Wiltshire Walks

Home Wiltshire Walks 04

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Walks Extra: Our Ridgeway Walk report

This page shows some walks we have done in Wiltshire, along with lots of photos and a little information on where we went. I bought a book of 50 Wiltshire walks and some will be added to this site as we walk them. We hope to walk them all but it'll take a few years! The book is very useful and marks the routes very clearly, also giving estimated times & distances and other useful info. Click on the book to buy it from Amazon. I suggest that if you wish to walk any of these, you either buy the book or get some good maps. I don't propose to give actual directions, just a rough idea of the routes. Click on the photos to see larger versions. I have a separate page for each year of walks, so those on this page were taken in 2005, see links above for previous years. I have also been using the Walking World website - an annual subscription entitles you to download and print as many walks as you wish from their extensive collection. They're very easy to follow and you can have directions with photos if you prefer, and print out maps. 

You may be interested in reading about some walks we did on holiday in Madeira in July 2004. It's a wonderful place for walking and I recommend it very highly. Click here for my pages on Madeira.

In May we walked The Ridgeway, an 85 mile walk between Avebury in Wiltshire, and Ivinghoe Beacon, near Tring, in Hertfordshire. We walked it in reverse, taking a week to do so, and walked nearly 100 miles in all. You can read my report here

I've decided not to add any more walks, certainly for a while, as there are now loads on here. Unless I get lots of requests to keep them coming, in which case I may be persuaded to carry on with them! We've joined the Ramblers so will probably be walking with them quite a bit in the future. 


May 2005: South Wraxall - Monkton Farleigh 6 miles (should have been 7˝!)

We needed a walk between us and Bath as we were taking someone to the station there, and were unable to find anything on Walking World so found this walk in an old book. We also had an old map. Moral of the story - don't rely on old books and maps! The directions weren't very clear and we went wrong a couple of times. We started in South Wraxall and managed to get to Monkton Farleigh, but were thwarted in our efforts to reach Farleigh Wick via a poorly signed and then overgrown path. So we had to retrace our steps and return by road.

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15th century (& later additions) Manor House at South Wraxall

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Old gates leading to Monkton Farleigh Manor

 

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Monkton Farleigh Manor

 

 

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Looking back down the original drive

 

 

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Monkton Farleigh churchyard

 

 

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Start of doomed footpath!

 

 

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Trying to negotiate the stinging nettles

 

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The footpath we abandoned, not fancing a face full of rapeseed pollen!

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May 2005: Aldbourne - 12 miles (Walking World ID:598)

We walked this on a Wednesday and didn't see another soul other than in the village. The weather was a bit miserable, very windy up on the ridge, but it was good practice for our Ridgeway walk, and indeed included a small section of the Ridgeway path. We started at Liddington Castle, to allow for a lunch stop in Aldbourne where we ate exceedingly well at The Blue Boar*. Too well, as the next section of the walk involved a very long gradual uphill climb!

* I was recently contacted by Barry, whose grandmother kept the Blue Boar Inn during the war and up until 1961. Her name was Annie Dady and apparently she was very popular in the village. Barry spent a lot of time there with his Gran when she owned it. It has certainly altered a lot since those days. It was quite usual to have Diana Dors visit there and Johnny Morris lived just across the green. A famous little village in its way. Also, John Pertwee, who played Dr Who at the time, used the Blue Boar for a location for an episode of Dr Who. Of course they changed the name on the sign whilst filming.

This photo is of the Blue Boar in the 1940s.

 

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Section of Ridgeway

 

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Liddington Castle, ancient hill fort.

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A friendly face

 

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Upham Court, Upper Upham

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Aldbourne Church

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The Blue Boar

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Aldbourne Village Green

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May 2005: Border Paths Around The Chutes - 8 miles (Walk 1)

This was a beautiful walk, perfect for the time of year with bluebells everywhere, situated on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border in what remains of Chute Forest. It's a slightly hillier walk than many in Wiltshire, but was very pleasant. We started at Lower Chute, a pretty village with a delightful pub, the Hatchet Inn, as shown below. It wasn't open when we started but was full of people and cars on our return. We had a quick snack at the George in Vernham Dean, halfway round. 


April 2005: Hilperton to Bradford -on-Avon (6 miles)

My Australian niece is living in London for a while, so visited us for a weekend. We went for a walk with my parents, along the canal from Hilperton, across the fields to Bradford on Avon, where we had a good lunch at the Bunch of Grapes. Lynne delighted her grandfather by downing 2 pints of real ale! We then walked around the lovely town before returning via the canal.


April  2005: Upavon - Wessex Ridgeway - Wilsford - Hilcott - Charlton - Rushall - Upavon (almost 10 miles) (Walkingworld ID:399)

We walked this the day after the very wet Easterton walk and there couldn't have been a bigger contrast in the weather. We started in Wilsford and had lunch in The Antelope in Upavon. It was a lovely walk although marred somewhat by the churned up track coming back downhill to Wilsford. It was muddy, slippery - and my knee was hurting! And to add insult to injury, someone had dumped a load of rubbish at the foot of the track. 

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Typical thatched Wiltshire cottage

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A curious onlooker

 

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Millennium commemorative stocks in Upavon

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Thatching in Upavon 

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April  2005: Easterton - Wessex Ridgeway - West Lavington - Market Lavington 6 + miles (Walkingworld ID:456)

This was the day we tested how waterproof our coats and over trousers were - you can guess from the photos whose weren't! It was too wet for many photos. As it was a short walk, we walked in the morning and ended our walk with lunch at the Royal Oak in Easterton. I'd have enjoyed it more had I not been dripping wet!


April  2005: Knap Hill - Honeystreet - Giant's Grave - Knap Hill : almost 13 miles (Walkingworld ID:510)

I'm afraid there are no photos for this walk as the camera battery died before I could take even one picture. There were some fabulous views too. The walk spec does say 11.49 miles but our GPS registered 12.9. We did go slightly wrong and also had to make a bit of a detour to rescue a lots lamb who had got out from under the gate and was becoming rather distressed, as were his sibling and mum. Martyn had to corner him in a distant field in order to catch him and lift him over the fence. The walk is a lovely one, very varied, with some challenging (for Wiltshire!) hills during the second half. It was extremely windy, which we put down to the height we were at, but it seems it was windy everywhere on the day we walked it. We walked across fields, alongside woods, along the canal, and through small villages. We had a good lunch at the canal-side café at Pewsey Wharf, where there is also a pub (and another just up the road). There are some horrible stiles at the end of this walk - those metal V-shaped things that are a bit high for anyone vertically challenged, and awkward to get across when wearing big walking boots!

Incidentally, this is Crop Circle country so if you visit later in the year, you may get lucky and see one or two. 


March 2005: Devizes and Bromham - 6.5 miles (using local map)

This one isn't in the book or on Walking World. We walked with our daughter and her boyfriend, starting by the Canal at Devizes Wharf, then crossing foggy fields to Bromham and back via fields and Conscience Lane with views across to Roundway Down. It was very foggy at times and a compass was essential! As you can see, there's a variety of wildlife to be found on this walk - I didn't take a photo of the pond full of ducks and geese. 


March 2005: Great Bedwyn and the Kennet & Avon Canal - 5˝ miles (Walk 2)

We walked this with Martyn's 81 year old mother - it is mostly flat and is a very interesting walk. Starting in Great Bedwyn, we passed by Lloyd's Stone Museum, which demonstrates the art of stonemasonry going back to the 18th century. We did this walk on Easter Saturday and so were able to watch many of the canoeists taking part in the annual Devizes-Westminster race. We also saw what we thought was an adder on the towpath, although further investigation makes me think it was only a humble grass snake. Disappointing. Alongside the canal is Crofton Pumping Station where the Beam Engines are sometimes in steam during the summer. They were during our walk but we decided to return to visit the museum at a later date. We lunched at the Swan Inn in the pretty village of Wilton. You can also visit the Wilton Windmill during the afternoon. Again, we will visit another time. 

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Lloyd's Stone Museum

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Great Bedwyn Church

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Canoeists  (Devizes to Westminster)

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Crofton Pumping Station

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Wilton 

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Swan Inn

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Wilton Windmill

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Bedwyn Brail

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Great Bedwyn Church

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March 2005: Wylye Valley Wandering - 9 miles (Walkingworld ID:638)

This is from the Walkingworld website but there's a very similar one in the Wiltshire Walks book - walks 28 & 29 combined. Although it's quite a lengthy walk, it's very flat and as it had been dry for a while, was easy walking. The walk includes a section of the Wessex Ridgeway. We started the walk from Codford St Mary in order to time our lunch stop in Heytesbury, where we ate at The Red Lion, a suitable choice for a walkers' lunch. The nearby Angel is apparently very good, but we weren't in our Sunday best and it seemed busy with families out for something a bit more special. It's a pretty good walk although there is some road walking. The riverside is especially pleasant. 

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Heytesbury Church (12th Century)

 

 

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River Wylye

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Upton Lovell Church

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Railway crossing at Upton Lovell

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At the gates of Boyton Manor

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Sherrington Church

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Old Toll House at Codford St Mary


 

March 2005: Somerset - Mells - Buckland Dinham - Great Elm - Mells 6 miles (Walkingworld ID:140)

This walk came from the Walking World website and is a really lovely one, taking in some of Somerset's pretty countryside and villages. We had thought to start in Mells, where we knew The Talbot pub was good - but since our last visit, when we lived in Frome, just a few miles away, it had changed so that food was only served in a separate restaurant, which was packed with too long a wait. So we drove on to Buckland Dinham where we ate well at The Bell before starting the walk. We had my parents with us and it was quite a nostalgic trip for them as they had often walked the area whilst staying at our home in Frome. During the walk along the river, we came across the old Fussell's Ironworks - there's not too much of it left now but it made an interesting diversion. 

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The Bell at Buckland Dinham

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Unusual sculpture in Great Elm

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Old Schoolhouse (1887) in Mells

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Mells Church

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New cycle path, ending at this point. 

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Old coal mining chimney near Buckland Dinham

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Back at The Bell

 


February 2005: Bradford on Avon to Limpley Stoke - 7 miles (Walk 48 + extension)

Another perfect day for walking. The walk in the book is shorter than the one we took - there is an addition of walking in the Frome valley but we added our own extension, following the canal as far as Limpley Stoke, where we had lunch at The Hop Pole Inn. The food was OK, the barman was grumpy. We walked back along the river to rejoin the original walk. The walk starts and ends near the Tithe Barn, which you can see in the photo below. There are a couple of craft shops in that area too and there is also a pub and tea room by the canal. Bradford on Avon is a very pretty town with some good pubs, tea rooms and shops and some lovely walks around town as well as by the river and canal. It's well worth a visit, even if you only walk around the town.

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January 2005: Amesbury & the Woodford Valley - 6.5 miles (Walk 7)

This was a perfect walking day, a total contrast to the day before, when we had walked in Seend (see below). There was snow left on the hills, the sky was blue and it was dry (but still very muddy). We included a visit to the Black Horse pub at Great Durnford where we had another good meal. The only problem with stopping for pub lunches at this time of year is that you cannot linger as it gets dark too early. (and it's hard work putting muddy boots back on tired foot!) The walk starts just outside Amesbury's centre and is very varied, with only a little road walking. It's not the easiest walk we've done, with quite a few long hills and difficult terrain at times because of the mud, but was one of the nicest with lots of points of interest along the way, including a distant view of Stonehenge (not shown here). The house on the right below belongs to the singer Sting. 

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January 2005: Seend, Inmarsh, Sells Green  - 3 miles

This one isn't in the book - it came from the Walking World website and we started it at a different point in order to accommodate a very good pub lunch at The Bell Inn. The weather was dreadful - had it been nicer, we would have included a trip to the church. Seend is a lovely old village that featured in the recent BBC series 'A Country Parish'. The wooden sculpture was seen in the garden of a house on the way to the canal. 

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January 2005: Castle Combe - 5 miles  (Walk 37)

Castle Combe is always popular with walkers - as was evident by the proliferation of mud during this walk! Proper walking boots are essential if the weather is bad. This is one of the prettiest villages in the country and has been used for films such as Dr Doolittle, which really put it on the tourist map. It's also known for its nearby race track and skid pan (where I had lots of fun late last year). We had a welcome lunch break just over halfway, at the White Hart Inn. The food was good and service surprisingly quick considering how busy they were. As the photos show, there is a fair bit of wildlife to be seen. There are quite a few hills and stiles on this walk. We made a slight detour to the route shown in the book as the weather suddenly turned very nasty, turning off before reaching Nettleton. It then brightened so we added a little, walking up to Upper Castle Combe instead.

 


January 2005: Corsham - 4 miles (Walk 46)

This was a nice easy walk to get us back into things after illness during the Christmas break, when we had planned a number of walks we had to abort. Corsham is a pretty town with lovely old buildings, an Elizabethan mansion and a park with lake. We didn't see it at its best, the weather being very dull and wet, and the fields were muddy. There are a number of stiles, some being very old stone ones, and some are quite high. 

 

 

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