A new variant of the Pewsey Circular via Avebury walk:
This is an easy excursion into the heart of Neolithic Wiltshire, a mysterious landscape full of pre-historic earthworks, standing stones, sarsen fields and hillforts as well as barrows – burial mounds of kings and warriors. The route passes through or past two of the most important prehistoric sites in Britain: Fyfield Down Sarsen Stones Field and Avebury Standing Stones and Bank & Ditch Earthworks, while Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow, The Sanctuary and Windmill Hill can be explored on extensions.
Take a train to Bedwyn (unlike Pewsey, this is within the Network SE, and with a more frequent service), a cheap connecting bus to Marlborough and walk to Avebury. Explore Avebury village and surrounding sights as much as you like (every worthwhile site is covered by the written directions), and make your way back to Marlborough, either by bus or on foot. There will be enough time to add either the loop down to Silbury Hill, West Kennett Long Barrow and The Sanctuary or the one up to Windmill Hill, and still finish in daylight, but the late starters will have to take the bus back from Avebury to Marlborough to beat the darkness, with or without extra loops.
Short Walk: Marlborough to Avebury 13.6 km/8.4 mi
Long Walk: Marlborough Circular 24.3 km/15.1 mi
[in both cases without excursions to Silbury Hill, The Long Barrow, The Sanctuary or Windmill Hill]
Ascent/Descent: 288m (M’boro Circ)
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours (M’boro Circ)
Toughness: 6 out of 10 (M’boro Circ)
Early Start/Long Walk: take the 08.15 Cheltenham Spa train from Paddington (change at Reading [arr. 08.39/dep. 08.49] onto the Bedwyn service), arrives Bedwyn 09.29.
Then take the 09.52 bus to Marlborough (line 20), from Great Bedwyn Square (2 minutes from the station), arrives 10.07.
Late Start/Short Walk: take the 10.18 Bedwyn train (Reading 10.48), arrives Bedwyn 11.31, Then take the 11.36 bus from the station (this bus will wait for up to 10 minutes), arrives 12.01.
Note: The bus fare is £1.00 each way upon showing a valid train ticket!
Bus from Avebury: Line 42 from the Red Lion pub to Marlborough on 14.55 (arr. 15.20) and 16.43 (arr. 17.07). [Also stopping at West Kennett (on the A4, i.e. close to the extension to the Long Barrow and The Sanctuary)]. Then connect to one of below buses to Bedwyn station.
Bus from Marlborough: Lines 20 or 22 to Bedwyn on 16.05 (arr. 16.34), 17.15 (arr. 17.33) and 18.15 (arr. 18.32).
Trains from Bedwyn: 16.36, 16.56, 17.39, 18.41, 19.41, 20.48, 22.00 and 23.00.
Buy a Bedwyn return.
Lunch: The Red Lion
(12.2 km/7.6 mi, food all day).
Tea: Numerous options in Marlborough, see the pdf page 16.
For walk directions
, height profile, photos
and gpx/kml files