Calne is a lively, market town which first came to prominence in AD 978 when St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, met the Witenagemont to discuss important religious and secular issues. Calne prospered in the Middle Ages by becoming a centre for the production of woollen broadcloth. Wealthy clothiers built mills powered by the River Marden and created fine houses that can still be seen around The Green. Beautiful St Mary's Church is a legacy of their generosity and inside is a memorial to Dr. Jan Ingen-Housz, the pioneer of vaccination, who lived in Calne from 1779 until his death in 1799.
In 1775, whilst residing in Calne, natural philosopher, chemist and theologian Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen during experiments that took place at nearby Bowood House.
The renowned romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge also stayed in Calne from 1814 to 1816 whilst writing his Biographia Literaria.
Calne prospered once again during the 18th and 19th centuries when the bacon curing business was created by the Harris family, who produced famous meat products until 1983. With prosperity came the Wilts and Berks Canal which opened in 1810. The Chippenham to Calne branch opened in 1801 and, with the recently renovated town lock, can still be seen meandering through Castlefields Park.
As a result of the success of the Harris business the railway came to Calne in 1863. When the line was closed down in 1965 it was developed into a national cycle and walking route winding its way through beautiful countryside.
Today, visitors can enjoy the historic buildings of the town, riverside walks, antique shops, old coaching inns, the Friday and Saturday markets and the many varied events that take place in the town. The famous Calne Bike Meet, Duck Race, music festivals, and the Summer and Winter Festivals are favourites for people from near far to enjoy.
Along the A4 the town gives way to the open countryside of the Wiltshire Downs, ideal for walking, cycling and horse riding and at Cherhill is Wiltshire's most dramatic White Horse carved on the chalk hillside in 1863 below Oldbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort, and the 19th century Lansdowne monument.
The active Town Council runs fabulous facilities at Beversbrook Sports and Community Facility, and at the Grade II listed Town Hall, sited in the heart of the community. It also works hard to ensure that there are plenty of free and out of doors activities for all the family to enjoy in Calne, from the fascinating Blue Plaque Walk, to the Calne Canal Trail, the Nature Trail and Penn Wood.
Calne Visitor and Community Information Centre is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 12noon. Visitors will receive a warm welcome and can pick up lots of information about the wealth of things to see and do.
Calne welcomes you!
Motor museum with vintage, post-vintage and classic cars, including American models. The Museum...1.23 miles away
Outstanding 18th century mansion house estate.1.96 miles away
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The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust has been in existence for more than 50 years.
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Family friendly, self guided Visitor Centre and interactive exhibition – Free entry
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