Since 1897 the rolling chalk downland of Salisbury Plain has been dominated by the affairs of the army, whose presence has deterred the inquiring eyes of casual observers. Stonehenge and the numerous archaeological remains that can be found on the Plain, however, constantly remind us that people have lived in the region for hundreds of years. Although a seemingly bleak and inhospitable place, it has provided ideal grazing for multitudes of sheep, and villages have gradually developed along its valley. The photographs in this fascinating selection paint a vivid picture of life on the Plain since the days of Queen Victoria and record the dramatic transformation the area has undergone in the hands of the War Department. They offer glimpses of life in the villages, in the town of Amesbury, and in enigmatic Imber - a tragic casualty of the Second World War - in the days before the soldiers, and chronicle the emerging army camps. The final selection is an overview of Salisbury Plain as seen through the camera of Austin Underwood, a commercial photographer and journalist who knew the area intimately.
Drawn largely from private collections and published here for the first time, around 200 photographs take us into the heart of this mysterious region and bring old faces and places to life. Jointly complied by two of Wiltshire's most popular and widely-read authors, the combination of social history and nostalgia within these evocative pages will be enjoyed by military enthusiasts, residents past and present, and visitors, and appeal to all those with an interest in Wiltshire's history