Firstly, those based in and around London may want to head along to the Open Source Hardware user Group meeting next Thursday evening, the theme for which is open source chips. http://oshug.org/event/49
This will provide a good opportunity to find out about the work of the FOSSi Foundation and LibreCores, in addition to An Altruistic Processor (AAP) and a talk on getting into FPGAs.
Secondly, there is interest from a number of folks in running a "Mini Chip Hack" as part of Open Source Hardware Camp, which is taking place over the weekend of 3rd & 4th September, in Hebden Bridge (north England). Embecosm have kindly agreed to lend out their DE0-Nano boards for this, but we'd need a few volunteers to take the lead.
There has also been talk of possibly porting the first and perhaps second of the exercises ("basics" and "lock") to the iCE40, so that a fully open source toolchain could be used. However, it's not clear just yet whether this will happen and it would also mean getting hold of some, admittedly cheap, hardware.