THE debate about the existence of extra-terrestrial life in the universe has been brought closer to home after this crop circle appeared in a field near Highworth .

The square-filled circle, which features a square is in what is thought to be a wheat field near Hannington, and has led some to speculate about who created it or what it might mean.

Circle hunter Matthew Williams, 42, flew over the field in a microlight to enable this photo to be taken after he was alerted to the formation by the Crop Circle Connector website.

He said: “It’s superb. It was very well done because it looks very crisp. It’s got good detail in it, so it looks like whatever entity or human made it certainly knew what they were doing.

“If you notice in each square it’s actually got a kind of swirl and that’s quite an achievement. It’s not just the design you are seeing, if you look down into the squared areas there’s a second design.”

Matthew, a computer engineer from Market Lavington, said he made crop circles himself from 1991 to 2000, until he was arrested for damaging crops, and turned his hand to spotting the formations instead.

He and his photographer, who prefers to remain anonymous, set out from their air base near Melksham on Sunday shortly after snapping another new circle at Etchilhampton, near Devizes.

He said that the Highworth area normally has one crop circle a year, but the hotspot is the region around Alton Barnes, near Pewsey, where there is usually about 50 or 60 a year.

Matthew said he suspected most of the circles were made by humans, many of whom are well-known among enthusiasts, but the original simple circles might have been made by aliens.

Commenting on the provenance of the Highworth circle, he said: “I don’t know who did it so I cannot say for certain but I would say a certain amount of intelligence has been involved.

“Whether people want to believe that intelligence is human or alien, that’s for them to decide.

“There’s probably a message in there and the message might be from aliens but it could be from humans saying Hello Mum.”

The Crop Circle Connector website records 16 formations across the UK in late July, including one at Wanborough Plain, near Liddington, and another at Windmill Hill, near Avebury .