Wiltshire Walks 04

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December 2004: Old Sarum, 6 miles + pub detour (Walk 16)

This was a very nice walk, taken on a dull but mild December Sunday. We started at Old Sarum - but a word of warning: the walks book says the car park shuts at 4pm in the winter. We got here to find it was shutting at 3pm which left us just over 3 hours for the walk and a lunch stop at the pub. It was quite a varied walk, a bit muddy in places but not too hilly until the end (which meant a steep climb back up from Stratford sub Castle as fast as I could go because time was running out). We saw plenty of wildlife along the way and were amazed to see a load of llamas and a camel in the grounds of Little Durnford Manor. We made a detour for lunch in the Wheatsheaf in Lower Woodford. We were worried about the time and waited quite a while to place our sandwich order. But they arrived a few minutes later and were very good, revitalising us for the second part of the walk, which was harder than the first.

September 2004: A walk from Lacock (8˝ miles)

My sister and her husband were on holiday in the UK from their home in Australia so our father planned a 6 mile walk for us, starting from Lacock. It tuned out to be a couple of miles further - partly because we chose to avoid walking along the road towards the end of the walk, and partly because one of the footpaths was too overgrown to follow (and there was a lot of shooting going on in the area so we thought it wise to avoid it!) We started in the public car park, walked via Reybridge to the Wilts and Berks canal, which is being restored, and then on to Derry Hill, had an excellent lunch at The Rising Sun on Bowden Hill, and walked back into Lacock via the long way round (Reybridge again). 

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The group

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Leaving Lacock

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Typical house, near Reybridge

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Ruined bridge on Wilts & Berks canal

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Restored canal path

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Canal path

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Restoring a bridge

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One of the dozens of stiles we had to climb

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One of the many fields we walked

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Climbing the hill with Derry Hill in the distance

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Some rather lovely cows

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And then I saw the bull...looking right at me

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On Bowden Hill

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On Bowden Hill

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Coming back into Lacock

                


August 2004: Roundway Hill to Heddington, approx 8 miles (3hrs walking)

This one isn't in the book so a map is advisable. Start up on Roundway Down, parking either by Oliver's Castle and the nature reserve (you can extend your walk to include either or both) or at the Roundway White Horse. From the horse, you walk straight until arriving at the golf club, turn left and then head towards Heddington through woods and across the fields. If you time it right, you can stop for refreshment at The Ivy pub. There's a steep road out of Heddington but you then cut across the lumpy hills to arrive back at Roundway Hill. We don't know why these hills are so lumpy - like very large tussocks - all suggestions welcome! There's a fair amount of road walking so it's a bit tough on the feet but there are also plenty of wooded and soft areas. It can be steep at times and the ground quite rough.

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Next to the golf course

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Approaching Heddington

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The Ivy

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Heddington Church

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The strange tussocky hills

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August 2004: Devizes to Hilperton Canal Walk - 12 miles

This one isn't in the book and you'd need to enlist the help of a driver/taxi/bus as it's a linear walk. We started in Devizes and ended in Hilperton, walking along the Kennet & Avon Canal. The good thing about this walk is that it's completely off the road so is quiet and safe, although you have to listen out for cyclists - especially thsoe that don't bother ringing a bell as they come up behind you. If you start from Devizes, it's all flat or downhill. If you start at Hilperton, the last bit, going up the Caen Hill flight of locks, is on a gradual incline. Obviously, you can start or end the canal walk at other points either side of these two. The downside is that it's heavy going on your feet as there's not much grass to walk on and it's gravel all the way. My feet were quite sore by the end - I prefer walking on softer ground. There are several pub stops if you time it right (we didn't!). There are pubs in Devizes, Sells Green, Seend, Semington and Hilperton. The Barge at Seend is roughly halfway and I can recommend the food (& drink) there very highly. 

 

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Devizes 

 

 

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Black Horse Devizes

 

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Approaching Seend

 

 

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The Barge at Seend

 

 

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The new aquaduct over the Semington by-pass

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 Semington

 

 

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Hilperton

 

 

 

June 2004: Barbury Castle  4 miles (Walk 20)

This is a fairly easy one, a bit hilly near the end but nothing too strenuous. And there's a café for well-earned refreshments, close to the car park. Barbury Castle is the site of an old Iron Age fort, and the burial mounds can still be clearly seen. Part of the walk includes a section of The Ridgeway (also see Avebury walk). It's perhaps not the most exciting walk but was very pleasant and the rain that threatened managed to stay away throughout the walk, stopping on our arrival and starting again as we left for home! The last two photos show a memorial stone with two plaques commemorating writers Richard Jefferies and Alfred Williams, who both loved the area. 

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May 2004: Avebury - Pagan Pastures  5-6 miles (Walk 18)

We tackled this one from directions cut from a magazine and later found we'd have been better off following the very similar route in the above book. At one point our directions weren't too clear and we went wrong, as always, by at least a mile or two! That shouldn't happen if you follow Walk 18 in the book. The walk starts and finishes at the car park at Avebury. Parking is free if you are a member of the National Trust (but you need your card). We walked in the reverse order to the walk in the book. If you have enough time, you can also visit Avebury Manor and the Alexander Keiller Museum, which is very interesting. Check for opening times - not open all year round. The Red Lion is very handy for a drink or meal, as is the National Trust tearoom and there are several shops selling antiques and 'new age' books, gifts, jewellery etc. The walk took us amongst the stones, along part of the Ridgeway and down to The Sanctuary and then on to West Kennett Longbarrow and Silbury Hill. 

 

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The Red Lion

 

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Standing stone

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from The Ridgeway

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from The Ridgeway

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on The Ridgeway

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on The Ridgeway

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*

 

 

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The Sanctuary

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from The Sanctuary

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Near West Kennet Long Barrow

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Long Barrow

 

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Inside Long Barrow 

 

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Long Barrow

 

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Silbury Hill

 

*Does anyone know why this tree is surrounded by a concrete box? We have no idea.

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