Skip to content

The Bulford Chalk Kiwi

One of our must-sees was the Bulford Kiwi in Wiltshire, not far from Stonehenge.

But try as I might, both online and locally, there was a lack of information about how to get to the kiwi.

With the help of Google maps I came up with a plan of attack. Hopefully the information in this post will be useful to others also wanting to find the kiwi.

About the kiwi:

The Bulford Kiwi is a huge kiwi bird designed with white chalk into Beacon Hill above Bulford Military Camp.

It was built in 1919 by New Zealand soldiers who were waiting to come home after the end of World War One. They were based in Sling Camp, an annex to Bulford Camp. While they awaited repatriation, the troops got restless – and a bit disorderly. The kiwi was devised as a project to occupy them constructively.

Sling Camp was big, being home to over 4000 NZ troops. It was pulled down in the 1920s but the kiwi was left. This is a great photo of Sling Camp and kiwi back in the day.

Interestingly, during World War Two the kiwi was disguised to avoid it being used as a navigation marker. In the late 1940s a local scout group began a project to uncover the kiwi which actually resulted in them having to re-cut it out of the hill. How fantastic that they did this.

For the last few years, the Ministry of Defence has taken responsibility for maintaining the kiwi.

My genealogist mother first thought there had been a family connection with Sling Camp, but further research discounted this. Never mind, it didn’t diminish the desire to see this historical Kiwi landmark such a long way from home.

Bulford Camp retains the odd reminder of its NZ connection

The kiwi is visible on Google Maps satellite view – search for Gallipoli Rd in Bulford Camp; the kiwi is to the right and down a bit.

For a close encounter with the kiwi:

Bulford Camp is separate to but near the town of Bulford. Set your satnav (you’re a bit barmy to contemplate driving in the UK without one!) for the intersection of Gaza Rd and The Crescent.

We found a parking space there just off the road. From that point Gaza Rd becomes a path through the woods, and to get to the kiwi it’s maybe a 15-20 minute walk.

Note that some of the roads on the map are more like paths and cannot take vehicles, including half of Gaza Rd and all of Gallipoli Rd. I have since wondered if they date back to the days of Sling Camp and were no longer required when the camp was disestablished.

We were unsure whether we could or should use the trail. But we had come too far and were prepared to take the risk. Later on when mum asked the person serving in the local post office, he said that unless there are signs expressly forbidding public entry, it is ok.

This seemed to be where the path started so we left the car and ventured into the woods

One of mum’s pics – dad on an especially nice section of path through the woods.

You can either follow the woods path in a straight line and pop out at the base of Beacon Hill, or venture through an opening to the left.

Popping out of the woods, you join this track to the end of this straight before trekking up the hill

Beacon Hill isn’t a mountain by any means but does have a decent gradient so reasonable footwear is a must. It’s also pretty rough…

The hillside was littered with diggings – from moles maybe?

Once you start up the hill, veer over to the right and there, finally, should be the bottom of the kiwi. That was a pretty exciting moment.

Kiwi feet!

It was designed to be seen from a distance and at this proximity you simply cannot see it in its entirety. Further down this page are directions to a viewing spot further away.

Kiwi legs!

“NZ” – to give you an idea of scale, these letters are 20m long

Kiwi beak!

The kiwi is fenced off but you can get beyond the fence in a civilised manner when you get to the top.

Once you’ve trekked up the hill you can access the site through this gate

Plaque inside the kiwi enclosure

View from Beacon Hill. Sling Camp had been located on the ground below

So happy to have succeeded!

From up here I scanned the horizon for a road that could give us a good front-on view of the kiwi. With a bit of an idea in mind, we returned to the car back the way we came.

A good place to view the kiwi:

Set the satnav for the corner (if possible) of Bulford Droveway and Sheepbridge Road. This is a little way out of town. Pull off into the large dirt layby area. One of the dirt military roads leading off from here is almost straight ahead from Sheepbridge Rd, up a slight incline. Head up here; mind the ruts and holes!

We drove up this road – there were no signs screaming that we couldn’t

And up the rise on the flat, you can indeed see the kiwi.

It was the perfect road to get a view back to the kiwi

The end of a successful mission – I was very happy.

About these ads
24 Comments
  1. Marnie #

    Cool Kiwi
    (Why doesn’t Kool Ciwi have the same ring!)

    15 July 2012
    • Ciwi just looks wrong!

      15 July 2012
  2. You might be interested to know there is a ‘Kiwi Primary School’ in Bulford. Also there is another collection of military chalk badges not far away at Fovant: http://www.fovantbadges.com/index.htm

    25 July 2012
    • Good to know – thank you. I like the kiwi symbols on their website, and I hadn’t heard of those badges, unfortunately, as otherwise we would’ve tried to fit in a drive by.

      26 July 2012
  3. Penny Griffith #

    Hayley your pictures (excellent) and directions were SO helpful. We (on a similar mission to you of experiencing the environs of someone who was in Sling Camp in 1917) also climbed up to the Kiwi and it was such a good thing to do. Not as good weather as you but got some shots when the rain abated. Thanks again! Penny.

    5 August 2012
    • You’ve made my day with that feedback Penny, I’m so pleased it was useful. thank you

      5 August 2012
  4. Hi Hayley,

    Thanks for the info on the viewling location – perfect. We had been to the actual Kiwi previously for a picnic, but had trouble finding a good viewing location. Took a fellow NZ’er there on our 110km ANZAC day ride yesterday, he loved it.

    Mike

    26 April 2013
    • Rapt to hear that! Great idea for an Anzac outing. Thanks for coming back to leave a comment.

      26 April 2013
  5. Excellent, nothing beats first-hand photos and coverage of the events.

    9 August 2013
  6. What a wonderful, whimsical thing! Thanks for posting about this site!

    15 February 2014
  7. darren cox #

    Very well detailed story. I live in the village of bulford and is a great place as for the kiwi overlooking the spectacular view of the salisbury plain

    20 March 2014
    • Hi Darren, thank you. I’m really glad to have visited the Bulford area and been able to find the kiwi. Such a great piece of history to have on your doorstep.

      20 March 2014
  8. Hi Hayley, I’m so glad I found your blog post about the Bulford Kiwi! I’ve been living on the south coast of England, one and a half hours drive away from the Kiwi for the past 23 years and I didn’t even know it existed!

    My husband Stuart (a Brit) and I went to see it yesterday following your fantastic directions and photos. It was a great day and I even got a little emotional!

    I put some photos on facebook and they’ve created quite a bit of interest. I also told a fellow Kiwi who lives around here and showed him my photos and gave him the link to this blog post. I’m sure he’ll make it there sometime soon too. Here’s the link to my photo album if you’re interested, they’re pretty similar to yours though!

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152364298898522.1073741831.532448521&type=1&l=30f71c9e9c

    Such a shame there isn’t a better place to view it from.

    Anyway, thanks again!

    Megan
    Quirky Kiwi

    21 April 2014
    • Hi Megan

      That’s fantastic! I’m very happy you found the information useful. It’s pretty hard case that you live reasonably close by!

      Your FB album is great and I love that you’ve elevated a couple to be your profile and cover photos for a while :)

      Thanks so much for returning here to leave the comment.

      regards
      Hayley

      21 April 2014
      • Hi Hayley,

        Glad you like my photos! And of course I just had to tell you how useful your instructions were, you have to give credit where credit is due! :-D

        Megan

        23 April 2014
  9. Awesome post. Love the pics and directions.

    22 April 2014
    • Thanks very much Joe.

      23 April 2014
  10. Anne Conroy #

    Thanks for the detailed in instructions on how to get to the kiwi – I’m heading over in September and it is part of my WWI pilgrimage to visit Bulford in memory of my Great Uncles who trained at Sling before they were sent to France. My grandfather was at Ewshot so it’s going to be quite a trip :-)

    8 June 2014
    • Hi Anne, that sounds like a fantastic trip, you will enjoy connecting with those important places in your family history. Thanks very much for leaving a comment. I hope you find the kiwi without any problems – if once you’ve been there you think of a way to improve these directions, let me know and I can update the page.

      8 June 2014
  11. Stephen Blenkarne #

    Sling Camp (Bulford) kiwi: designed by my grandfather, Percy Cecil Blenkarne. He studied a kiwi displayed in a museum to get the correct dimensions. Cherished piece of family history.
    Steve Blenkarne

    11 August 2014
    • Hi Steve – how fantastic! As proud of him as you all must be, he would surely be pretty chuffed that it’s still going strong today.

      11 August 2014
  12. I’m having to close the comments on all older pages due to the increasing amounts of spam that has been able to sneak through the filters! Grrrr.

    30 August 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Neolithic monuments, river locks & other things on the way to Hampshire « tall tales | a travel blog
  2. Mike’s ANZAC day 100 ride » girodilento

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 202 other followers

%d bloggers like this: