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Summary

Self guided walking on the Marlborough Downs Wiltshire

On the Marlborough Downs Wiltshire discover the mystery and magic of ancient monuments and forgotten chalk hills

No of Nights: 2

Stay: Inn or B&B

Grade: Easy-Moderate

Information

On the Marlborough Downs Wiltshire discover the mystery and magic of ancient monuments and forgotten chalk hills. Walk accompanied by the song of the skylark, enjoying the curves of the scarps, ridges and valleys where wave-like hills sweep towards the horizon. Few people visit this great ancient green plateau and you will wonder why as its sheer beauty captivates you. Walking here in Wiltshire you will understand why more than half the county is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Enjoy

  • expertly-crafted and meticulously-researched walks in the heart of the Marlborough Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • ancient rolling downland with chalk hill figures and Saxon settlements in hidden vales
  • Avebury, a World Heritage Site renowned for its prehistoric landscapes
  • walking amongst the most famous megaliths in the world, even older than Stonehenge and far less crowded. Visit the National Trust village, home to museums, a manor house and delicious cream teas!
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Tour review scores and score breakdown

9 / 10

Based on 1 reviews

Guest reviews are written by our customers after their tour of Marlborough Downs Wiltshire.

Guest reviews

  • I just wanted to say a big thank you for a fabulous weekend. I really enjoyed it all - and thought everything went very smoothly as always. I had a lovely room at the hotel, the food was good, the Sunday pub nut roast was totally delicious and the countryside was absolutely gorgeous and the walks wonderfully varied.
    - Janet Winterbourne, London SW5

Itinerary

Day One
Having settled into your comfortable accommodation, read through your walks pack and enjoy dining at the Bell’s excellent restaurant or, if you are staying in or near Avebury, there are some good pubs within easy reach.

Day Two
The most outstanding collection of prehistoric remains in the country, monuments of mystery and magic, combine with the solitude and immense beauty of the Marlborough Downs: ‘never abrupt, but flowing on and on, to make a type of infinity’. The World Heritage Stone Circle at Avebury, dating from 1700BC, is more random, more impressive, more romantic than Stonehenge but unknown to many. Silbury Hill at 40m high is the largest ancient man-made mound in Europe and West Kennet’s impressive Long Barrow, dates from 3700 BC. Enter inside if you dare – perhaps not for the faint-hearted!

From the legendary Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest trackway, at Fyfield Down you can picnic amongst famous sarsen stones, 25,000 of them! In summer enjoy a sea of wild flowers and a wide range of birds. Back at Avebury, there’s the church, the highly-acclaimed museum, the Manor House gardens or the National Trust shop to enjoy and, of course, tea before returning to your comfortable inn.  (8 or 10 miles/12.8 or 16 km, moderate walking)

Day Three
The views from the summit of beautiful Pewsey Downs, your starting point, are wide and dramatic. Admire one of Wiltshire’s famous white horses etched into the chalk hillside. And climb Adam’s Grave, highest and most noble of all barrows, before striding out on a stunning ridge walk, marvelling at dramatic views of the vale below. Experience the sheer beauty of these hills, the elemental landscapes of sky, pasture and breathtaking panoramas: ‘divinely carved in rolling ridge and hollowed flank’ – an altogether unforgettable experience.

Following lunch at the Kings Arms, your afternoon walk offers completely contrasting scenery as you stroll along the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal, a haven for wildlife, unspoilt, tranquil and green. Beyond the old settlement of Honey Street is the ancient hamlet of Alton Barnes with its tiny Saxon church, tucked away in the heartland of this secret vale. (8 miles/12.8 km, moderate walking)

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Hotels

Stay at the Alastair Sawday recommended Bell Inn, a 300-year-old former stylish coaching inn situated at the heart of Wiltshire’s ‘Best Kept Village of 2011′. Ramsbury nestles in a fold of the Kennet Valley with the River Kennet, one of England’s most important chalk streams, running through the village. With the river just 100 metres from the Bell’s door, you can enjoy a tranquil stroll and, with luck, sightings of elusive wetland birds, the soaring red kite, buzzard and deer so typical of this landscape. Here you can enjoy modern British fine-dining and The Bell boasts its own wonderful little café, the Café Bella, a favourite meeting place.

Alternatively, if you prefer a B&B, we recommend the award-winning Old Forge, conveniently situated near ancient Avebury. Or, within the great stone circle itself is Beckhampton B&B, a 150-year-old cottage. Finally, for a 5-star B&B within the Avebury Stone Circle is Avebury Lodge. Avebury Lodge is a Grade II listed historic building.

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Grade of the walks

The routes are suitable for anyone of average fitness, able to walk around 8 miles on varied hilly terrain for up to 5 hours with a break for lunch. As this is hill country some ascents and descents are to be expected.

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Tour price and costs

Price per person: 

from £232 for 2 nights, depending on choice of accommodation, room type and season, based on 2 people sharing a twin/double. Please enquire for single occupancy, car-free or more nights.

Price includes:

  • Personalised itinerary
  • High-quality en-suite accommodation
  • Full English breakfasts
  • Recommendations for lunch and dinner and, where applicable, coffee or tea breaks
  • Detailed route directions in easy-to-handle A5 format
  • Marked-up Ordnance Survey map and map case
  • Commentary notes on features of interest along the way
  • Details of places to visit
  • Nature guide to help identify common species
  • Travel information
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Flights

By road:  9 miles from the M4 Junction 14 via Hungerford and the A4. Total mileage from central London: 71 miles (approx 1.5 hours). Ample car parking at the hotel.

By rail:  trains once an hour from London Paddington to Hungerford (1.03 hours); the hotel is 5 miles from the station; taxi services available.

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