Geography - The village lies at 51 deg North, 2.077deg West in a valley between the chalk slopes at the western end of the West Wiltshire Downs, within the old royal hunting ground of Cranborne Chase. Winkelbury Hill and Win Green ( 277m above sea level) are to the south. The Ebble and the Nadder, two of the five rivers which merge at Salisbury, rise in the parish. Berwick forms part of the Cranborne Chase AONB.
The civil parish includes Ashcombe Park, part of Ferne Park and most of Rushmore Park.
Salisbury is about 15 miles to the west and Shaftesbury 5 miles to the east.
History - The name ‘Berwick’ is derived from the Old English ‘bere’-barley and ‘wic’-farm or settlement. The village name and its site by running water both suggest an Anglo-Saxon origin. There is strong evidence of prehistoric activity especially on Winkelbury Hill where there seems to have been an Iron Age hill fort. Winkelbury Hill has been an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) since 1971.
From the 10th century Berwick St John was part of the estate of Wilton Abbey, but had probably become a separate parish by the 13th century. There has been a church (dedicated to St John the Baptist) in the village since the 13th century.
The village was designated a Conservation Area in 1975.
Statistics - The 2011 census records a population of 332.
Berwick is in the Parliamentary Constituency of South West Wiltshire. The Unitary Authority is Wiltshire Council, and the village falls within the South West Wiltshire area.
Berwick has an elected Parish Council of 7 members.
Village Life - Berwick is a thriving community. It has a Church, a Pub (The Talbot Inn) and a Village Hall.
A number of Berwick events are held throughout the year including Wassailing, Burns Night, the Berwick Big Breakfast, the Fete, Harvest Festival and Supper, Remembrance and of course Christmas with a biennial Nativity Play. During the winter there is a series of winter talks and regular pub and Village Hall quizzes. Most recently Berwick held its very own Bake-Off.
Berwick St John is famous for the biennial Country Fayre, a festival for steam enthusiasts which attracts entries and visitors from far and wide. From the first Fayre in 1992 this event has given more than £200,000 to local charities, most recently raising over £35,000 for the Salisbury District Hospital Stars Appeal.
Berwick is also known for its commemorative events. Jubilees, Royal Weddings and HM The Queen’s 90th birthday have all been marked with village parties, pantomimes and pageants, along with commemorations for the 60th, 65th and 70th anniversaries of VE Day. Similar commemorations were held for the 11th November 2018.
Village Businesses - Farming and its associated activities is the economic backbone of the community. There are five working farms: Chapel Farm, Easton Farm, Cross Farm, Manor Farm and Upton Farm, some worked by generations of the same family. The workshops at Manor Farm currently house a picture framer, woodworker and an engineering company. Traditional Shepherd’s Huts are also built there. The blacksmith and forge still operate from at The Cross which have been in use for many years. Several businesses are run from home offices, including holiday cottage rentals and financial services. Berwick also has a saddler and a goldsmith who work from the village.