Pewsey Circular walk

North Wessex Downs and the Vale of Pewsey

Wandsdyke in the evening sun SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

Wandsdyke in the evening sun

SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

26-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Westerly Views from Huish Hill SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

Westerly Views from Huish Hill

SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

08-Aug-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Bridge #115, Kennet & Avon Canal SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

Bridge #115, Kennet & Avon Canal

SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

08-Aug-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Oare Hill with Giant's Grave SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

Oare Hill with Giant's Grave

SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

26-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Cows at bottom of Milk Hill SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

Cows at bottom of Milk Hill

SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

26-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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First View of Oare Hill SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

First View of Oare Hill

SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

08-Aug-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Kennet & Avon Canal from Pains Bridge SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

Kennet & Avon Canal from Pains Bridge

SWC Walk 127 Pewsey Circular

08-Aug-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Length

26.9 km (16.7 miles) with 410m ascent/descent. For a shorter walk see below Walk Options.

Toughness

6 out of 10, with 6 hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 9 hours.

Walk Notes

This is an exhilarating excursion through the solitude of the Vale of Pewsey, which separates the chalk upland of the North Wessex Downs to the north from that of the Salisbury Plain to the south, including an ascent up the southerly escarpment of the Marlborough Downs, from where there are stunning far views in all directions over this land of wave-like hills, with its scarps, ridges and valleys. It is a mysterious landscape, full of pre-historic earthworks and hillforts as well as barrows – burial mounds of kings and warriors.
Part of the walk leads along the Wansdyke – an earth bank and deep ditch running east to west – which sporadically links Bristol to Marlborough. It was built by the beleaguered Romano-British Celts – after being deserted by the Romans in the 5th century – as a fortification to stem the Saxon advance. From there it is just a short walk to Wiltshire’s highest peak (Milk Hill) with its stunning steep serrated Down and then to the Alton Barnes White Horse – cut into the hillside in 1812. After a scenic descent into the Vale of Pewsey, an undemanding stretch along the Kennet & Avon Canal leads back to Pewsey with its tea options.

Shortcuts reduce the rating of this walk to 5/10 or even 4/10.

Walk Options

Two Shortcuts are possible: they reduce the walk by 3.5 km (2.1 mi) or by 3.4 km (2.1 mi) respectively, the ascent/descent by 73m or 67m respectively and the rating to 5/10 respectively; or to 4/10 when walking both Shortcuts (resulting in a 19.8 km/12.3 mi walk).
Bus X5 Salisbury – Swindon gives the opportunity to cut out the first 3.4 km from Pewsey to Oare. It runs hourly (Mon-Sat), but the nearest stop is somewhat away from the station (check online maps).
Connect2 Wiltshire buses 101 and 102 (Mon-Sat) serve several villages en-route, but some stops must be pre-booked (up to 2 hours before departure by calling 01722 326 154, from 08.30 Mon-Sat). For a timetable: https://www.connectingwiltshire.co.uk/getting-around/bus/flexible-transport/
Taxis are available from Valleywide Taxi (0800-170 7575 or 07957-088 265).

Maps

OS Explorer: 157 (Marlborough & Savernake Forest)
OS Landranger: 173 (Swindon & Devizes)

Travel

Pewsey Station, map reference SU 161 603, is 25 km south of Swindon, 116 km west of Charing Cross, 116m above sea level, and in Wiltshire. Pewsey Station is on the Berkshire and Hampshire line, served by Intercity trains between London and the West Country. The journey time is about 60 minutes. Pewsey is outside the Network South East Area, necessitating split journey tickets at either Reading or Newbury if using the Network Railcard.

Saturday Walkers' Club: Take any train up to 11.00 hours.

Lunch/Tea

The Honeystreet Mill Café Honeystreet Mill, Pewsey Vale, SN9 5PS T: 01672 851 853. The Mill Café is located 19.6 km (12.2 mi) into the full walk.
The Barge Inn Honeystreet Village, Pewsey Vale, SN9 5PS (01672 851 222). A Canalside pub, located 20.0 km (12.5 mi) into the walk.

More than a handful of tea options, just off-route in Wilcot and in Pewsey. For details see the walk directions pdf.

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By Train

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Start SN9 5ER Map Directions

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Jul-21 Thomas G

Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml

Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk