About Fovant Badges
The Fovant Badges are a collection of regimental badges cut into a chalk hill outside Fovant in south west Wiltshire, UK.
History of the Fovant Badges
The first badges were created in 1916, by soldiers garrisoned in Fovant prior to dispatch to France. The church in Fovant was full of war graves of Australian and British soldiers, so the badges were in remembrance of their fallen comrades.
It’s unclear how many carvings were completed between 1916 and 1918, but by 1918, 20 badges were still visible and identifiable. Only 9 of these remain today.
Carving the outline was the straightforward part: they were then filled with up to 50 tons of chalk each, transported from nearby hillsides. Some estimates suggest it took up 50 men a period of 6 months to complete each badge.
The badges were allowed to grow over during the Second World War as they were an obvious landmark for the Luftwaffe. They were once again restored following the end of the war in 1945 by members of the local Home Guard.
Fovant Badges today
The badges are recognised as scheduled ancient monuments, and have been recognised as war memorials by the Imperial War Museum. From left to right, the badges that can still be seen today are: the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, the YMCA, the 6th (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment, the Australian Commonwealth Military Force, the Royal Corps of Signals, the Wiltshire Regiment, the 5th (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment, the 8th (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment and the Devonshire Regiment.
The badges are visible from the road – there’s a small sign which details more about the individual badges. Otherwise, it’s possible to park nearby and walk up to the badges through the surrounding countryside. The Fovant Downs are idyllic, and on a sunny day the walk is glorious.
Getting to the Fovant Badges
The badges are visible on the A30 (Salisbury – Shaftesbury) as it exits Fovant heading south east. It’s possible to park in the nearby village of Broadchalke and walk a circuit via the badges (just over 10km), otherwise many choose to park in verges off the road much closer and go cross country from there.