Fovant BadgesFovant
War Memorial
Fovant Village
Wiltshire SP3 5JF
About 547 yards (500 metres) outside Fovant Village is a most unusual War Memorial. Carved into the steep hillside beside the main A30 road from London to Penzance are the Fovant Military Regimental Badges.
These military badges cut into the chalk are clearly visible from a ‘lay-by’ (parking area) near Fovant Village on the A30 between Salisbury and Shaftesbury near Wilton. They can also be seen from the public footpath off the A30 near East Farm.
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Fovant Military Camp
After the start of the First World War, temporary camps had to be found for the training, medical treatment and eventual demobilization of thousands of men from Britain and its Allies as they fought the Western Front Campaign. Three Wiltshire villages were chosen for one such camp - Fovant, Sutton Mandeville and Compton Chamberlayne.
The large military camp comprised barracks, a hospital, shooting range, parade ground, other support facilities and a specially constructed railway branch line. It included Hurdcott Camp which was a depot of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
The Military Badges
Many of the men housed in these camps died on the French battlefields. Those that did return to the camp wanted to remember their colleagues. They carved large replicas of their cap and unit badges into the hillside. By the end of the First World War there were some twenty discernible badges.
Eight from a total of twenty badges are now visible; five of the badges date from the First World War, and the other three were cut later in the century.
The first badge to be cut by the troops in 1916 was the London Rifle Brigade badge. After the Second World War during 1950-51, the former Fovant Home Guard troop and other villagers cut the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry and the Wiltshire Regiment badges. In 1970 troops of the Royal Corps of Signals built their badge to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Corps.
The emblems were originally made by cutting the badge outlines in the rough grass Down to the underlying soil with chalk from outside sources then being brought in to fill the badge shapes.
The largest badge was the ‘Australian Badge’ that measured some 167 x 105 feet (51 x 32 metres)!
By 2000, through the passage of time, weather effect and cattle grazing, the badges had deteriorated, even with the ongoing conservation efforts of volunteers. Funds were raised and by 2003, a total of eight badges had been restored – these are:
- Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry
- 6th Battalion, The City of London Regiment
- Australian Imperial Force (AIF) Badge
- Royal Corps of Signals
- The Wiltshire Regiment
- London Rifle Brigade
- The Post Office Rifles
- The Devonshire Regiment
Disabled Access
The Badges are not accessible by wheelchair but can be viewed from the lay-by outside the village.
Annual Maintenance
The Badges are maintained in June each year. The process starts with weeding each badge, re-chalking those that require it and finishing with several applications of herbicide to keep the weeds down for as long as possible. The badges are all edged prior to maintenance and also prior to the Drumhead Service and again later in the year if the grass has grown sufficiently.
The Badges are re-chalked on a rotational basis – usually every three years – although sometimes this can be extended to four years. This means that each year at least two, usually three, badges are re-chalked. Each Badge costs approximately £4,000 to maintain. The Society relies on donations ad fund-raising to meet these costs.
When you visit the lay-by to view these magnificent Badges, please leave a generous contribution in the donation box provided.
The cost of upkeep of the badges and surrounding hillside is high and donations are very welcome. Information on how to donate is on the Fovant Badges Society website at  Web:  Support Us/ Fovant Badges    External Link
Postcards and booklets about the Badges are available from The Pembroke Arms pub, the Shop and the Post Office in Fovant.
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The Drumhead Service
Each year, since 1961, the Fovant Badges Society has held a Drumhead Service of Remembrance at East Farm Fovant courtesy of the landowner Mr Ed Williams. The service is held on the first Sunday in July this being the closest to the 1st of July, the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
It is a very moving and colourful service with Guards of Honour, British Legion Standard Bearers, a Guest of Honour and music provided by the Shaftesbury Silver Band. It is open to members of the public and is a truly memorable occasion.
Parish Church of St George
The 15th century Fovant Parish Church has a number of Australian and Canadian First World War (1914-1918) war graves.
Visitors to St. Georges can find a copy of a booklet near the entrance to the church that lists the location of all graves in the churchyard.
For a list of the soldiers buried in the graveyard, go to Web:  Fovant Badges/ War Graves    External Link
The number prefixing each name in the website list is the location of the grave.
Contact & Further Information
The Fovant Badges Society
Telephone  +44 (0)1722 714 782
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.      (Hon Secretary)
Website   The Fovant Badges Society    External Link
Getting There
- By Car (Recommended Method)
From the London M25 ring road, at take the M3. At Junction 8 exit on to the A303 west to the A34/A30 interchange. Take the A30 to Salisbury and then the A36 west to Wilton. Pick up the A30 again heading west to Fovant – about 5 miles (8Km).
An alternate route is the M4 from London. Exit at Junction 17 and follow the A350 south past Chippenham, Trowbridge, through Westbury to Shaftesbury. At Shaftesbury take the A30 east to Fovant.
The approximate Post Code is SP3 5JF. There is a lay-by in each direction on the A30 – parking there will give you the best view of the badges. Visitors are welcome to the 'Badges Lay-By' and please remember to place a donation in the collection box before you leave!
- By Rail & Local Bus
South West Trains depart London Waterloo Station approximately every half hour to Exeter St Davids. Get off at Salisbury Station. Journey time is approximately 90 minutes.
Then take the Salisbury Reds Bus Group service No26/27 from Salisbury Railway Station or Salisbury Bus Station in the City Centre towards Shaftesbury. Journey time is about 25 minutes.
For Train: Departure times go to  Web:   National Rail Enquiries    External Link
For Bus:   Departure times go to  Web:   Connecting Wiltshire/ Journey Planner    External Link
                                   or go to  Web:   Traveline South West/ Trip Selector        External Link
Google Maps - Fovant Badges 


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