Outdoor Programme – Live History Live Events

Monday 20th June – Sun 26th June 2022 | Included in Outdoor Programme Ticket
(£10 – £17.50 Adults, £3 – £9 children)

Our Restoration Pageant and Restoration Horse Racing will be quite a spectacle. We’re showing the vital role of both women and men in traditional rural life, and covering more than two millennia as delve deep into the past.

To purchase Outdoor Programme tickets please click on any Outdoor Programme event on the respective day on programme.

Upon arriving at the festival you will amongst an Iron Age round house and settlement – built specifically for this year’s festival and using the very tools and materials that would have been employed by those in Britain before the Roman invasion.

Our Restoration Pageant: the return of the monarchy and King Charles II in 1660, will also feature Restoration-era horse racing over a specially developed race course at the far end of the festival site.

Historic fast food, available to buy, featuring street food that would have been familiar to those living in Pompeii in the 1st Century. We will also be exploring the very earliest metallurgy, as discovered by the Ancient Egyptians using meteorites. Traditional crafts, farming, and the role of women during the Second World War will top off our stunning living history for 2022.

All our living historians are experts in their fields and each event will show them making or doing something from the past – and often busting many deeply entrenched myths as they are quizzed some of our best-loved TV historians and authors.

Each event is suitable for all the family. But be warned: while some events are not for the squeamish, others involve very loud bangs too. Expect an assault of the senses: you will be able to see, smell, hear, touch and taste the past in our most extensive ever living history programme.

To purchase Outdoor Programme tickets please click on any Outdoor Programme event on the respective day on programme.


A headline development for this year has been the creation of a stunning Iron Age-era round house, built using many traditional methods and tools by the Ancient Technology Centre of Cranborne.   Sited very close to the festival entrance, it will be live in throughout the festival week by living historians Caroline Nicolay and Tom Timbrell.  Through the week, Caroline will be giving talks about Life in the Iron Age, offering people the chance to see both inside and outside the house, while Tom will be discussing The Iron Age Smith, creating Iron Age tools and weapons in his forge, constructed adjacent to the house.
7 days


One of our headline performances for this year will be a Restoration Pageant that will process through the festival site.  The restored monarchy saw Charles II returned to the throne in 1660 and a feature of the new court was its flamboyance and pageantry, two features that will be in show at Chalke Valley.  Following the pageant will be live horse racing, a sport made popular during Charles II’s reign – it was during this time that Newmarket became the beating heart of the sport although there is archaeological evidence that the earliest known racecourse was, in fact, here, on the downs to the north of the Chalke Valley History Festival site.
Saturday and Sunday only.


Living history, archaeology and expert academic interpretation will merge in this compelling and spectacular event.  Rupert Hammerton-Fraser will be talking through, step-by-step, just why and how King Richard III was killed at Bosworth Field in 1485, using living historians to re-enact and play the key roles, demonstating the fatal moments when the King charged at Henry Tudor, was pulled from his horse and then brutally killed.  It really will be one not to miss.
Saturday & Sunday


The Garrison Artillery Volunteers are mostly former servicemen with the Royal Artillery and are the only people in the world still training using British Army Second World War artillery drills.  In this thrilling demonstration, they will manoeuvre a towed battery of 25-pounder field artillery guns into position, unhitch them, position them and then fire, first individually and then collectively.  This will be an outstanding spectacle and living history at its very best.
Friday evening, Saturday & Sunday


The Wimborne Militia and Truth & Memory groups will be discussing and demonstrating siege warfare from the Romans through to the seventeenth century, how it changed from flung missiles to the development of charged shot.  With replica examples of a wide range of weaponry from the trebuchet to various sizes of cannon, this will be a spectacular – and often loud – event.


Based on the exploits of infamous local smuggler, Isaac Gulliver, this display and demonstration will explain how smuggling operated, the wares being smuggled, the equipment used to carry out smuggling, the length of the supply chain and how its tentacles spread to the highest in the land – in Gulliver’s case, to nearby Chettle House.
Seven days


We will also be exploring the very earliest metallurgy, as discovered by the Ancient Egyptians, who used meteorites for their first source of iron.  Will Sherman and Ian Thackray, two acclaimed blacksmiths, will be transformed into Edwardian archaeologists and manning a makeshift forge to learn how it was the Egyptians discovered this transformation of inter-galactic iron and what techniques they used – and perfected – in the process.
Seven days


Alex Compiani returns with a look at street food from Pompeii through to the seventeenth century. Meticulously researched and with a wide range of ingredients to hand, Alex will be cooking and explaining what kind of food was eaten by the Romans all the way through to the Tudors and Stuarts, how tastes and fashions changed and what threads can be seen throughout this passage of time.  With his ovens and fires glowing, expect a cornucopia of sizzling scintillating smells and historical culinary expertise.


Join Kate Vigurs of History’s Maid and learn all about life as a Special Operations Executive agent.  Discover what training an agent had to undertake from silent killing to parachuting, blowing things up to shooting things down, and learn what life was like preparing to go into Occupied France as a secret agent.  Kate is a skilled historical interpreter and SOE expert, alongside her performance you can see a replica wireless set, explosives, covert weapons and firearms that the SOE used and that helped win World War Two.
Seven days

To purchase Outdoor Programme tickets please click on any Outdoor Programme event on the respective day on programme.


Throughout the festival weekend, the site will be swollen by a number of living history groups and encampments.  They will be recreating life from bygone times and visitors are welcome to visit each one, talk to them about their chosen period and watch a range of displays and demonstrations.


The Swords of Penda group will be recreating the life of the Saxon King Penda and the invasion of Wessex by the King of Mercia.  Their encampment will include including a sutlery  and cooking area, weapons tent, and a range of other tents from low status to very high.


The Now Strike Archery & Company of Acquitaine groups will be recreating an encampment from the time of the Battle of Crecy in 1346.  Located within the camp will be a Company of Archers, with a display of longbow, fletching, string making and arrow heads, as well as bow making demonstrations and, in a separate area, a ‘have-a-go archery’ range.


The English Civil War Society will be recreating a Civil War marching encampment, including both military and civilian elements, including interactive trails for children.

Saturday & Sunday


A variety a living history groups will be creating a Napoleonic encampment and showcasing the life of a soldier during this period.

Saturday & Sunday


This year there will be a mixture of Second World War encampments near the Trench and Soldier School, including an American contingent of US Army Engineers and two Sherwood Rangers half-tracks.

Saturday and Sunday

To purchase Outdoor Programme tickets please click on any Outdoor Programme event on the respective day on programme.


The Chalke Valley is a rural community that has lasted over two millennia.  Until recent times, the centre of everyday life revolved around the farm and businesses and trades associated with agriculture.  In our new Traditional Rural Life section, we will be showcasing farming in the early-mid twentieth century, women at war and traditional rural crafts.  Each section will link with the other and as with all our wide and varied outdoor programme, our living historians, experts, craftsmen and artisans will be happy to demonstrate their skills and knowledge and answer any questions.


There were over 640,000 British women serving during the Second World War, across all three services, and millions who served in factories and in a variety of other capacities.  For this year’s Chalke Valley, for the first time, we have a specially dedicated area to Women at War. Throughout the week you will be able to meet the Land Army and the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS), while at the weekend we will have members of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), also known as the Spitfire girls – the ladies that flew pitfires to the airfields around Britain, as well as the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) who played a vital role in the war effort, especially in the Battle of Britain. Also, the not very well-known Women’s Home Guard.


Horse-power is giving way to greater mechanisation as our farmers and countrymen demonstrate some of the machinery and skills needed on the Wartime Farm.  There will be a traditional steam-powered saw mill, threshing machine and working forge as well as vehicles and a number of steam traction engines on display.  There will be the opportunity to see these machines operating and working as they would have been used eighty years ago.
Saturday and Sunday



Andrew is a highly skilled and much sought-after stonemason having worked on many of our greatest monuments, from ancient neolithic sites to the Roman baths at Bath to Salisbury Cathedral.  He will be demonstrating his skills and talking about the art and the tools for the job as well as the stonemasonry’s role through history.
Seven Days


Adam is a superb local woodworker and furniture maker.  He will be displaying these skills and the tools of the trade throughout the work at his makeshift workshop.
Seven days


Based on a Hampshire estate, Andy manages over 200 acres of hazel coppice and carries out work as a hedge layer and weave fencer as well as other traditional woodland skills.  He is well known on Twitter as @copseworker
Seven days


Chris is a New Forest-based coppice-worker and hurdle maker as well as making thatching spars, liggers, and hedge laying stakes and binders.
Seven days


Mike specialises in making hazel hurdles and continuous woven fencing and creative woven structures.
Seven days

Andy, Chris and Mike will be constructing an Iron-Age round house dwelling, showcasing traditional skills and allowing visitors the chance to try their hand too.

To purchase Outdoor Programme tickets please click on any Outdoor Programme event on the respective day on programme.