Willow Walk Programme

( this programme and sites may be subject to change during this planning phase)

Arena Timetable coming soon

Georgian Military displays and encampments

Meet Soldiers from the period, representing a number of regiments (and sides!) will set up an encampment and provide activities and demonstrations of military and camp life, including; drill parades, musket firing, cooking and food preparation, soldiers and officers tents, cameos, roll calls and pay parades, to illustrate the period and the military conflicts in which Britain fought.  At this site you will be able to wander and learn about life for Napoleonic military families.

2nd Battalion 95th Rifles

Since its formation in 1998 the group’s aim has been to represent the riflemen of Wellington’s army just as they would have been whilst on active service during the Peninsular War (1808-1814) and the Waterloo Campaign of 1815.

The uniforms and equipment are based on examination of original examples, research into the uniform regulations and study of contemporary images in order to create as accurate an image as possible. Drills and tactics are also taken from extensive research into, and experimentation with, the drill manuals of the time.

Living history displays will demonstrate the way of life of women and children of the unit through living history re-enactment you will see for yourself the way of life for a family of a Napoleonic soldier. Meals are based upon period recipes and cooked over an open fire, which is at the heart of the camp.

The 95th Rifles become quite famous in the public eye through the popular television series ‘Sharpe’ starring Sean Bean in 1993, which was based upon novels by Bernard Cornwell.

32nd (Cornwall) Regiment of Foot

First raised in 1702 by Colonel Edward Fox as ‘Edward Fox’s Regiment of Marines’ to fight in the War of Spanish Succession, the regiment was renamed as the 32nd Regiment of Foot in 1751.  During the Napoleonic period, from 1808 to 1814, the 32nd Regiment was heavily involved in the Peninsular War, fighting in a number of key battles including Salamanca.  In 1815, two days after helping to halt the French advance at the Battle of Quatre Bras, the regiment was stationed in the centre of Wellington’s army at the Battle of Waterloo.  They fought stoically, eventually helping to defeat Napoleon’s troops, but suffered the heaviest loss of any British regiment; starting with 647 men of all ranks on 16th June 1815, after two days of fighting reportedly just 131 men were left standing.

79th Regiment of Foot

Portraying history and re-enacting life as it would have been in the 79th Cameron Highlanders Regiment during the Peninsular Wars and up to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Recreating, as authentically as possible, the everyday life for the soldiers and their families within the regiment, using costume, muskets, drill and food cooked to authentic recipes and day to day routine life in the camp.

Proud of their living history the group also aims to provide an insight into the camp life of a regiment of that period.

Association of Crown Forces

Formed in 1982, following several years of in-depth research, the Association of Crown Forces (1776) became the first UK re-enactment society to specialise in the American War of Independence. Over the years they have visited just about every English Heritage site, many of the National Trust, county shows and individual historical venues such as Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the national Army Museum. Television opportunities have also presented themselves with such programmes as ‘The Border Country’, Richard Holmes excellently presented ‘War Walks’ and Simon Schama’s documentary ‘Rough Crossings’.

The group portrays the flank companies of the Coldstream Guards, the light infantry and grenadiers, as they appeared at the start of the American War of Independence and also have a number of members who portray the non-combatant camp followers and families in their living history encampment.

Napoleonic Redcoat Soldiers

British Soldiers from a number of regiments will set up a series of Napoleonic encampments and provide activities and demonstrations of military and camp life, including; recruiting for King George and taking the King’s shilling, drill parades, musket firing, cooking and food preparation, soldiers and officers tents, cameos, role calls and pay parades, to illustrate the period and the military conflicts in which Britain fought.   The weekend will also include a look at life on campaign, a Soldier’s Wife’s story, the opportunity to meet the soldiers and camp followers and a full timetable of arena displays.

HMS Royal Marines

You will be able to witness Musket displays and drill demonstrations. Meet Admiral Nelson’s Jacktars and the Royal Marines of the late 18th Century, and find out about life on board in the times of Trafalgar and Waterloo!

Georgian Trades & Crafts

Pole-lathe Turning

Watch our professional pole-lathe turner make furniture of the period using a man-powered pole-lathe, an exciting and visual method of working.  Find out about furniture of the era and the cost of producing chairs and tables in the Georgian period.

Georgian Dyer

Discover about dying clothes and other items during the Georgian period.  Find out about the use of various plant dyes and minerals to dye cloth.  Watch as our dyer prepares various colours and the variety of colours available during the period.  An amazing display that will educate and entertain visitors.


The 18th century was a particularly exciting time for studying the cosmos, as Isaac Newton had finally settled that the earth circles the sun!

Early in the century Edmund Halley, the Astronomer Royal, had predicted that a strange comet seen several times in history would return in 1758 – Halley died in 1742, would his prediction come true?   Meanwhile a common clockmaker called Harrison had proposed to the Royal Astronomical Society that one of his clocks could solve the difficult problem of measuring longitude at sea! Naturally the Society was scornful of this idea, believing that only learned astronomers could solve the problem, so they refused to take him seriously. Who will turn out to be right?

Many other matters interest our Georgian Astronomer, Mr Greene, such as predicting and observing eclipses of the sun, how to use astronomy to measure the size of the earth, and the uses of the ancient Arab instrument called the astrolabe. He will be only too pleased to discuss these matters, and if the moon is really made of green cheese, with anyone who cares to enquire.

The Square Programme

By the beginning of the 18th century, the influence of British naval power had opened up trade routes across the known world, merchants and traders often became very wealthy by using these routes to import new, luxury goods into England.

The cost of protecting this trade fell to the Navy, and thus to the British government. It seemed obvious that those who were profiting from international trading should contribute to the cost of policing it. So a list was drawn up of luxury items that would be subject to import tax. By 1760 this list numbered over 800 items. This, plus the Excise Duty, which had been introduced during the English Civil War in order to offset the cost of the conflict, (which still exists today as VAT!), meant that a large proportion of the cost of most luxury items, were taxed!

The opportunity for making money from smuggling was great and provided the perfect venue for “free traders” to operate in.

Isaac Gulliver – King of the Smugglers

Come and meet Wimborne’s famous, or infamous, smuggler and find out about his life and adventures! Discover about smuggling gin, silk, lace and tea and all dressed in Georgian smock clothing.

Come and meet his crew at the Smuggling Boat a 27ft long Georgian Smuggling Boat will take centre stage on the Square, the boat would have been used to ferry smugglers, like Isaac Gulliver, and his supplies from ship to shore to gain access to the small coves on the Dorset coastline and avoid detection by the Royal Navy and Customs & Exercise men.

There will be interactive displays, talks and demonstrations with the smuggling crew on hand throughout the day to tell you all about navigation, seafaring, sea-cooking, net and rope making, trade and life on board ship during the period.

Children’s Pirate Cannon Game – children can fire a mock cannon and learn all about the role of smugglers!  Great fun and no loud bangs!

The Minster Green Programme

Children’s Puppet Theatre – Smuggling

Back by popular demand –Punch and Judy, but as you have never seen them before.  Mr Punch is confronted by the Duke of Wellington who proposes to enlist him into his army to fight against Napoleon!  Or meet the Smugglers’ – catch all the fun – and don’t forget to join in!  (check wording is correct for this with Rob)

Children’s Georgian Pottery Making Workshop capturing their imaginations through art and design.  Let they try their hand and take home their finished item.

The Georgian period saw a growing trend for tea drinking with its accompanying pottery, and also the very first Toby jugs appeared for the amusement of beer drinkers, where the fashionable tricorne hat worn by the pottery figure provided a perfect lip for the jug.

Children’s Georgian Games

Have a go at a traditional game played during Georgian times– play with ball and cup, quoits, peg dolls and hobby horses, and discover nine mans morris and post-mills!

The Museum of East Dorset Programme

The Museum will be open and entry will be free, so this is a great opportunity to come and see the amazing transformation that has taken place at the Museum of East Dorset (formerly Priest’s House). The Cafe will also be open where you can enjoy refreshments in the beautiful Gardens.

18th Century Food & Diet

Using the Museum’s wonderful Georgian Kitchen, watch Georgian recipes being prepared, learn about the ingredients and who would have enjoyed the treats on offer.

18th Century Tea Making

How much did tea cost, how was it sold and what was the etiquette for making, serving and drinking?  A fascinating demonstration of this time-honoured tradition in the Georgian era.

Allendale House – East Dorset Heritage Trust

Georgian Pastimes, Hobbies, Games and Handicrafts

How did people while away their time in Georgian days?  Come along and find out what card games were fashionable, what stitching ladies did and more.

Georgian Barber Surgeon (Medicine)

Learn about health and disease from our Georgian Surgeon, demonstrations will show how wounds and diseases were treated, using traditional methods and practices of the period.  Discover blood letting – great fun for all the family!

Walford Mill

Wander down to the Mill to enjoy the open studios and meet the Makers. There will be a variety of childrens free workshops in the courtyard whilst parents can relax with a cuppa at Happycino’s

Full activity Programme to be confirmed

Further venues will be announced in due course.