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The "Man in the Hills" is a tall man dressed in white who lives in the hills of Sodor. According to Sir Handel, no one has ever seen him. However, a chalk figure of him holding a walking stick is drawn on a hillside next to the Skarloey Railway. Thomas wanted to show the figure as a birthday gift for Mr. Percival's birthday.
The white chalk figure of the Man in the Hills is based upon the Long Man of Wilmington, a mysterious guardian who protects the South Downs. The Long Man of Wilmington is on a steep hillside, six miles northwest of Eastbourne, East Sussex in southern England.