Broad Chalk, or Broadchalke, is halfway along the Chalke Valley where the River Chalke flows in the River Ebble. The village sits on the banks of the river Ebble, which feeds the watercress beds for which Broad Chalke is noted. The parish includes the neighbouring hamlets of Stoke Farthing and Knighton to the east and Little London, Mount Sorrel and Gurston to the west. The latter is the site of a ‘hill climb’ a compelling motorsport event with cars competing to climb the downs in the fastest time.
The village is listed in the Domesday Book as part of Chelche. The greater part of the parish was granted to the nuns of Wilton Abbey in 955 by Saxon King Eadwig and remained with them until the reformation, when King Henry VIII rewarded his loyal supporter the Earl of Pembroke with large tracts of land, including the Manors of the Chalke Valley. Along with neighbouring Bowerchalke, Broad Chalke remained in their ownership until just after the First World War.
At the heart of the village is an award-winning café and stores, in a converted chapel, and All Saints Church dating from the 13th century. Famous photographer, film and theatre costume designer Cecil Beaton, who resided at Reddish House in the village, is buried in the churchyard.
In 1980 Reddish House was bought from Cecil Beaton’s estate by Ursula von Pannwitz, once styled the Countess of Chichester from her first marriage to the 8th Earl of Chichester, she kept macaws which flew freely around the village stripping bark from trees. The house was also home to singer Toyah Wilcox and her husband musician Robert Fripp. Author Sir Terry Pratchett also resides in the village.