All photos © Andrew King, Lucy Pringle, David Russell, Freddy Silva and Russell Stannard.

To say the 2001 crop circles season began under a dark cloud is an understatement. The Foot and Mouth epidemic was still ravaging farm communities throughout the British Isles, bringing with it widescale misery for farmers, and for lovers of the outdoors. As if that wasn't enough, the excessively rainy winter brought further havoc by washing away seeds or simply eroding the exposed soil, leaving a large number of fields fallow by early Spring. And so the omens for an unusual year lay heavy in the air. Of main concern was, how would the designs manifest in light of the restrictions placed on access to land? Would criminal prosecution and heavy fines (£5000/ $9000) deter hoaxers and allow for the genuine phenomenon to shine through? Even more to the point, would restricted access to the countryside limit the amount of reports?

We shall probably never know the answer to the latter, particularly as farmers have become reticent about notifying anyone of crop circles on their land. This situation is understandable: decades of negative media bias (sometimes aimed at the farmers themselves), plus mass trespassing by visitors, in addition to the damage to their crops, has put farmers on the defensive.

With the F&M restrictions still in place the first crop circle manifested below Old Winchester Hill, Hampshire, an ancient site of veneration and potent in magnetic lines of energy. It was wonderful to see how a simple ringed circle could still bring out the goosepimples, particularly as simple designs are nowadays favoured less than the complex patterns. Once again, this recognition is down to an underlying harmonic geometry, which in this case shows a heptagonal pattern with a nested square (a 2:1 ratio - a musical octave).

It did not take long before the phenomenon appeared closer to its predominant centre of activity, in Wiltshire. Near Barbury Castle - once home to the famous tetrahedronal crop glyph of 1991 - a new type of triangle was discovered weeks after its appearance, its plants already risen and displaying radial patterns. A kind of 3-D quality shone through, as well as a latent image of a shield.


A second 'shield' design appeared at Berwick Bassett, home in 1994 to another triangular type of crop circle - were the Circlemakers this year demonstrating an evolution with reference to earlier designs? This crop glyph follows the logical progression of last year's designs based on spirals. From the above diagrams one can clearly see the generous use of logarithmic spirals, each one requiring the precise mimicking of nature's own proportional rotation in the ratio 1:1.618, not the kind of thing one achieves with string! Each of the circles making up the arcs of the design are similarly special, for each is spaced according to the ratios in the notes of the pure music scale.


With precious few crop circles manifesting throughout April and May, it looked as if the F&M restrictions had had an impact on the hoaxes; at Badbury appeared a design of rough quality resembling a planet encircled by the ouroboros - the serpent swallowing its own tail. To me it was reminicent of protection around the Earth, and at the time I couldn't quite figure out why (I was unable to visit the design, so I remain open as to its origin). My guess was confirmed the following week when another 'shield' appeared, this time as a set of interlocking curves, below Liddington hill fort. Traditionally, the shield is emblematic of protection, both physically and energetically, so it seemed as if some kind of conflict was taking place, and protection would be necessary for the Earth.

With the restrictions on land access now repealed, the season was about to bloom.... page