Wiltshire Downs and Places to visit in Wiltshire
The Wiltshire Downs are one of those areas of countryside where history and mystery touch upon modern life. The Avebury World Heritage site is recognised by United Nations as the most impressive Neolithic panorama in the country. Here you will find the largest stone circle in Europe although Stonehenge is much better known. The land is dotted with megalithic tombs, Neolithic burial places and different types of barrows, which are ancient monuments to the dead.
No fewer than seven white horses are carved into the chalk of the hills, and are reputed to have magical powers of restoring fertility. At least the exercise of climbing the hills to stand on a certain part of the horse's anatomy will improve general fitness and circulation, so perhaps there is a crumb of truth in this ancient myth. A similar creation of the 'Cerne Abbas Giant' in Dorset is shown below.
The Iron Age, Romans and Saxons have all left their mark on the countryside. Iron Age terracing can still be seen at Fyfield and Overton Downs, and hillforts can be found at Barbury Castle, Martinsell Hill, Oldbury Castle and Oliver's Castle. The Romans left a legacy of straight roads, such as the London to Bath road. The Saxons defeated the early Britons in battle at Barbury Castle in 556 AD.
The market town of Devizes contains a large number of listed buildings of architectural interest. Antique markets are held in the Shambles on Tuesdays and general markets are held in the town marketplace on Thursdays and Saturdays, as they have for many decades in the past. A very popular Farmers Market is also held, where fresh produce is sold directly to the public. Most tourists to Devizes visit the Kennet and Avon Canal's Caen Hill flight of 29 locks which rise 237 feet in a distance of two and a half miles and take a walk along the towpath. Canal boats can be hired by the day or week for a leisurely admiration of the Wiltshire countryside (Tel: 01380 725 300, or 01380 728 504). If you would like to find out more about the history of the canal, the museum at Canal Wharf is open daily (Tel: 01380 729 489).
Stonehenge is just twenty miles away from Devizes and is well worth the trip. The Wiltshire towns of Marlborough, Pewsey, Wroughton and Calne all have their attractions and historic places to visit. Lunch at a traditional English pub provides a pleasant interlude during the day.
The entire county is criss-crossed by bridleways, footpaths, and waterways. It's perfect for outdoor activities of all types. Take to the air in a hot air balloon for an aerial view of this beautiful and ancient county (Tel: Cameron Balloon Flights on 01672 562 277).
Ramblers may be interested in the following list of walks in Wiltshire:
- A walk around the battlefield where the battle of Roundway Down took place on the 13th July in 1643, will take between two and three hours.
- A circular walk from Wilton Windmill to Crofton Pumping Station takes about an hour.
- There are several very pleasant circular walks starting from Smallgrain Picnic Area.
- Vincients Wood Nature Reserve is a small area of semi-natural broadleaved woodland. The southern part first appeared on Ordnance Survey Maps in 1828, but it is considered ancient woodland. The Northern section is more recent and can be described as secondary woodland.
- Jones's Mill - The Vera Jeans Nature Reserve - Jones's Mill is a quiet and secluded nature reserve to the east of Pewsey in central Wiltshire. The combination of marshy fen, the damp woodland and wet meadows grazed by Belted Galloway cattle makes this a very special place to visit at all times of the year.
- You can go on organised walks with a commentary - Devizes Guided Walks - telephone 01 380 7210759. The Heritage Walk traces history from Medieval Times, The Ghost Walk Dowse the Gallows site in the Darkness!! If you dare !!
- Clouts Wood Near Wroughton - mixed woodland on a steep slope, a short walk from Wroughton
- Morgans Hill, near Calne - chalk downlands with various wild orchids. The Wansdyke and a Roman Road border the site.
- Sevenake Forest, Near Marlborough -is an ancient hunting forest , mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Of special interest is the magnificent Grand Avenue mainly flanked by Beech Trees.
- At Westonbirt you will find the The National Arboretum with 18,000 trees
Self-catering holiday cottages on the Wiltshire Downs
Jasmine Cottage (ETC 4 star) is situated near to the centre of the village, about 3 minutes walk from the local pub/post office and bus service. The building is an attractive, 18th century character cottage with exposed beams, which has been sympathetically modernised and decorated to comfortably accommodate up to 6 people in 3 bedrooms. Central heating, open fire, dishwasher. Private back garden with picnic table and benches. Close to Bath - 12 miles. Free roadside parking at the front of the property.
Telephone Norman for availability and details on + 44(0)121 353 5258
|Smart barn conversion in Marlborough, Wiltshire - sleeps 2-6 in 2 bedrooms|
Follets Cottage, in the beautiful vale of Pewsey, is half an hour from both Stonehenge and Avebury, and is within an hour of Bath, The Cotswolds, Oxford, Windsor, Winchester, Salisbury and The New Forest.
The self-catering cottage is a newly-converted 100 year old barn, which has been tastefully decorated and furnished to a high standard and sleeps up to 6 people, it has its own private garden with pergola and chiminea for outside dining, and off-road parking for 2 cars. The accommodation consists of 2 en-suite bedrooms, a sitting room with fully-equipped kitchen at rear, and a separate utility room.
B&B accommodation also available for any additional people in House - 4 diamonds.
Telephone 01672-810619, or 07768-560302 or click on the cottage photograph for details of this self-catering barn conversion in Marlborough, Wiltshire.
Click here for more self-catering cottages in Wiltshire
|your holiday cottage on the Wiltshire Downs here?|