white chalk on the hillside.
6 Many geoglyphs in England are no longer visible.
7 The shape of some geoglyphs has been altered over time.
8 The fame of the Uffington White Horse is due to its size.
Questions 9 – 13
- Complete the notes below.
- Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.
- Write your answers in boxes 6-13 on your answer sheet.
The Uffington White Horse
The location of the Uffington White Horse:
a distance of 2.5 km from Uffington village
near an ancient road known as the 9 ……………………
close to an ancient cemetery that has a number of burial mounds
Dating the Uffington White Horse:
first reference to White Horse Hill appears in 10 …………………… from the 1070s
horses shown on coins from the period 100 BCE – 1 BCE are similar in appearance
according to analysis of the surrounding 11 ……………………, the Horse is Late Bronze Age / Early Iron Age
Possible reasons for creation of the Uffington White Horse:
an emblem to indicate land ownership
formed part of an ancient ritual
was a representation of goddess Epona – associated with protection of horses and
was a representation of a Welsh goddess called 13 ……………………
Want to improve your IELTS Academic Reading score?
Reading Answer Explanations:
1 Answer: True
Keyword Location: Paragraph 1
Explanation: In paragraph 1, there’s a statement, “There are 56 hill figures in England, most of which are found in the chalk downlands of the south of the country. Giants, horses, crosses, and regimental insignia are among the figures.” The passage clearly indicates that geoglyphs, also known as hill figures, are numerous, with the majority found in the southern part of the country. This information aligns with the question, making the correct answer “True” based on the given explanation.
2 Answer: Not Given
Explanation:The paragraphs do not contain any pertinent information concerning the question statement, “There are more geoglyphs in the shape of a horse than any other creature.” Hence, the correct answer is “Not Given.”
3 Answer: True
Keyword Location: Paragraph 2
Explanation: These lines in paragraph 2, “Re-dating of The White Horse has recently revealed that it is actually far older than the previously assumed pre-Roman Iron Age* age.” This suggests that people had misconceptions about its age, and through re-dating, accurate information was obtained. Therefore, the correct answer is “True” based on the given explanation.
4 Answer: False
Keyword Location: Paragraph 2
Explanation: The question statement contradicts the information presented in paragraph 2. While the question implies historians’ agreement, paragraph 2 indicates differing viewpoints concerning the origins of the Long Man of Wilmington. Therefore, the correct answer is “False”.
5 Answer: False
Keyword Location: Paragraph 3
Explanation: The question statement contradicts the information presented in paragraph 3. The question says people used white chalk on the hillside to make the geoglyphs, but the actual process was cutting the grass to reveal the sparkling white chalk underneath. So, the correct answer is “False.”
If you want to have a look at the remaining explanations, sign up!
6 Answer: True
Keyword Location: Paragraph 3
Explanation: In paragraph 3, the writer discusses the disappearance of hill figures. The lines explain that as customs changed, people stopped removing the upper layer of grass to reveal the white chalk underneath. This caused the hill figures to vanish. Therefore, based on the explanation provided, the correct answer is “True.”
7 Answer: True
Keyword Location: Paragraph 3
Explanation: In paragraph 3, it is evident that the shapes of geoglyphs changed over time. People neglected to remove the grass layer properly or cut it precisely, resulting in alterations to the geoglyph shapes. Thus, based on the explanation given, the correct answer is “True.”
8 Answer: Not Given
Explanation: The paragraphs do not contain any relevant information regarding the question, “The fame of the Uffington White Horse is due to its size.” Therefore, the answer is “Not given.”
9 Answer: Ridgeway
Keyword Location: Paragraph 4
Explanation: Paragraph 4 provides clear information about the location of the White Horse of Uffington. It is situated approximately 2.5 kilometers from the village of Uffington, along a road known as Ridgeway. Therefore, the correct answer, as explained, is “Ridgeway.”
10 Answer: Documents
Keyword Location: Paragraph 6
Explanation: The first appearance of Uffington’s White Horse hill is clearly mentioned in paragraph 6, where it was found in historical documents. Therefore, based on the provided explanation, the correct answer is “documents.”
11 Answer: Soil
Keyword Location: Paragraph 7
Explanation: As mentioned in paragraph 8, the horse dates back to the late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. This determination was made by testing the surrounding soil conducted by the Archaeological unit. Thus, the correct answer, as explained, is “Soil.”
12 Answer: Fertility
Keyword Location: Paragraph 8
Explanation: Paragraph 8 mentions the Celtic horse goddess, Epona, and highlights that the horse symbolizes the worship of gods. Epona is also connected with fertility. Therefore, the correct answer, as explained, is “fertility.”
13 Answer: Rhiannon
Keyword Location: Paragraph 8
Explanation: Paragraph 8 mentions the depiction of a deity and a Welsh goddess. The Welsh goddess Rhiannon was portrayed as a beautiful woman riding a white horse and adorned with gold. Therefore, the correct answer, as explained, is “Rhiannon.”
Tips for Answering the Question Types in the above Reading Passage
True/False/Not Given questions are a type of IELTS Reading question that requires you to identify whether a statement is true, false, or not given in the passage.
- True statements are statements that are explicitly stated in the passage.
- False statements are statements that are explicitly contradicted in the passage.
- Not Given statements are statements that are neither explicitly stated nor contradicted in the passage
To answer True/False/Not Given questions, you need to be able to understand the passage and identify the key information. You also need to be able to distinguish between statements that are explicitly stated, contradicted, and not given.
Sentence completion is a question type in IELTS reading that tests your ability to find specific information in the passage.
To answer sentence completion questions in IELTS Reading:
- Read the sentence carefully and understand the context. This will help you to know what type of information you are looking for.
- Skim and scan the passage to find the relevant section. You don’t need to read the entire passage carefully. Instead, look for keywords or phrases that match the sentence completion.
- Look for keywords or synonyms that match the sentence completion. The answer may not be exactly the same as the words in the question, so be sure to look for synonyms.
- Pay attention to the word limit. The answer must be no more than a certain number of words, so be careful not to choose an answer that is too long.
- Check your answer carefully. Make sure that the answer is grammatically correct and that it makes sense in the context of the sentence.
IELTS Reading Topics
Here are some of the latest IELTS Reading topics which are more popular and also these topics have recently appeared in the IELTS exam.
- In Praise Of Amateurs IELTS Reading Answers
- The True Cost Of Food Reading Answers
- Climate Change And The Inuit Reading Answers
- Zoo Conservation Programmes Reading Answers
- A Workaholic Economy Reading Answers
- Research Using Twins Reading Answers
- The Little Ice Age Reading Answers
- What’s So Funny Reading Answers
- The Scientific Method Reading Answers
- Numeration Reading Answers
- Delivering The Goods Reading Answers