Length: 32.2 km (20.0 mi) [shorter walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 460m; Net Walking Time: 7 ¼ hours
Take the 09.20 Exeter St David's & Bristol Temple Meads train from Waterloo (09.27 Clapham J, 09.46 Woking), arrives Salisbury 10.42.
Return trains are on xx.47 and xx.21 to 18.21, then 19.26, 19.50, 20.26, 21.26, 22.27.
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 by 5.4 km or 7.2 km respectively, are described.
Tea: The Old Mill at Harnham
(1.0 km from the end of the walk), plus a couple of Indian restos by the station and lots of choice in Salisbury’s City Centre (a little off-route).
, height profile
, some photos, walk directions
and gpx/kml files