Wiltshire's Chalk Badges

Episode 33,   Mar 27, 2022, 04:00 AM

A slightly shorter episode this week, although not by much. Whilst we have plenty of subjects in the pipeline to talk about we’re beginning run out of ideas. It’s not that we’ve said everything there is to say about Wiltshire but that finding the time to get out and explore is increasingly difficult. So we’re contemplating recording the podcasts on a monthly basis rather than every two weeks, just to give us the time to visit more interesting locations. We’d really appreciate ideas about new locations from followers of the podcast.

In the two weeks since the last podcast Glyn has again been pretty much tied to his desk, although he did manage to do a muddy eight mile walk to Bincknoll Castle and the Broad Town White Horse near Wroughton. It sounded like the mud tempered his enthusiasm! 

Paul has done a few walks, albeit one was in Sussex on the border of the Surrey Hills. He walked to the top of the highest point in Sussex, which is not on the South Downs as he’d always thought, but on Black Down near to Haslemere. The hill was very reminiscent of the New Forest.

Inspired by Hidden Wiltshire contributor Elaine Perkins, Paul re-visited Newton Tony to look at its past role as a transport hub. It once had an important railway but long before that a Roman road passed nearby. There is a blog about the walk on the Hidden Wiltshire website and it’s linked on the Facebook pages but we will record a podcast about it sometime in the future. Elaine has also written her first Blog for the website. You’ll find a link below.

Another walk Paul did was in Bentley Wood, again with useful tips from Elaine Perkins. This was Paul’s first visit and he put together a route that also included Hound Wood and Blackmoor Copse. Whilst most of the route was in woodland the varied nature of the woods and copses was very noticeable. Probably not one for a podcast but a short blog and photos may follow soon.

Meanwhile, Glyn and Paul met with Tim Daw and recorded an interview with him at the modern day long barrow he built at All Cannings, something he has called a Novolithic long barrow. The perfect name we thought. We’ll be putting out a podcast with this fascinating interview soon.

Glyn has also received another hand written letter together with a book written by the grandfather of one of his Twitter followers Jonathan Steadman. The book, by A R Steadman (who was the head teacher of Marlborough Grammar School), is about the countryside around Marlborough from prehistoric times through to the 1960s. It would make an interesting comparison with the book The Land of Lettice Sweetapple which is about the history of the same area.

And finally Hidden Wiltshire has once again featured in another publication. Glyn wrote an article about Blind Houses for the March edition of the Wiltshire Buildings Record Newsletter. If you can get hold of a copy there are many hidden Wiltshire gems in there.

The main feature this week is Wiltshire’s Chalk Badges. The county’s military links are well known and long lasting. As far as we have been able to identify there are four locations where regimental badges can be found carved into chalk hillsides, albeit one is not strictly a regimental badge. 

Fovant is the most famous location where eight or nine badges can still be seen carved into the hillside next to the A30. Glyn wrote a blog about it on 18 October 2018 (see link below). Mostly carved by soldiers during the Fist World War (some are later) there would initially have been around 20 badges. Many are now overgrown. Just a little further along the valley there are two more badges at Sutton Mandeville. The final badge is called the Lamb Down Badge and can be seen by the A36 at Codford. This solitary badge was carved by soldiers of the 13th Training Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces in 1917 as a form of punishment! Finally we have the famous giant Kiwi carved in 1919 by New Zealand soldiers. At 420 feet (130m) high it’s enormous and its construction was designed to distract riotous soldiers awaiting transit home to New Zealand.

Then on to the wrap up:

Steve Dixon’s piece leading into our main subject today is called “From the Edge of Grey to Green” because that’s what happens to the white/light grey of the chalk if it’s not regularly cleaned! As ever the piece in the introduction and at the end of the podcast is entitled “The Holloway”.

Don’t forget to check out the Hidden Wiltshire online shop on the website if you’d like to help us keep the lights on. Both Hidden Wiltshire books can be purchased there. The second book is also available at Devizes Bookshop, Wiltshire Museum in Devizes and now Wiltshire’s libraries. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Hidden Wiltshire Newsletter from the website. You can also subscribe to alerts about new Blogs.


Paul’s blog about Newton Tony and its role as a transport hub can be found here Newton Tony - its Railway and its Roman Road

Elaine Perkins’ first blog for Hidden Wiltshire can be found here Throope Down Walk

Glyn’s blog about the Fovant Badges and Chiselbury Camp can be found here Fovant Badges and Chiselbury Camp

Glyn’s photographs can be seen on his Instagram feed @coy_cloud
He is also very active on Twitter where his username is @Glyndle

Paul’s photography can be found on his website at Paul Timlett Photography and on Instagram at @tragicyclist

Steve Dixon’s sound art can be found on Soundcloud where his username is River and Rail Steve Dixon River and Rail. His photographs can be found on Instagram at @stevedixon_creative and his graphic design business website is at Steve Dixon Creative

And finally you’ll find the Hidden Wiltshire online shop here Hidden Wiltshire Shop 
and a link to Glyn’s blog about the latest book and how to purchase a copy here Hidden Wiltshire from near and far