Published on: 30th June 2020
Lockdown restrictions are easing but many social activities remain off-limits. Exploring the great outdoors over the summer months can be a great way to spend your time with loved ones. Luckily, there are some excellent local walking routes in Wiltshire to visit in the coming months.
1. Take in landscaped gardens at Stourhead House
If you’re looking for an easy route to get you started, this one is perfect. Starting at the village of Stourton and going a circular route, it’s ideal if you want to explore the quaint village and stop for a drink or bite to eat too.
The actual walk takes just over an hour to complete with easily-accessible paths, making it perfect for all levels of fitness. The route will take you past some fantastic sites too, starting with Stourhead House, the Palladian property complete with famous landscape gardens is maintained by the National Trust and dates back to the 1700s. Other places you’ll stroll past as you walk around the beautiful lake are the Pantheon, which is filled with classic identities, the popular Grotte built to resemble a cave and the pretty St. Peter’s Church.
2. Loop around Barbury Castle Iron Age Fort
If you’re looking for a more adventurous hike to take up a good portion of your day, you could make plans to see Barbury Castle Iron Age Fort. With a walking time nearing five hours, a good level of fitness is needed to complete the whole loop and you should expect some inclines too.
It’s an archaeological site that’s well visited as you can still see the ramparts and where the fort would have stood. It’s thought the fort was built in around 700 BC and used up until the Roman invasion some 700 years later. It’s one of a series of hill forts built along the Ridgeway and thought to be one of the most impressive. Even now the banks stand over three metres tall and would have been topped with defensive towers.
3. Head to Stonehenge
We couldn’t include walks in Wilshire without one taking you past the world-famous Stonehenge site. This walk takes just over an hour and a half and is suitable for all levels of fitness. If you wanted to make a full day of hiking, it’s possible to connect this walk with others on the list or simply start at one of the villages or towns nearby.
As one of the most famous prehistoric monuments, you should expect the site to busy, but it’s one that will be worth it as it’s a World Heritage Site. The stone circle is believed to have been constructed from 3,000 BC to 2,000 BC and is now managed by English Heritage. The mystery of why it was built and the folklore that still surrounds the monument make it a must-visit. If you plan to visit while lockdown measures are in place, you will need to book ahead of time.
4. Hiking around the Avebury Stone Circle
Starting at a guest house, this circular route will take you past many ancient sights as you take in the beautiful countryside too. The expected walking time is a little over three hours, with you covering 7.5 miles.
The notable sights start will Silbury Hill, the largest artificial prehistoric mound in Europe. In fact, it’s comparable to the Egyptian pyramids in terms of height and volume. Despite the size, what its exact purpose was is unknown with theories linking it to rituals. Next, you’ll pass the West Kennet Long Barrow, impressive Neolithic burial chambers before reaching Avebury Stone Circle. This site might not be as well-known as Stonehenge, but it means you can get close and the location won’t be as busy. The Avebury Stone Circle monument contains three stone circles and, once again, the original purpose is lost but thought to be linked to rituals.
5. Visiting Salisbury
Finally, this short walk takes under an hour and allows you to explore Salisbury. At just 2 miles, it’s a walk that’s suitable for all fitness levels. You’re in the perfect spot to enjoy a drink, get something to eat or browse shops too.
Of course, the main sight on this route is the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral, dating back to the thirteenth century and boasts the tallest church spire in the UK. It’s also home to one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, the famous charter of rights agreed by King John of England in 1215. You may also want to stop by the Salisbury Museum if it’s open, it houses one of the best collections relating to Stonehenge and other local archaeology.