The Charlton Crater - Manor Farm, Charlton, Wiltshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 50° 59.658 W 002° 08.108
30U E 560694 N 5649547
Quick Description: This curious impact crater caused a bit of a stir when it was discovered in 1963.
Location: South West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/9/2010 8:12:30 AM
Waymark Code: WM9X5G
Views: 8

Long Description:
There was much speculation when this crater was found as can be seen in this article (please see the website for some more photos of the area): visit link

'The Charlton Crater

In July 1963 farmer Roy Blanchard found a crater measuring approximately 1 foot deep and 8 feet across in one of his potato fields at Manor Farm, Charlton, Wiltshire. At the centre of the crater was a hole some 3 feet deep. The discovery of the crater proved to be of great interest to the press and television news. The Army, and various scientific experts arrived at Manor Farm to conduct an investigation of the crater. Perhaps the crater was connected with an unexploded wartime bomb? The Army bomb disposal squad determined that there was no bomb. Metal was found in the crater which was later identified as magnetite, in the Charlton area magnetite occurs naturally in the ground. Roy Blanchard was convinced that there was only one possible explanation as to the crater's origin, a Flying Saucer! Although Mr Blanchard admitted 'I didn't actually see it', he then added 'but what else could it have been? Obviously some craft from outer space since it sucked out my barley and potatoes when it took off.'

A rather curious character by the name of Dr Randall, who claimed to be an Astro Physicist, informed the press that the crater had been formed by a flying saucer from Uranus! The press reported the Dr's claims, and so fuelled speculation about the strange nature of the crater. Questions about the crater were raised in the House of Commons, it was conluded that as it stood the business could not be entirely explained.

Note both of the images that appear on this page are taken from the Channel 5 television documentory The British UFO Files.'

Further information can be seen here: visit link


John Harney

There have been relatively few cases of alleged physical evidence of UFOs in Britain, and of those few the Charlton crater is by far the most notorious example.

Serious attempts to provide rational explanations for the occurrence have been consistently ridiculed by the UFO enthusiasts who apparently prefer to believe that the phenomenon was produced by the landing of a flying saucer.

In July 1963, a crater about 1 foot deep, 8 feet in diameter, with a hole in the centre about 3 feet deep was found on the boundary between a potato field and a barley field at Manor Farm, Charlton, Wiltshire (near Shaftesbury, Dorset). The crater was discovered by farmer Roy Blanchard, according to Robert Chapman, or by a Mr Reg Alexander, according to Leonard Cramp. Take your pick.

It is not clear from the various accounts just how the crater came to receive such wide publicity and close scrutiny from military and scientific experts, journalists, ufologists, and assorted cranks and publicity seekers. The incident which seems to have attracted the attention of the national news media and Members of Parliament was the arrival on the scene of an Army bomb disposal squad. These gentlemen found no bomb, but did detect metal, which was in fact magnetite, naturally occurring in the soil of that area.

Unfortunately the sensational publicity accorded to the affair did not provide a suitable atmosphere for rational, scientific investigation. A lump of iron ore recovered from the crater by the Army team was pounced on by Patrick Moore, who hastily pronounced it to be a meteorite.

The issue was further confused by the arrival on the scene of a gentleman calling himself “Dr Randall”, who purported to be an “Australian astro-physicist”. This character assured the gentlemen of the press that the crater was caused by a flying saucer weighing about 600 tons, with a crew of about 50, and originating from the planet Uranus. Still further confusion must have been caused in the minds of interested observers when the newspapers printed these inane drivellings of “Dr Randall” apparently without taking the trouble to consult the appropriate reference books in order to determine his bona fides.

Questions in the House of Commons eventually established that the crater was not caused by a bomb or a meteorite and, so far as the authorities were concerned, the matter remained unexplained. Ufologists immediately took this as a licence to indulge in wild speculations about flying saucers and their alleged electromagnetic effects and “G fields”. Much was made of the fact that the magnetite in the soil in the immediate vicinity of the crater was found to have been magnetised. Much was also made of the alleged complete disappearance of potato plants at the site of the crater.

The Charlton crater, among other, similar occurrences, attracted the attention of Alan Sharp who, as our readers well know, does not believe in spaceships from Uranus, or in fairies or Father Christmas either, for that matter.

Mr Sharp at first thought that the crater may have been caused by subsidence, but later revised his opinion and suggested that it was probably caused by a lightning strike. This would explain the magnetic effects observed by investigators. In a review of Leonard Cramp’s “Piece for a Jig-Saw”, Alan Sharp wrote:

“A great deal of nonsense has been talked about the Charlton occurrence but in point of fact this was a classic example of the type of “crater” ascribable to the strike of lightning on open ground. It displays radiating surface marks, removal of material and a central hole. It was preceded by a violent thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds and was in an area of considerable storm damage to crops. The lightning struck the ground where there was evidence of a local elevation of the water table and pronounced detectable magnetic effects in the magnetite-bearing soil, similar to those recorded at Cockburnspath in Scotland.

“The strike occurred at a point on a previous field boundary where a large iron straining-post had once been embedded in the ground and secured by metal stays. The disappearance of plants was by no means complete, as had been alleged by one person, according to Mr Bealing, the Shaftesbury photographer whose photographs appeared widely in the Press at the time. Captain Rodgers of the Army investigation team also reported the finding of plant remains at the site.”

The lightning explanation certainly seems the most logical one in the circumstances, but it has been totally ignored by British ufologists, who prefer to indulge in bizarre speculations about flying saucers and their “anti-gravity” propulsion systems. The Charlton crater affair is a particularly interesting case in that study of the literature on the subject shows up the irrational and unscientific attitudes which prevail among British ufologists, even including those who are intelligent enough to know better.'

Type of Crater: Simple

Crater Diameter: 8ft

Age of Crater: 47.00

Crater Web Page: [Web Link]

View from the Coordinates:
A view of the fields around Manor Farm where the crater was found.

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