Upavon and Rushall From Charlton Manor CL

Next week I am on a two day, outdoor first aid course near Devizes so I have planned a trip close to the training centre whilst also doing some walking in the Vale of Pewsey.  It was my intention to stay at Horse Lane Farm CL, near Devizes, but unfortunately the recent wet spell has resulted in their site being waterlogged.  So at the last moment I booked a pitch at Charlton Manor CL, in Charlton St Peter.  It is a CL I know well because we have stayed here a few times in the past.

This is a solo trip, Lynnie has decided to stay home with Crosby.  He is not up to walking long distances anymore and Lynnie has plans to work in the garden.  I am an old hand at solo caravanning and it does not take too long to get set up and the awning pitched.  I am then ready to do an evening walk and decide to head off to the edge of Salisbury Plain and then drop down into Upavon.

I leave Charlton Manor CL, turning right to walk towards the village.  Soon after crossing the River Avon I take a lane on the right and then after a couple of hundred yards fork left to head uphill on a footpath to reach the Charlton Cat Cafe. This dates from the 1820’s and used to be a pub.  Apparently, it was originally called the Red Lion, but by the 1920’s it had become known locally as the Cat due to the poorly painted lion on its sign, so the name was changed. 

I cross the A342 to join the track opposite, this is Charlton Drove and I follow it on a long steady ascent.

The track passes barns and continues on to pass the Charlton Clumps trig pillar.  I have bagged this trig on a number of occasions.  

At a junction of tracks with a warning sign about unexploded ordinance I turn left to follow a path besides the edge of the Ministry of Defence danger area.  It was back in 1898 that the army first conducted training exercises on the plain and started acquiring land.  This continued until the 1940’s and now there are about 150 square miles of land with restricted access, or in some parts no access at all because of live firing.  

It is a cracking late afternoon to be out walking.  My route follows the path keeping the fence for the firing range on my right.

Ignoring a track on my left I continue on until I reach a brick hut used by Range Staff, here I turn left beside a parking area to join a tarmac track.

To my right are the ramparts of Casterley Camp, a large Iron Age hillfort.

Walking along this tarmac track it is easy to pick up pace and I rapidly catch someone walking in front of me.  As we pass he enquiries if I am in a hurry to get to a pub for a pint, if so he suggests I stop in the Antelope in Upavon.  I hadn’t previously thought about having a pint during my walk, but the idea does seem attractive.

There are wide ranging views form this track and as I start to descend there is a cracking valley to my right looking towards Widdington Farm.

The track leads to the A342 which I cross with care and then continue straight on into Upavon.

Heading the advice of the chap I met earlier I walk through the village and pop into the Antelope for a pint.  An early Friday evening crowd is in and it becomes obvious there is a strong community feel to this village.  Refreshed I continue my walk through the village with its attractive thatched cottages.

Turning left into Jarvis Street I gradually head uphill and pass the site of the old village forge which is soon to be redeveloped into housing and then at a junction I stay with Jarvis Street as it goes to the right and then ends by allotments.  Here I take a footpath besides the allotments and head towards Rushall.

After passing through a belt of trees I continue through a meadow towards Rushall Church.

After crossing a stile I go over a lane and through a kissing gate to enter a field besides St Matthew’s Church.  Apparently the church was first recorded in 1086 and was then rebuilt in 1332.  There was further rebuilding in 1812 and restoration in 1873 and 1905, the tower contains three bells dating from 1400, 1606 and 1740.

The path now heads through a meadow besides the River Avon.  As I head along I spot a Barn Owl quartering across the field in front of me so stop and watch it for a few minutes.

After going through a gate I soon reach a road and turn left along the pavement passing houses in Rushall.  As the road bends to the left I cross and take a track in front of me passing a row of cottages, one of which has an interesting collection in front of it.

After passing the entrance to the village allotments a tarmac path heads between fields towards Charlton St Peter.  Entering the village I continue straight on passing St Peter’s Church.  This was rebuilt in 1858 but parts of a 12th century church survive and the tower is said to date from the 15th century.

From here it is only a short walk through the village to return to my starting point at Charlton Manor CL.  My stroll has covered almost seven miles and there have been some cracking views as I’ve wandered around.  However, the highlight for me was watching the Barn Owl.

You can view this 7 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here

To follow my walk, you will need Ordnance Survey Maps: OS Explorer Active Map OL130 – Salisbury and Stonehenge

3rd May 2024

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2024)

All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it.  To the best of my knowledge the routes are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access.
Walking can be hazardous and is done entirely at your own risk.  It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.

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