A GIANT poppy has been carved into a Wiltshire hillside, 100 years after soldiers created the first emblem at the site.

The Flanders Poppy, which is 25m (82ft) in diameter - roughly the size of half a football pitch - is visible from miles around and sits alongside eight regimental badges.

It is the first chalk badge to have been carved at the site, on Fovant Down near Salisbury, since 1970.

The earliest badges were carved by First World War soldiers in 1916 when they were based at a nearby military camp awaiting orders to deploy to France.

Eight of the original 20 badges, now classed as war memorials, remain.

Richard Bullard, of The Fovant Badges Society which oversees the historic site, said: "The poppy is an image that we all relate to and understand, and we are sure that those soldiers stationed at Fovant 100 years ago would have understood and applauded our desire to follow their example and build a chalk badge on Fovant Down."

The new badge was carved to mark the centenary of the badges.

Volunteers and serving soldiers gave up their time in July to create the new addition to the site.

Planning for the project began in 2013 and the poppy took three weeks to construct.

Fi Dobson, the Royal British Legion's community fundraiser for Wiltshire, said: "We are eternally grateful to the Fovant Badges Society for their time and effort, helping us to create such a wonderful symbol of Remembrance.

"The poppy will act as a timeless and poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by our Armed Forces both past and present and their families."

The badge will be officially unveiled on Friday, October 28, when 243 (Wessex) Field Hospital will roll up a camouflage to publicly reveal the poppy for the first time.

Members of The Royal British Legion's Jump4Heroes team will then parachute from a plane to land in front of the poppy.

They will present Mrs Sarah Troughton, the Wiltshire Lord Lieutenant and Baroness Jane Scott, the Leader of Wiltshire Council, with the first County poppies.

During this year's Poppy Appeal, the public is being asked to rethink remembrance and recognise sacrifices made across all generations of the British armed forces.

More than 45 million poppies will be distributed by 350,000 collectors throughout this year's appeal. Money raised in Wiltshire will go towards the Legion’s 2016 national target of £43million. 

As a result of the public's support in the last year, The Royal British Legion has been able to answer more than 780,000 requests for help from the armed forces community.

The RBL provides support in so many ways including crisis grants, offering the children of armed forces personnel adventure breaks, researching the impact of blast injuries on the body, lobbying the government on key issues, and advising on benefits and money problems.

For further information about the event and volunteering opportunities during the Poppy Appeal get in touch with Fi Dobson on 07867 905680, or email her at fdobson@britishlegion.org.uk

The poppy badge will be unveiled at 11am on October 28.