I am out again today with my walking buddies Mandy, Glenda and Ged and we are starting from Amesbury, close to Glenda’s home.
We start from the recreation ground car park on the outskirts of Amesbury (Grid Ref: SU150411) and follow the entrance driveway back towards Amesbury and turn right to take a footpath which passes the sewage works and then goes close to the River Avon.
After passing an old mill we turn right and join a broad track with the river flowing to our right. The recent heavy rain makes the track a bit muddy but it does mean the river is in full flow.
We ignore a footpath on the left and keep on the track close to the river and pass the footbridge at Ham Hatches.
The fenced path is easy to follow and soon turns to the south east at Moor Hatches.
At a junction of paths we turn left and walk below a disused Chalk Pit.
At a junction of paths we turn right and head south east and on reaching a gate continue in this direction along the top of the downs.
We stay with this path as it heads towards Ham Wood and then descends to a minor road.
On reaching the road we turn right and pass Great Durnford Manor, continuing into the village we decide to take a short diversion and turn right to wander down to visit the 12th century St Andrew’s Church.
Resuming our walk we return to the minor road and turn right and continue through the village passing the cricket ground. In my younger days I played cricket and the away fixture on this ground was always a highlight of the season. A cracking place to play, with a good wicket, carefully mown outfield and cracking teas. The after-match drinks were held in the nearby Black Horse. I have not been here for years but it holds happy memories.
Soon after the cricket ground we reach the Black Horse, sadly this once thriving village local is currently closed. Hopefully someone, or the local community, will secure the future of this pub, which at one time seemed to be at the heart of this village.
Soon after the pub we take a footpath on the right following a driveway down to footbridges across the River Avon at Durnford Mill.
After crossing the river we reach a junction of paths, here we turn left and head south west towards Upper Woodford. On reaching the village we turn left along a minor road and then after 100 yards take a footpath on the right which follows a wide drove up hill. Soon we have expansive views across the downs.
We stay with this drove for almost two miles heading towards Druid’s Lodge. On reaching the A360 we turn right and walk besides the road for a few hundred yards. After passing a water tower and some houses we turn right on a footpath besides a workshop converting Camper Vans. This path leads into a copse which is a convenient spot to break for lunch.
Continuing our walk we follow the footpath along a drove crossing Wilsford Down and Normanton Down. Besides the path there are a number of Tumuli, these ancient burial mounds close to the site of Stonehenge are one of the reasons for the proposal to build a tunnel for the A303 as part of a scheme to alleviate traffic problems near the ancient stones.
After two miles on this drove we reach the A303, crossing this busy road is tricky and needs extreme caution. On the other side of the road we continue on the drove along the boundary fence of Stonehenge. This is the second time I have walked close to the stones within the last eight months. Prior to this I hadn’t been here for over thirty years. It is odd how you take something on your doorstep for granted whilst folk travel from across the world to visit it.
At a junction of paths near to the entrance to the stones we turn right and follow a footpath along the edge of the fence, passing the old, now disused, visitor centre. A few years ago this path ran besides a busy road. However, to divert traffic away from the stones and shut a junction renowned as an accident blackspot the road was closed and is now grassed over.
This area is access land, but we follow a route along the southern edge of the field and then on reaching the southeast corner turn left and follow the fence line to pass New King Barrows burial mounds.
After going through a gate we continue north along the footpath to reach Old King Barrows where we turn right along a track for a few hundred yards.
We then turn left and take a farm track that soon heads east towards Halfmoon Clump.
At a junction of tracks we turn right and follow this path down to the A345, here we turn right and walk along the pavement to the A303 underpass at the Countess Roundabout. Emerging from under the road we walk into Amesbury. At traffic lights we turn right into the High Street and follow this into Church Street. Now heading out of the town we cross the River Avon on a pedestrian bridge besides the historic Queensbury Bridge. Built in 1775 this was once the main route into town from the west.
We continue along the road until the junction with Recreation Road, which we follow back to our starting point. Our walk has covered just over thirteen miles and has visited some interesting sites.
To follow my walk, you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 130 – Salisbury & Stonehenge
For more detailed walking directions and GPX download visit my associated Walking Moonraker website.
26th February 2020
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2020)