During the First World War, thousands of British and Australian soldiers were camped in temporary huts in the fields to the south of Sutton Mandeville, undergoing training and preparation for the battlefields of France and Belgium.
Soldiers from various regiments were present between 1915 and 1918, among them the 7th Battalion of the London Regiment (known as the Shiny 7th) and The Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Soldiers of the Shiny 7th and the Warwickshires carved their regimental cap badges on the chalk downland of Sutton Down. These were cared for by the Fovant Badges Association until the 1990s, after which they became overgrown.
The badges are now looked after by the Sutton Mandeville Heritage Trust, formed in 2014 to promote the conservation and protection of the natural and historic environment surrounding Sutton Mandeville. And also to learn more about and raise awareness of the soldiers who trained in the area during WW1.
In 2017 a project to uncover the badges and restore them to their former condition began, with further renovation work carried out in 2018-19.
The main focus of activity since has been a series of presentations at shows and festivals as well as ‘working picnics’, when members go onto the badges to cut vegetation and carry out other tasks.
Working Picnics 2022 programme - 30 April & 21 May
If you have a family connection or some other association with people whose military service brought them to Sutton Mandeville, please contact the Trust:
Post: Sutton Mandeville Heritage Trust, Yew Tree Barn, Sutton Mandeville, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 5NE
More information about the project, membership of the Trust and volunteering opportunities can be found here:
The Sutton Badges website: https://suttonbadges.org.uk
Finding your way to the Badges and Camps
Military activity in Sutton Mandeville during the First World War was centred on Manor Farm on today's A30 between Wilton /Salisbury in the east and Shaftesbury in the west. Manor Farm is about 1½ miles (2.4km) west of Fovant.
The Shiny 7th and Royal Warwickshire badges can be seen clearly on the side of the downs at Buxbury Hill, to the south of the A30.
The camps at Sutton Mandeville were to the north and south of the A30 road (blue areas shown on maps above /right). There is nothing now visible of these above ground and the fields are in private ownership.
L (layby) and B (bus stops) shown.
There is a good network of rights of way around Sutton Mandeville.
The north slope of the downs - where the badges are situated overlooking the sites of the former camps - is open access land.
On the hillside you can visit both badges and enjoy fantastic views across the camps and the wider landscape.
The area is ideal for exploring on foot, by bicycle and on horseback. Buxbury Hill extends northwards from the main trend of the downs, which are topped by the Shaftesbury drove. There are routes from Buxbury and the drove down to the A30 and numerous rights of way between Sutton Mandeville, Swallowcliffe, Fovant and other villages along the Nadder Valley.
Public transport is available by bus routes along the A30; the badges overlook request bus stops ('Chicksgrove Turn') going in both directions. The nearest railway station is at Tisbury, about 4 miles (6.4km) away.