There will be much for all the family to see and do, from archery to sword school, to First World War training camps and seeing Word War II artillery in action. There will be Medieval knights, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, Celts and Romans, as well as a large Napoleonic encampment with infantry, artillery and even mounted cavalry. We will also have a horse-drawn First World War ambulance as well as a number of other historic vehicles.

All our living historians will be putting on a stunning array of demonstrations and displays. They are not only contagiously passionate about the past but are also real experts in their fields. Living Historians may favour one period of the past over another, but those at Chalke Valley have one thing in common: they all want to share their passion and immense knowledge.

LIVING HISTORY LINEUP 2017

Static Me109 & Hurricane – War & Peace Displays

Two iconic aircraft of the Battle of Britain will be on display throughout the festival and a focus for Pop-Up talks every day.  The Messerscmitt 109E was the primary Luftwaffe fighter aircraft, while the Hawker Hurricane was the RAF’s work-horse.  A surviving Battle of Britain Hurricane will be flying overhead during the Festival Weekend and we are also hopeful a Messerschmitt 109E will be too for the first time in the UK in more than two decades.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

The Hawker Hurricane: Engineering a Legend

Inspiration.  Education.  Innovation.  Three words which are the motivation behind the UK’s first interactive 1:3 scale Hawker Hurricane model.  Sci-Hi Education is proud to bring this brilliant learning tool to Chalke Valley Festival, where audiences will have the chance to get up close and personal with this famous and beautiful aircraft.  Measuring over 10 feet long with a wing span of 14 feet, this highly realistic model quite literally comes apart to reveal the inner workings and craftmanship of this WW2 fighter plane.  We look forward to bringing STEM and history to life with our bespoke large scale presentations, which promise to be educational, engaging, but most of all fun! Visit www.sci-hi.education

First World War Horse-Drawn Ambulance

This is a very special original First World War horse-drawn ambulance, which, with its heavy horses, will be giving shows and demonstrations twice a day and offering rides throughout the festival weekend.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

First World War Tank

This wooden replica is fully interactive and designed to demonstrate to children what it was like to operate and fire a First World War tank.  This is a Heritage Lottery Funded project from Richard Osgood and the Operation Nightingale team.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

Traditional Haymaking

Pre-festival haymaking at the site plus wartime machinery.  An opportunity to examine how traditional pasture was harvested and to look at how these ancient downlands were turned over to the plough in the Second World War and the impact that had.

The Shopland Collection

WWII 6-pounder anti-tank gun plus gun tractor. Possible 3.7 inch Heavy Anti-Aircraft gun.

The Garrison

This Larkhill-based living history group will be bringing their battery of four Second World War 25-pounder field guns plus their command post, vehicles and encampment.|
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

WWII QF 17-Pounder & Carriage

This is an original Second World War 17-pounder, which will be available for firing during the Schools Festival and weekend.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

Royal Signals Museum

This is an outreach display from the Royal Signals Museum originally conceived for the BBC’s World War I at Home project.  The display includes fiveinteractive activities: flags (semaphore); Morse Code Training (8 per time); field telephones; wireless (Clansman Radio); and code-breaking.  They will be showing a number of original artefacts and bringing their own encampment.

Georgian Cannons

Kevin Meade will be bringing his Georgian field and ship’s cannons and giving firing demonstrations.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

Steam Engines, Vintage Tractors, Model T

Richard Pocock will be bringing his stunning fully-working steam traction engine, as well as two Ford Model Ts, a Lend Lease Tractor and wartime Fordson tractor.  Michael Golden will be displaying his vintage 1930s caravan.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

Steam Engine

Tim Hancock will be bringing his beautiful and fully-working steam traction engine.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

Ford Model T, First World War US Liberty Truck

Ian Morgan will be bringing his First World War US-built Liberty truck.  These World War I work-horses are now incredibly rare.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

Royal Palaces Beefeaters

Bill Callaghan and colleague from the Tower of London will be attending Wed and Thurs of Schools Festival in full regalia and telling tales from the long and often bloody history of the Tower of London.
Dates: 28-29 June

First World War Trench

Above-ground replica trench with fire bays, dug-outs and so on, depicting scenario from Ypres Salient in June 1917.  Visitors will be drawn into an interactive tour of the front line.
Dates: 26 June – 2 July

Book here

Experience the Iron Age

Celtic Iron Age encampment plus activities, including Celtic wheat grinding, cookery and daily life.
Dates: 27 June – 2 July

Vicus & Pario Gallico

Romano-Britain encampment and activities.
Dates: 27 June – 2 July

The Vikings

Early Medieval Vikings and Anglo-Saxon encampment.  Skill at arms, cooking, plus ‘Kiddie Vikes’ at the weekend, and Norman siege techniques and weaponry.
Dates: 1 – 2 July

Raiders, Traders & Invaders

Early Medieval – Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age but also Napoleonic Cartography on Friday.
Dates: 27 June – 2 July

Truth & Memory

Edward I – 13th Century Siege Warfare, siege equipment, skill at arms
Dates: 27 June – 2 July

Plantagenets

Encampment, daily living, skill at arms, and military life
Dates: 27 June – 2 July

Deeds of Arms

Plantagenets and Hundred Years’ War with a particular focus on Battle of the Crecy
Dates: 1 -2 July

Wimborne Militia

Seventeenth Century English Civil War, daily life, skills at arms & cannon workshop
Dates: 27 June – 2 July

Napoleonic Association – Foot & Artillery

The main focus of our living history displays this year will be the Napoleonic era with a large festival weekend encampment.  There will be displays and interactive talks throughout the weekend but also set-piece displays including both artillery and infantry from both French and Allied sides.
Dates: 1 – 2 July

Napoleonic Association – Cavalry

For the first time at the festival, we will be showing Napoleonic cavalry with around a dozen horses and cavalrymen, demonstrating drills, skills at arms and also incorporating set-piece skirmishes.
Dates: 30 June – 2 July

Croix de Guerre

Croix de Guerre show the French Army from the First World War to Dunkirk, offering talks and demonstrations as well as bringing a stunning display of artefacts.
Dates: 27 June – 2 July

The 20th Century Warfare & Living History Society

This living history group will be joining the men manning the First World War Trench and taking part in our Passchendaele scenario.
Dates: 1 – 2 July

Pike And Shot Events Limited

Anna Foard will be leading displays demonstrating a First World War hospital tent and the medical process for wounded men travelling from the front-line trenches all the way back to hospital back in Blighty.
Dates: 1 – 2 July

World War II in Colour

World War II in Colour are one of the most diverse Second World War living history groups who provide superbly researched and presented demonstrations and displays.  This year they will be providing their very popular interactive Commando training course, but also recreating a POW Camp in Germany.  Volunteers will be recruited to join the POWs where they will learn about daily life but also escape plans, resistance techniques and then take part in an escape attempt through a tunnel.
Dates: 1 – 2 July

Sword School

Living History Educational Service. Sword School – how to sword fight Medieval style – will be on throughout the festival weekend.
Dates: 1 – 2 July

Book here.

As ever, we will have a large number of historic vehicles on show, and this year, we will also have a static Spitfire and Hurricane on display all week.

  • Celtic Wheat Grinding
  • Anglo-Saxon Bread Making
  • Anglo-Saxon Settlement – Traditional Crafts
  • Life in the Roman Legions
  • Archery Demonstrations
  • Norman Siege Weapons & Warfare
  • Crusades – Trade Routes & Travel
  • Edward III, the Great Plantagenet King – His Life & Times
  • English Civil War – Guns, Black Powder & Cannon Repair
  • Napoleonic infantry and cavalry
  • Battle of Waterloo Diorama with the BBC’s Peter Ginn and Mark Evans
  • First World War Trench
  • First World War Horse-drawn Ambulance & Vehicles
  • French Army 1914-1940
  • Second World War Weapons & Uniforms
  • Children’s Activity Tent
  • The History Tellers

The Trench Experience and Sword School

In this 100th anniversary year of Vimy Ridge, Arras and Passchendaele, we will be putting on another major immersive First World War experience. There will be a training camp at which ‘recruits’ will be shown and ask to take part in a number of drills similar to those practiced at camps near here in south-west Wiltshire.

We will also have a new trench experience, at which people can enter as a fly-on-the-wall spectator as our living historians enact scenarios from 1917. To book, please see programme.

Throughout the week will be a number of period vehicles on display and the chance to ride on a First World War horse-drawn ambulance.

Sword School will be returning (to book, please see programme), along with Have-a-Go-Archery, numerous stalls, and demonstrations – there will always be much to see and do. We can’t wait!