infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 51.4353
longitude= -2.00427
official_name= Calne
population= 13,606Cite web|url=|title=Calne Census Information|accessdate=2007-04-22|publisher=Wiltshire County Council|work=Wiltshire Community History]
shire_district= North Wiltshire
shire_county = Wiltshire
region= South West England
constituency_westminster= Devizes
post_town= CALNE|postcode_district = SN11
postcode_area= SN |dial_code= 01249
os_grid_reference= ST998707

Calne is a town in central Wiltshire, England. It is situated at the southern extreme of the county's North Wiltshire* local government district and at the northwestern extremity of the North Wessex Downs hill range, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
*Note that as from April 2009, North Wiltshire District Council will be no more as the county is going under a unitary authority and all district councils will be taken over by Wiltshire County Council.

It lies on the River Marden, the Wilts & Berks Canal and the A4 road 19 miles (30 km) east of Bath, 6 miles (10 km) east of Chippenham and 90 miles (145 km) west of London. It is a small (though expanding) town with a population of 13,606 according to the 2001 Census (14,800 est. 2006).


In AD 978 Calne was the site of a two-storey building with a hall on the first floor. It was here that St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury met with the Witenagemot in order to justify his Church reforms, which were causing great controversy due to the secular priests being replaced by Benedictine monks and the influence of landowners over churches on their lands being taken away. At one point Dunstan called upon God to support his cause, at which point the floor collapsed killing most of his opponents, whilst Dunstan and his cronies were in the part that survived. This was claimed as a miracle by Dunstan's supporters- although his opponents had other ideas.

Calne's best known industry was the Harris Pork processing facility that dominated the town architecturally and provided employment directly and indirectly to many of the residents until the early-1980s - at its closure in 1983 for example it employed over 2,000 people out of a town population of 10,000. It is said that the pork curing industry developed because pigs reared in Ireland were landed at Bristol and then herded to London through Calne. The factory started in the second half of the 18th century when brothers John and Henry Harris started businesses which merged in 1888 as C. & T. Harris & Co. The factory has now been fully demolished and the area where it used to be located redeveloped as shops, housing and a library. As a result of the closure of the factory unemployment in the town increased considerably and for much of the 1980s Calne suffered many of the problems more normally associated with large cities. Calne also had a significant woollen industry in the past, and evidence of this can be seen on The Green in Calne, where many buildings such as cloth mills involved in this industry remain.

The Porte Marsh Industrial Estate on the north side of the town now provides the bulk of the town's internal employment. It is home to around 100 companies in predominantly light industries and IT. The Belgian company Deceuninck has invested considerably in this area and operates two large facilities at Porte Marsh, notably a new production and distribution centre which now dominates the north side of town. Another significant employer is the Exception Group, a large electronics company. In 2006 plans to build a sizeable cement production plant on the Porte Marsh site were vigorously opposed by local residents and planning permission was refused by the council [cite web| title = This Is Wiltshire| date = 2007-02-08| url =
accessdate = 2007-04-23
] .

Modern Calne

During the late-1990s and early-2000s, Calne was considered to be one of the fastest-expanding towns in the South West England region, with a population projected to peak at around 16,000 by 2012.

The Lansdowne Park housing development (begun in the late-1990s and due for completion in 2008) has substantially increased the physical scale of the town, creating an entirely new northwestern suburb, including a new primary school, medical surgery and a small shopping area. This area has particularly attracted professional workers from traditionally more expensive areas such as Bath, Bristol, Marlborough and as far afield as the 'silicon valley' towns of central Berkshire.

Lansdowne Park is named to reflect the development's proximity to the seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne, which has resided at the nearby Bowood House country estate since 1784. The monument at the summit of nearby Cherhill Down is called the Lansdowne Monument.

Aside from the final completion of Lansdowne Park, small pockets of new housing developments are evident across the town, but on a far smaller scale. In October 2007, the go-ahead was granted for the creation of a major new £1m outdoor sports facility at Beversbrook on Calne's northern edge, which is currently under construction.

Notable architecture

Notable buildings in the town include St Mary's Church, an array of houses on The Green and the Town Hall. Of particular note is the new Library which has won awards for its innovative design and was opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2001.

Calne town centre is blessed with a number of attractive old buildings which are worthy of renovation and regeneration, but which have unfortunately been left to erode or have been shoddily redeveloped. There are also outline plans to redevelop the unsightly Phelps Parade shopping area in the town centre, an increasingly shabby-looking red brick shopping precinct which dates back to the early-1970s and does not fit kindly with the stonewall character of the town. Part of this precinct was demolished in August 2008, to be replaced with modern apartments and a new Woolworth's store by 2009.

The second major phase of central Calne's redevelopment is still at the planning stage. One idea is an attempt to attract proper restaurants into the town, which the town is almost completely bereft of, aside from a scattering of fast-food takeaways and a couple of Indian restaurants. Nearby towns such as Corsham, Devizes and Marlborough, all less populous than Calne, provide their residents with an array of high-quality culinary excursions.

However, since the demolition of the Harris pork factory and the completion of the first phase of redevelopment/regeneration in 2001, Calne has, in general, been successfully transformed into an attractive setting compared to its run-down image of the 1980s and 1990s. A substantial amount of scaffolding materialised across Calne town centre throughout 2007-2008 with a view to the renovation of several prominent buildings.

Transport and infrastructure

Calne's former railway station opened in 1863, the terminus of a branch line of the Great Western Railway from Chippenham. There was initially one intermediate stop - Stanley Bridge Halt. The opening of another quite late in the line's history - Black Dog Halt, was not enough to slow the inevitable decline. The branch closed as a result of the Beeching Axe in September 1965, having achieved the dubious distinction of making the biggest loss per mile of track of any line in the country.

A northern bypass (part of the A3102) was completed in 2001 and an eastern bypass is under consideration for possible construction in 2012.

The town centre suffers from heavy traffic congestion with large queues stretching along Wood Street, Curzon Street, Oxford Road and The Pippin most of the day. This is caused by North Wiltshire Council's decision to only allow single-file traffic between Curzon Street and Wood Street with traffic heading towards Wood Street having priority. The A4 through the town is usually close to gridlock during rush hours.

The M4 motorway at Junction 16 (Wootton Bassett/Swindon West) lies 13 miles (21 km) to the north of Calne, and the westbound M4 junction 17 just north of Chippenham is 12 miles (19 km) to the west. The closest main passenger airport is Bristol International Airport, 38 miles (61 km) to the southwest. Calne is also one the largest UK towns not served by a rail station, nor does it have a bus station, though in March 2007 it was designated as a National Express stop on route 403 from Bath to London via Heathrow Airport once a day. This service runs with Wheelchair Accessible coaches.

Development concerns

It is considered by many residents that a new eastern bypass may lead to the premature development of east Calne, with many residents believing that the town should be free from further expansion for a few years in order for it to fully absorb and sustain the current wave of development.

The general concern with modern Calne is that the town's facilities and infrastructure are not perceived to be growing exponentially with the rapidly rising population. For example, the town's only public sports centre, The White Horse Leisure Centre (built in 1976) had been allowed to become increasingly run-down and was eventually closed in March 2007, forcing many residents to either join more expensive private sports centres or travel to other areas for better facilities. Nearby towns such as Devizes and Marlborough, both smaller than Calne in terms of population, boast new sports centres and swimming pools. Nevertheless, a local consortium created in July 2007 had made the centre operational again by November 2007, making several improvements to the centre's interior.

Calne is also known for harbouring both the most prosperous and least prosperous communities in Wiltshire.


Aside from its Sainsbury's, Somerfield and Iceland supermarkets, Calne is somewhat lacking for residents seeking retail therapy. Several units remain empty and the town has witnessed its fair share of transient enterprises. However, an expansion of the Sainsbury's store in the town centre was completed in September 2007. Furthermore, a Tesco Express store opened in the Lansdowne Park district in December 2007, replacing the former One Stop outlet.

It is believed that once Phelps Parade has been successfully redeveloped (a part-redevelopment will be complete by summer 2009), the central business district will be able to attract chain outlets such as Woolworths, Wilkinsons, Argos and a larger Boots to the town. Most residents travel to Chippenham, Bath, Devizes, Marlborough, Swindon and even Bristol for a more fulfilling shopping experience beyond buying their groceries.


St Mary's, Calne [ [ St Mary's School Calne ] ] is regarded as one of the UK's most prestigious independent schools for girls, with sumptuous grounds and a modern sports centre.The John Bentley School [] is the local comprehensive high school situated on the southern periphery of Calne, and is a noted languages centre.

The closest further education institution is the Wiltshire College site in Chippenham (10 km / 6 miles away), although the college also has a small centre at The Green in Calne.

The closest higher education institution is the University of Bath campus at Claverdon Down in Bath, 18 miles (29 km) to the west. The university's Oakridge campus in east Swindon is 20 miles (32 km) to the northwest. Bath Spa University lies 24 miles (38 km) away at its Newton Park campus, west of Bath.


Calne is located in the Devizes constituency and governed by Calne Town Council [] , North Wiltshire District Council [] and Wiltshire County Council [] .

Notable inhabitants

Notable people from Calne include Saint Edmund, John Pym and the athlete Walter Goodall George who held the world record for the mile from 1886 to 1915. Walter Goodall George also held more than 13 world records for running at the time and still holds a world record simply for holding the mile record longer than anyone else. There are two plaques in Calne to commemorate his life. One one the front of the Town Hall and one at ground level just inside the recreation grounds.

Isaac Nichols ,a transported convict who became the first postmaster of Sydney, New South Wales was born here in 1770.

The country estate of Bowood House lies near Calne. It was here that Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in 1774; there is a plaque in the town centre commemorating this.

There is also a plaque on the wall of the house where Samuel Taylor Coleridge stayed from 1814 to 1816 as part of the Morgan household whilst writing his "Biographia Literaria".

Jan Ingenhousz repeated Joseph Preistley's experiments and found it was sunlight which acted upon the plants to create oxygen. Pavement display outside the Millennium library in Calne in his honour.

The singer-songwriter-author Julian Cope resided in a small village 7 km (4.5 miles) east of Calne, towards Avebury, until 2006, and lived in Calne itself for some years before he moved with his family to the village.

The actor David Hemmings lived in the Old Mill in Calne for many years up until his death in December 2003. His funeral was held at St. Mary's Church.

Local places of interest

* Cherhill White Horse - 5 km (3 miles) east of central Calne, carved into the south face of Cherhill Down, in the village of Cherhill (pronounced 'Che-rhill') on the A4 Calne - Marlborough road.
* Lansdowne Monument - situated close to the summit of Cherhill Down, the 38 m high (125 ft) stone needle provides impressive views of Calne and the surrounding landscape. The mountains of South Wales and Cleeve Hill in the western Cotswolds can be seen on particularly clear days.
* Bowood House (including the kilometre-long Bowood Lake) - an English Heritage site, is 5 km (3 miles) to the west of Calne, accessible via the village of Derry Hill.
* Avebury stone circle & Avenue (UNESCO World Heritage Site) - Europe's largest megalithic stone circle site is 12 km (7.5 miles) east of Calne.
* North Wessex Downs AONB - the range's highest summit is the Tan Hill-Milk Hill ridge near Allington, at 294 m (964 ft), 14.5 km (9 miles) southeast of Calne. This area is popular with hill walkers, and several hills over 250 m (820 ft) high are situated adjacent to Calne.
* A little further afield, Stonehenge is located 39 km (24 miles) south of the town.

Neither Avebury or Bowood House are signposted from the town, nor is the nearby historic city of Bath or major town of Swindon, both within 30 km (19 miles) of Calne.

Blackland Lakes is a large camping site on the southern edge of Calne which is popular with anglers and tourists alike. The 'lakes' themselves are in fact large angling pools.

Crop circles

Calne is also a cornerpoint of the Wiltshire crop circle triangle, which incorporates the area between Calne, Marlborough and Warminster where a large concentration of initially unexplained formations have appeared in corn fields across the area, particularly since the 1970s.

The majority (if not all) of these formations have been the handiwork of local hoaxers such as the famous Alton Barnes key formation, the 5-dice pattern opposite Silbury Hill, the crucifix formation at nearby Cherhill and numerous others. Crop circle makers use rudimentary instruments (usually the 'rope and rods' method) to manifest surprisingly large and complex patterns in the fields, many of which feature designs based on fractal geometry, ancient symbology or alien landings, as well as dream-inspired designs in the case of many local formations. However, a small number of recorded crop circles continue to defy explanation, though many scientists believe that as-yet unexplained micro-meteorological conditions rather than extraterrestrial visitations or Gaiaic forces are the cause of these. A local crop circle maker believes that the so-called experts have a vested interest in maintaining the mythology surrounding crop circle culture, since many designs claimed to possess biological or 'energy' anomalies are known to have been made by a local Calne hoaxer. This person, who has worked independently for many years, has never gone public but may release a website in the future containing all the notes and drawings used over the years.

The small 'Silent Circle' information centre and roadside cafe at Cherhill, just to the east of Calne, was a good source of 'enlightenment' for the many visitors to the area looking for something unworldly to appear (it sadly closed down in late-2007). Many people visit the area each year from all over the world in order to 'investigate' the crop circle phenomenon for themselves, especially in years which have witnessed high formation activity. There is also a popular crop circle pub called The Barge Inn at Honeystreet near Alton Barnes which offers camping on its grounds and where you can meet many self-made experts, mystics and cranks.

Calne Town F.C.

Founded in 1886, Calne Town Football Club play in the Western Football League Premier Division and finished in a respectable 5th position (of 20 teams) in the league table at the end of the 2005-2006 season. Their Bremhill View ground is located on the north side of the town close to the A3102 bypass.


Quemerford, Lansdowne Park, Curzon Park, Calne Marsh, Lickhill, North End, Bentley Grove.

Twin towns

Calne is twinned with the towns of :
*Charlieu in France
*Eningen in Germany
*Caln Township (note: Caln not Calne) in Pennsylvania, USA (which was so named because it was established by people from Calne, Wiltshire in the early eighteenth century)

Nearby villages and hamlets

Calne is surrounded by numerous settlements including :
*Beversbrook hamlet
*Compton Bassett
*Derry Hill
*Fishers Brook
*High Penn
*Lower Compton
*Mile Elm
*New Zealand
*Sandy Lane

Nearest towns and cities (centre to centre)

*Chippenham (10 km / 6 miles)
*Devizes (14 km / 9 miles)
*Melksham (14 km / 9 miles)
*Wootton Bassett (16 km / 10 miles)
*Corsham (17 km / 10.5 miles)
*Marlborough (21 km / 13 miles)
*Trowbridge (25 km / 16 miles)
*Swindon (27 km / 17 miles)
*Bath (30 km / 19 miles)
*Bristol (47 km / 29 miles)
*Salisbury 55 km / 34 miles)
*South Wales border near Chepstow (63 km / 39 miles)


External links

* []
* [ Historic Calne photos] at [ BBC Wiltshire]
* [ The place for the people of calne and it's surrounding area to have there say '']

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