Martinsell Hill and Milton Hill

Back in May I walked from Pewsey and visited Martinsell Hill and the Pewsey White Horse.  The views were stunning and on showing the pictures to Lynnie she said she would like to walk there.  We are staying very close to Pewsey and the weather looks set fair for the day so it seems a good time to head there.

Our starting point is the free car park in the centre of Pewsey, off Goddard Road (Grid Ref: SU162601).  Leaving the car park we walk back to the A345 the main road through Pewsey.  We turn left and follow this road, at a mini roundabout we continue besides the A345, now North Street.  We stay on the main road until we reach Buckleaze Lane on the right.  This lane goes under a railway bridge and then turns right to run parallel to the line before becoming a footpath besides an old mill.

After crossing the River Avon we continue on the narrow path besides the railway line, when the path opens out we fork left keeping a fence on our left, soon passing gardens.  Reaching a tarmac lane we continue to a junction and turn left to head north on a bridleway, this is the route of the White Horse Trail.

The path heads downhill and crosses the River Avon. Soon after we cross the Kennet and Avon Canal at Pains Bridge. 

The path is now a farm track still heading north.  After passing the entrance to Inlands Farm we take a footpath on the left which crosses a stile into a field. 

In a second field we continue on the well-worn path to cross a minor road, Sunnyhill Lane remaining on the White Horse Trail.  In the distance in front of us is the hill we will soon be ascending to reach Giants Grave.

At a junction of tracks we turn left to head along the northern edge of a field towards woodland.  

The path follows around the woods to reach the A345 where we turn right and walk a few hundred yards to reach Holy Trinity Church in Oare.  This is a fairly modern church, built in 1858 and has an interesting design.

From the church we take a gate and head west to reach Rudge Lane, where we turn right and pass Oare House.  This is a fine Grade 1 listed building built in 1740 for a London wine merchant.  Apparently it was redesigned in the 1920’s by Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis the architect best known for creating the village of Portmeirion in North Wales.

We stay with the lane as it turns to the right to head back towards the A345 which we cross and join Pound Lane and follow it for quarter of a mile to a junction with the White Horse Trail footpath.  Here we turn left through a kissing gate then head across a field of pasture to reach another kissing gate. The path now climbs steeply.  It is a stiff ascent, but the views across the Vale of Pewsey are stunning.

Near the summit we see an Ordnance Survey rivet in a solid concrete block.  

A little further on just over a fence is an Ordnance Survey trig point, I have previously bagged this one but it is Lynnie’s first time here.

The path now follows the fence line and passes through the promontory hill fort known as Giant’s Grave.

The White Horse trail continues along the ridge.  After passing through a gate we continue following the way-markers.  At a fork in the path we go right leaving the White Horse Trail to join the Mid Wilts Way.  This runs along the edge of a field of pasture and then joins a path into woodland. We are now on Martinsell Hill and emerging from the trees we have stunning views.

We go through a gate and stop to look at a tree with ribbons tied on it as a memorial to lost loved ones.

Continuing along the top of the hill we stay with the way-markers for the Mid Wilts Way to pass around a copse and then at a junction of footpaths go right in an easterly direction, still on the Mid Wilts Way. 

Turning around we get some stunning views of this impressive hill.

The path continues to a car park and after crossing a minor road joins Mud Lane. 

We stay with this track for two miles heading east.  There are paths leading off to the left and right, nearing a minor road we walk besides the route of the disused Midland and South Western Junction Railway.  This section linked Marlborough to Swindon and was completed in 1883, it closed to passengers in 1961 and freight in 1970.  

At the minor road we turn right and gradually descend downhill until we reach a driveway on our left to Brimslade.  This tarmac drive continues steadily downhill to cross the Kennet and Avon Canal at Cadley Lock. 

Now we turn right and follow the canal towpath heading west.

We stay with the towpath for almost a mile to reach a lock at Wootton Rivers.  

After passing the lock keepers cottage we leave the canal and join a minor road where we turn left and soon go over the railway line at a bridge and then turn right at a road junction and take the road to Milton Lilbourne.  

We follow this minor road through a hamlet, Cuckoo’s Knob.  Soon we cross a stream and then as the road bends to the right we follow a footpath along a track heading south.

We stay with this track for just over half a mile to reach the B3087, Burbage Road, at the Bruce Arms pub.

We cross the road a join a footpath on the opposite side and continue to head south.  This is fairly level walking through the Vale of Pewsey but I know we will soon be ascending steeply. 

The path leads to a minor road and we continue uphill on the road. 

This is a steady ascent; a couple of times we think we are near the top and then see there is more “up” to do.  Eventually the road peters out at a junction of tracks besides the hard to spot remains of an old pump house.  We turn right and go south west to a junction of paths where we turn right and head west to Milton Hill Clump.  The map does not show this as a footpath but it is a well-worn route so we assume it is a permissive path.

We stay with this path passing Milton Hill Clump and reach access land on Fyfield Down. After going through the gate we turn left to head along the top of the downs, soon passing Giants Grave long barrow.

We continue along the ridge, enjoying stunning views across the vale, to reach Victory Clump.  The path now descends gradually down Pewsey Hill to reach a crossing of paths.

Going over a stile we follow a path along the foot of Pewsey Hill until we are below the Pewsey White Horse chalk carving.  The Pewsey White Horse dates back to 1937 when it was cut to commemorate the coronation of King George VI.  There was an older white horse close to this site which was cut in 1785, but by the mid 1800’s it was said to be in bad repair.  I had planned we walk up to the horse, but it is soon very clear that Lynnie is content to view it from here and is definitely not being persuaded otherwise.

We turn right along a footpath to reach a gate and then carry on along a track, Green Drove, until we reach a minor road where we turn right and follow this lane past farm buildings.  At the end of the lane we turn left along Southcott Road which we follow for just over quarter of a mile and then turn left by some cottages to follow a path along a lane which leads us back to the centre of Pewsey.

Here there is a statue of King Alfred, crowned King of Wessex in 870 his land included the Vale of Pewsey.  Apparently whilst he was at war the local inhabitants cared for his wife he rewarded them by granting the inhabitants the rights to a feast, this has been incorporated into the modern day carnival celebrations.  The statue was unveiled in June 1913 to commemorate the coronation of King George V.  

We continue along the High Street to reach the post office and return to our starting point.

Our walk has covered 15 miles through some stunning scenery. 

To follow my walk, you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL157 Marlborough & Savernake Forest; OL131 Romsey, Andover & Test Valley; OL130 – Salisbury and Stonehenge

You can view this 15 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here (Subscription to OS Maps Required)

14th July 2020

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2020)

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