The 2017 Chalke Valley History Festival has moved to Church Bottom in Broad Chalke – a hidden gem lying amidst ancient chalk pasture and narrow coombes. The new site is now closer to the City of Salisbury than the previous location and it has better access routes. Festival Programme Director, James Holland, said: “We’re obviously sad to be leaving Ebbesbourne Wake, as we’ve had five happy years there. But Church Bottom is also an absolutely stunning spot and still in the heart of the Chalke Valley, two factors we believe are of vital importance.”
The dates for this year’s Festival are Monday 26th June to Sunday 2nd July, with the Schools Festival for Year 6, 7 and 8 pupils on Tuesday 27th June and Thursday 29th June, and Year 10 and 12 students on Wednesday 28th June. Distinguished historians and well-known commentators are again headlining the speaker programme. Names include David Cannadine, Ken Clarke, Suzannah Lipscomb, Monty Don, David Owen, Artemis Cooper, Chris Patten, Don McCullin in conversation with Max Hastings, Philippe Sands, A.N. Wilson, Dan Snow, Harriet Harman, John Julius Norwich, Bettany Hughes, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Matt Frei, Claire Tomalin, Michael Frayn, Peter Frankopan, Jenni Murray, Antony Beevor, Anita Anand and William Dalrymple. There will also be a talk by Katrin Himmler, Heinrich Himmler’s great niece.
As in previous years, there will be another amazing line-up of historic war birds flying over the site during the weekend, as well as music and dancing at a specially-themed party on the Saturday night. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary not only of the Battle of Passchendaele but also of The Russian Revolution and the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, with both events being highlighted during the Festival week by Professors Robert Service and Catherine Merridale. There will also be two special study mornings which will include a seminar on the Napoleonic Wars and a special event featuring three German wartime Knight’s Cross winners who will be talking about their experiences. Plus, there will be more displays and demonstrations by living historians than ever before, all eager to share their passion for and knowledge of the past. There will be something to entertain or educate, whatever age you are.
Wiltshire SP5 5DP
Please follow the signs to the Festival rather than your SatNav
Nearest train station: Salisbury