The first crop circle formation of the 2007 season has arrived - bigger and earlier than ever before.

©Wiltshire Gazette
The crop circle near Devizes

It measures a huge 333ft across and appeared over the weekend in a field of striking yellow oil seed rape.

While crop formations have been known in April, most usually start being discovered in early May and are smaller affairs.

It is located beneath Oliver's Castle, a hilltop archaeological site near Devizes, famous among crop circle devotees as the spot video footage supposedly showed a crop circle being made by two balls of light.

Crop circle researcher Charles Mallett, who runs the Silent Circle cafe at Cherhill in the heart of circle country, said: "Even though this formation was reported on Monday, all indications on the ground point towards it having been around for at least two days.

"Much of the crop is fully recovered to its original upright position, with no damage sustained."

Last year there were fewer and less spectacular formations than previous years.

Fellow researcher Stuart Dike, from leading website, added: "The 2007 season opener in Wiltshire is clearly an extremely well-defined continuation of the three-dimensional events from 2006.

"The crop formation at Oliver's Castle is an important first event for the season. Last year we were witnessing the message of the time portals in the fields, an exciting and dramatic change in direction for the Circlemakers.

"This dynamic image beside the hillfort just outside of Devizes is a clear demonstration of what could be in store for us in the coming months."

He added the latest circle was impressive, saying: "The Master is at work again."