WE'VE all heard of crop circles, and the many theories behind them.

Aliens and pranksters are among the explanations given for the intricate patterns which appear in fields and leave farmers scratching their heads.

However, in Sussex, there appears to be a new natural phenomenon - flock circles.

University lecturer Chris Hogg was cycling through the South Downs, behind Rottingdean, when he saw hundreds of sheep arranged into a series of concentric circles on a hillside.

"I was on my daily lockdown cycle, I always go the same route," the 47-year-old said.

The Argus: Chris Hogg was out for a cycle when he spotted these mysterious 'flock circles' in Rottingdean Credit: Chris HoggChris Hogg was out for a cycle when he spotted these mysterious 'flock circles' in Rottingdean Credit: Chris Hogg

"Through Rottingdean then behind it and along a route called The Snake, down into a valley - I must have done it 365 times in the last year."

However, on Saturday, March 27, Chris saw something which took him completely by surprise.

He said: "I came over the top of the hill, there was nobody about, and then I saw it and thought, 'what the hell is that?!'

"It wasn't just a vague shape, it was like concentric circles, a proper pattern. It was quite beautiful actually.

"I have got a bit of an imagination so it was a bit freaky to see, I started wondering what it could be.

"But then, as I got closer, I realised it was the sheep - a lamb chop circle."

A debate continues to rage between Chris and his partner over whether the unusual sight should be called a flock circle or a chop circle, he tells me.

He posted pictures of the neatly arranged sheep on Facebook group Brighton People, where hundreds had a go at determining the cause.

One of the most common responses, perhaps predictably, was that this was the work of extra-terrestrial beings.

However, while the name of the eighth woolly wonder of the world remains in doubt, the cause may not be so much of a mystery.

Chris, from Rottingdean, said: "I spoke to the farmer, he told me, 'It's the feeder, it does make that shape'.

"As I cycled by, the sheep started to break up, they had clearly had their fill and had other things to do."

Yet, while this incident may not have provided conclusive proof of intelligent life elsewhere in this universe that some hoped it would, could there be a future for the farming craft.

"Perhaps a new farming art-form can be born here," Chris suggested.