Wiltshire snow roller
© Brian Bayliss/SWNS
Although they look as though they are sculpted by hand, they are in fact the product of the right balance between sticky snow, strong winds and cold temperatures. These incredible pictures show rare 'snow rollers' that formed in a British field during the recent snow storm
These incredible pictures show rare 'snow rollers' that formed in a British field during the recent snow storm.

Brian Bayliss, 51, works as a forestry contractor and was driving past a field he owned when he saw the usual snow formations, about 2 - 3ft in diameter and 2ft wide.

He thought that children had been playing in his field in Marlborough, Wiltshire, so went to take a closer look but was amazed to discover there wasn't a single footprint.

Brian took some pictures and sent them to a BBC weather expert who told him they were an extremely rare meteorological condition - known as Snow Rollers.

They are a rare meteorological phenomenon in which large snowballs are formed naturally as chunks of snow are blown along the ground by the wind.

As they move they pick up snow on the way, in much the same way that the large snowballs used in snowmen are made.

Snow roller in Wiltshire
© Brian Bayliss/SWNS
In order for them to form, there must be a light dusting of snow on top of an icy layer on the ground, often on a hill with no protruding vegetation. The dusting needs to be just wet enough so that it can adhere to itself but not stick to the ground, according to the National Weather Service

Brian said: "I was driving to work on Saturday morning and I saw them in my field. It's at a very high elevation, about 700ft, so the snow was quite deep up there.

"I thought it was kids rolling snowballs, but as I got closer I saw there were no footprints in the field.

"I pulled my Toyota Hilux over and I was astounded, they were clearly not man-made.

"I took some pictures and went on with my day, then came over later in the day and they had slumped over and deteriorated, I must have got them at the right time."

Wiltshire snow roller
© Brian Bayliss/SWNS
Snow rollers form when wind pushes snow across the ground, gathering it into a hollow cylinder. Bigger snow rollers can be a few inches wide and travel a couple feet, leaving trails behind in their wakes
Although Brian knew the formations weren't man-made, he was still at a loss about what they could be.

He sent his images to the BBC, and their weather expert Ian Fergusson instantly recognised them.

Brian continued: "I'd heard of them before, they were clearly not man made so I sent the pictures over to BBC Wiltshire.

"Ian Fergusson, their weatherman, saw them and got one of their team to call me and tell me it's a really rare phenomenon.

"He told me they were some of the best pictures he's ever seen, it all kind of snowballed from there.

"They were frozen and with the weather conditions with sunshine the pictures turned out amazing.

"I feel very privileged to have seen them and witness them for real, the pictures, I doubt anyone would have struggled to take a good picture - they were such beautiful things.

A snow roller is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which large snowballs are formed naturally as chunks of snow are blown along the ground by wind.

As they move they pick up snow on the way, in much the same way that the large snowballs used in snowmen are made.