Model holding Sandra Park's Audi RS inspired leather bag

Cream of the crop

Are crop circles the work of aliens, or an opportunity for human beings to make their mark on nature? We head to Wiltshire in the new Audi A4 allroad quattro with a very specific design in mind...

It’s one of those spectacular midsummer evenings. As the sun creeps down towards the horizon, we turn off the road onto a track that climbs over a gentle hill. ‘Watch out for the pothole,’ someone shouts, and everyone braces themselves, but there’s barely a bump. Thanks to an additional 34mm ride height over the standard A4 Avant, the new Audi A4 allroad quattro rides over the deep rut as if it wasn’t there.

However, this isn’t just a trip to rural Wiltshire to test out the vehicle – we’re here to make a crop circle with a team of experts. Helping us with our mission is Matthew Williams, a crop circle researcher and founder of Circlemakers TV. ‘Intricate crop circles are becoming quite a rare sight,’ he says. ‘But in the 1980s they captured the imagination of the era.’ Artist Julian Richardson is our creative lead and has sketched out a familiar design for us.

Matthew Williams and Julian Richardson preparing to make a crop circle

The Audi A4 allroad quattro driving past a Wiltshire corn field

To be firmly on the side of the law we have gained permission from farmer Will Dickson, the owner of Wick Farm in Wiltshire, to use one of his wheat fields. After assessing the terrain and going over the plans, Julian warns us to tread carefully in the wheat. ‘You want it to look as pristine as possible, so it looks like it could only have been accessed from the sky,’ he says.

Julian marks the centre of the artwork and places one of the team to act as the anchor. He paces out lengths and places circle-shaped markers at strategic points. He then flattens a thin line of wheat through the crops with his feet to sketch out an outline. The makers follow this guide with large wooden boards with rope handles. They place them on the ground and put their weight down, flattening the wheat.

Matthew Williams flattens crop with a plank of wood

Matthew Williams measuring out a crop circle

Julian Richards flattens crop with a plank of wood

They work through the night until the design is complete. From land it’s difficult to see if we’ve been successful – the only way to know for sure is to send a drone with a camera up into the air, and we crowd around the screen that shows us what the camera sees.

As the drone ascends, the image reveals the thick hedgerow surrounding the field, then it rises some more and the four thick rings of the Audi logo finally appear, perfectly formed, surrounded by a field of amber. Written by John Silcox. Photographs by Fred MacGregor.


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