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Archive for April, 2012

The first formation to be reported in 2012. It was first reported on Sunday 15th April and is in oilseed rape (canola/colza) measuring approx. 140 feet in diameter. A pretty 12 pointed double flower at Lurkeley Hill on the outskirts of the village of East Kennett close to Marlborough in Wiltshire

East Kennett, Wiltshire
Crop Circle 2012
 This is a beautiful pattern to open the 2012 season, although because we were unable to photograph it straight away (the pictures here were taken when the formation was approximately 5 days old), we assume the plants have sprung back up quite a lot. 

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Wiltshire Crop Circles

In the early 1970’s Crop circles used to be unexplained patterns that were generally found in corn fields – hence the terminology ‘corn circles’. However, in more recent years teams of ‘circle-makers’ within the South of England have openly admitted creating some of these fantastic formations, and have constructed them in crops as diverse as Linseed and Rapeseed.

Most frequently these art forms have appeared in Wiltshire near ancient monuments that are themselves considered to be built on sites of powerful natural energies. Many people believe that it’s no coincidence that the phenomenon appears close to these ancient sites, and some have even reported crop circles forming in under 20 seconds under incandescent or brightly coloured balls of light.

Whatever you choose to believe about the crop circle phenomenon, there is no doubt that the circles are responsible for attracting huge amounts of media attention, which consequently results in thousands of visitors coming to Wiltshire every year in order to catch a glimpse of some of the more spectacular ones.

Link: http://www.wccsg.com
Link:  http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/

Needless to say we will be offering guided tours of all the best formations in the Wiltshire throughout 2012

HisTOURies UK
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

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The Chalke Valley History Festival is planning to launch a series of History Tours in 2012, some in conjunction with the Natural High travel company.

We want to capitalise on our relationship with this country’s most compelling and authoritative historians by offering some as guides for historic tours and holidays.

Both dates and itineraries are yet to be confirmed, as are costs.  However, we are very interested to know whether there is demand for the idea from those who have enjoyed our Festival.

These Chalke Valley History Tours will vary between a few days and a week’s duration, and will be of general rather than specialist interest.

Below are some of the initial tours we are hoping to organise in our first programme of History Tours.  If you would like to learn more about them, please do let us know on info@cvhf.org.uk

THE INDIAN MUTINY
led by Professor Saul David
It began as a mutiny of East India Company sepoys in Meerut in May 1857 and was only contained after the fall of Gwalior a year later.  It rocked the British Empire to its foundations and led to the downfall of the Company.  This tour, by the world’s leading authority on the subject, will tell the story of the Indian Mutiny by visiting its main sites amidst the drama of central India.

Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and a specialist in the wars of the Victorian period.  He is particularly well placed to lead this tour; not only is he well-known and popular television historian, the Indian Mutiny was the subject matter of his PhD, and his subsequent book is considered the definitive history of this dark episode from the Raj.

ANCIENT ROME
led by Tom Holland
Was it the greatest empire the world has ever seen?  Certainly, it lasted almost a thousand years and incorporated, at its zenith, most of the known world.  This tour will focus on the city of Rome and those towns to the south, Pompeii and Herculaneum, recapturing the spirit and glory of Ancient Rome.

Tom Holland is an award-winning and highly acclaimed historian of antiquity.  Rubicon, his book on the rise and fall of the Roman Republic, was an international best-seller and was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize.  He is currently working on a new book about the first Emperors.  A brilliant raconteur, Tom Holland is working exclusively for Chalke Valley History Holidays.

THE ZULU WARS
led by Dr Peter Caddick-Adams
The Battle of Isandlwana and the defence of Rorke’s Drift are two of the most dramatic events in the British Imperial story.  For the victors of each, both were triumphs over incredible odds; at Isandlwana, it was the Zulus who won the day, while at Rorke’s Drift, it was the British, in one of the most astonishing last stands in British history.  At both, many men on both sides showed incredible courage.  This tour to some of the most unspoiled battlefields in the world, will tell the story and characters of a war that resonates still to this day, and against the captivating landscape of South Africa.

Peter Caddick-Adams is the doyen of battlefield guides.  Learning his craft from the legendary Richard Holmes, he also chose Battlefield Tourism as the subject matter for his PhD.  Since then, he has worked with British and American armed forces on numerous staff rides, as well as guided politicians and leading public figures around some of the best-known battlefields in Europe and further afield.  Quite simply, Peter Caddick-Adams is one of the very best Battlefield Guides we have.

D-DAY & THE BATTLE FOR NORMANDY 1944
led by James Holland
The Battle for Normandy was one of the fiercest battles ever fought, with higher daily casualty rates than were suffered at the Somme, Passchendaele or Verdun.  From the landings themselves to the bitter fighting as the Allies inched inland, this is a tour that will include little-known sites and bunkers as well as some of the more iconic beaches and D-Day locations.  Told with a mass of anecdotes and new, searing, analysis, this will be a comprehensive guide to the D-Day battlefields, and set to the backdrop of the glorious Normandy countryside, with its wonderful food, wine and calvados.

James Holland is one of the country’s leading authorities on the Second World War, and has written and broadcast on the Battle of Britain and Dams Raid amongst other subjects. With an encyclopaedic knowledge and understanding of the war, he has also conducted Staff Rides for the military and a number of historic tours around many of the Second World War battlefields.

The excellent Chalke Valley History Festival 26th June – 1st July 2012 – http://www.cvhf.org.uk/

HisTOURies UK
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

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A major West museum which last week feared it would have to close in a funding crisis has been saved and will be better than ever thanks to a whopping £370,000 lottery bonanza.

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum has been awarded the cash by the Heritage Lottery Fund at the end of a month which started with local council chiefs refusing its pleas for more cash.

The lottery money will not only save the museum’s immediate future, but create a new gallery focusing on its prize collections of Bronze Age artefacts.

The Devizes-based museum has long been recognised as housing one of Britain’s most important prehistoric collections outside of London, but after Wiltshire Council refused to increase its annual grant, raised the level of council tax the museum had to pay and reinforced a costly pensions deal, the museum said redundancies would follow and the museum could end up being mothballed. But now the future is bright for the museum after the successful lottery bid, which has been made as part of the beneficial ripple effect of the £25million plan to revive the visitor experience at Stonehenge.

Museum chairman Negley Harte said “We are delighted as this project is vital for the future sustainability of the museum. “The grants from the HLF and English Heritage will enable us to develop this new gallery to tell the stories of this unique collection in a more engaging way. It will bring more visitors to the museum, help us with our battle to make the museum financially sustainable and bring economic development to Devizes,” he added. The new gallery will tell the story of the people who built and used the world renowned monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury. The new Prehistoric Galleries will provide an opportunity to display for the first time in generations the unique gold and amber finds from Wiltshire that date back to the Bronze Age, over 4,000 years ago. “This was a time of shaman and priests, learning and culture and contacts across Europe.

The museum will be able to build on its existing learning and outreach programme, and inspire local people and visitors to become engaged and informed about the prehistoric landscapes of Wiltshire,” added a museum spokesman. Regional Heritage Lottery Fund boss Richard Bellamy said the links between the museum at Devizes and Wiltshire’s famous Neolithic sites were key. “These Neolithic and Bronze Age collections provide a fascinating insight into our prehistoric past, and they have the potential to play a key role in telling the wider story of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site,” he said.

Source: http://www.thisisbath.co.uk

HisTOURies UK
Mysical Landscape, Magical Tors

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