Salisbury Circular walk

Gentle start via historic Salisbury, the Chalke Valley, pretty villages. Strenuous afternoon via the Downs, a Roman Road, and a noted Water Meadows view of the Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral across the Water Meadows SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

Salisbury Cathedral across the Water Meadows

SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

01-Aug-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Bishopstone from the top of the Down SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

Bishopstone from the top of the Down

SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

01-Aug-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Field of Poppies on Faulston Down SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

Field of Poppies on Faulston Down

SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

23-Jun-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Mill Barn, Coombe Bissett SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

Mill Barn, Coombe Bissett

SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

23-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Along Church bottom, on the way to the Ox Drove SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

Along Church bottom, on the way to the Ox Drove

SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

01-Aug-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Scenic Down East of Church Bottom SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

Scenic Down East of Church Bottom

SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

01-Aug-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Gate to Cathedral Precinct SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

Gate to Cathedral Precinct

SWC Walk 254 Salisbury Circular

23-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Length 32.2 km (20.0 mi), with 427m ascent/descent. For a shorter walk see below Walk Options.
Toughness 7 out of 10 Time, with 7 ¼ hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 11 ½ hours.
Walk Notes

This long walk explores the Chalke Valley in the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the South West of the quintessentially English Cathedral City of Salisbury. It leads out of town through the Cathedral precinct, past some of England’s finest historic houses and through the Harnham Hill suburb into open fields with far views over the Chalke Valley to distant Downs. The morning route then largely follows the Ebble River upstream in the Chalke Valley through several pretty villages in this picturesque part of Wiltshire, with three good lunch pubs and two community stores conveniently spaced out along the route.
Most of the climbing is left for the afternoon, starting with a steady ascent with splendid views into pretty coombes, from Broad Chalke up to an ancient Ox Drove on top of the Downs. A long stretch with more views from the Down into coombes and valleys follows, largely along the course of a Roman Road, before the descent back into the Chalke Valley, followed by an immediate re-ascent up another Down. A Drove Track with views into the Nadder and Wylye Valleys leads past Salisbury’s Race Course and through the steep Harnham Slope Nature Reserve to tea at Harnham’s charming Old Mill.
From there the route back to the station goes through the town’s Water Meadows and provides ‘Britain’s Best View’ (Country Life magazine): Salisbury Cathedral across the meadows.

Shorter routes, reducing the length considerably, are described.

Walk Options

There are two mutually exclusive Shortcuts around lunch:

  • Shortcut I reduces the walk by 5.4 km (3.4 mi), the ascent/descent by 20m and the rating to 6/10;
  • Shortcut II reduces the walk by 7.2 km (4.5 mi), the ascent/descent by 32m and the rating to 6/10.

Bus 29 Shaftesbury to Salisbury City Centre (10 mins walk from the train station) runs through the Chalke Valley and stops outside all three lunch pubs as well as in the village of Stratford Tony (opp. Manor Farm), half-way through the afternoon (about every 90 mins, Mon-Sat).

Cutting out the outer loop of this figure-of-8 walk and turning back in Stratford Tony, reduces the length to 17.0 km/10.6 mi.

OS Map OS Explorer: 130 (Salisbury & Stonehenge)
OS Landranger: 184 (Salisbury & The Plain)
Travel Salisbury Station, map reference SU 136 301, is 125 km south west of Charing Cross, 51m above sea level and in Wiltshire. It is on the London Waterloo to Exeter St. Davids West of England Main Line. Journey times are 82 or 90 minutes Monday to Saturday (half-hourly) and 90 minutes on Sunday (hourly).

Saturday Walkers’ Club: Take the train closest to 9.20 hours.

Lunch

The Fox & Goose Blandford Road, Coombe Bissett, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 4LE (01722 718 437). The Fox & Goose is located 7.1 km (4.4 mi) into the walk. Home cooked food with daily chalkboard specials is served in this village freehouse.
Coombe Bissett Stores Homington Road, Coombe Bissett, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 4LR (01722 718 852). The Stores are located 7.2 km (4.5 mi) into the walk. Built in 1957, a consortium of village residents bought the freehold in 2007/8.
The White Hart Butts Lane, Bishopstone, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 4AA (01722 780 244). The White Hart is located 11.9 km (7.4 mi) into the walk.
The Queen’s Head North Street, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5EN (01722 780 344). The Queen’s Head is located 15.4 km (9.6 mi) into the full walk. A delightful 18th Century pub brimming with charm and character in this quintessentially English village.
Chalke Valley Stores URC Chapel, High Road, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5EH (01722 780 998). The Stores are located 15.4 km (9.6 mi) into the full walk.

Tea

The Old Mill at Harnham West Harnham, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 8EU (01722 327 517). The Old Mill Hotel is located 1.0 km from the end of the walk, in a 15th century building with features dating back to 1250. From its early ecclesiastical beginnings, it was transformed in the 16th century to a paper mill. The hotel is Grade I-listed in parts and stands in a most peaceful and stunning location above 3 mill-runs off the River Nadder. It has a large garden at the back along the millstream.

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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

Jun-21 Thomas G

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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