Wilsford Hill from Charlton St Peter

It is six months since we were last away in the caravan.  The Covid-19 pandemic has made us rethink our travel plans for the year, rather than longer tours we are only going away for a week or so at a time and hope to visit a few CL’s within a fifty-mile radius of home.

Once the initial travel restrictions were eased I started exploring parts of Wiltshire I hadn’t previously walked.  A few weeks ago I walked from the small town of Pewsey and was struck by the surrounding area.  So this is where we are.  Lynnie and I have pitched up at the attractive Charlton Manor CL, in the hamlet of Charlton St Peter.

It is only a forty-minute drive from home and soon after our arrival we are sorted and ready to explore the local area.  We’ve only brought Crosby with us; Dexter is now too old to walk far and is staying with our neighbours where we know he will be spoilt.  

Leaving the site we go through the farm and on reaching a track turn left and head north on the White Horse Trail, this long-distance path covers ninety miles and visits all eight of the Wiltshire White Horses.  I had hoped to walk this trail this year, but travel restrictions have made it difficult so my walking buddy Mandy and I are doing day walks visiting each horse.  

At a junction of tracks we turn left, leaving the White Horse Trail to head towards Cuttenham Farm.  The path is hedge lined but occasionally we glimpse the surrounding countryside through clearings.

Nearing Cuttenham Farm is a junction of paths and we turn left and walk up to a minor road where we turn left and cross a bridge to pass in front of the farm house.

At a fork in the road we go right towards Wilsford and soon enter the attractive village.  I have recently started “bagging” Ordnance Survey benchmarks.  Some would consider this a sad pastime, but it adds interest to some walks.  I won’t make a long diversion to see one, but if on route they are worth seeking out.  A quick search of the Benchmark Database has revealed one on St Nicholas Church and as we enter the village we spot the 12th century church and soon find the cut on the wall.

We would normally head inside for a quick look, but decide not to today.

Leaving the churchyard we head south on a lane passing Wilsford Manor and then as the road bends to the left we take a footpath on the right to pass along the edge of a field.

Reaching a gate we don’t go through but instead turn left to head south along the edge of the field, after going through a gate we continue on a grassy path towards the A342.

After crossing the road we join a track that steadily ascends Wilsford Hill, as we start heading up we turn to look back to the Alton Barnes White Horse on the opposite side of the vale.

It is a long steady ascent up Wilsford Hill on the well-maintained track.

At the top there are cracking views, to the south there is the wide expanse of Salisbury Plain, most of which has restricted access because of the artillery ranges.  Not a sensible place to wander, or to pick up objects and there is no shortage of warning signs.

When I was younger I used to think the plain was a desolate area, now I appreciate the beauty of the downland.  It is a pity that so much of it is inaccessible.

At a junction of tracks we turn left and follow the broad path toward Charlton Clumps. 

We ignore the first track on our left, but take the second which soon leads us to an Ordnance Survey trig pillar.  This is one I have already bagged, but it’s a new one for Lynnie.

This track is Charlton Drove and it descends steadily offering fine views.

The drove leads us back to the A342 opposite the Charlton Cat cafe, we cross carefully and take a path through a gate.  The Charlton Cat was a pub and the building dates from the 1820’s.  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.  If this is true it is a lovely tale!

We follow this path the short distance to the outskirts of Charlton St Peter, where we turn left and follow the track back to Charlton Manor CL.

Our walk has covered almost 6 miles and has been a great introduction to the area.  Now it is time to sit in the awning with a beer and plan a longer excursion for tomorrow.

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

You can view this 6 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here (Subscription to OS Maps Required)

12th July 2020

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2020)

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