Stonehenge from footpath along northerly side

SWC 67 Salisbury to Amesbury (via Stonehenge)

18-Jun-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Salisbury Cathedral

SWC 67 Salisbury to Amesbury (via Stonehenge)

18-Jun-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Old Sarum from bridleway to the North

SWC 67 Salisbury to Amesbury (via Stonehenge)

18-Jun-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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SWC 67 Salisbury to Amesbury (via Stonehenge) Extension to Woodhenge and Durrington Walls

18-Jun-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Stonehenge from Normanton Down

This spectacular view of Stonehenge is the highlight of the walk from Salisbury to Stonehenge, as described in the" rel="nofollow Saturday Walkers Club Walk 67 and "Rough Guide to Walks in London and Southeast England". A lovely walk, passing Old Sarum, and along the crystal clear River Avon. You get to see Stonehenge from a distance, so much nicer than the tourist scrum closer in.

27-Sep-08 • Paul Stephenson on Flickr

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Riverside walk

Salisbury to Stonehenge to Amesbury

26-Jun-10 • moontiger on Flickr

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Thatched house - start of Portway

Portway visible at right. Salisbury to Stonehenge to Amesbury

26-Jun-10 • moontiger on Flickr

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Salisbury to Amesbury via Stonehenge walk

A walk up the Avon valley with a magical approach to Stonehenge


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sat, 18-Jun-16 35

Saturday Third Walk - Neolithic Wiltshire (I): SWC 67 Salisbury to Amesbury (via Stonehenge)

This is for all you Pagans out there...flanking the longest day of the year, two expeditions to the most remarkable Neolithic sites in England

SWC Walk 67 – Salisbury to Amesbury (via Stonehenge World Heritage Site)
Length: 25.1 km (15.6 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 330 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 6 out of 10
Take the 09.20 Exeter St. David's train from Waterloo (09.27 Clapham J., 09.46 Woking), arriving Salisbury at 10.42
Return buses from Amesbury to Salisbury City Centre (Stagecoach line 8, about 20 mins journey time): xx.10 and xx.40 to 18.40, then 19.05, 19.35 and 20.33
Return trains from Salisbury: xx.21 and xx.47 hours (about 90 mins journey time) to 18.47, then 19.26, 19.50, 20.26, 21.26, 22.27 (chg Basingstoke)
Buy a cheap £16 Off-Peak Day return to Salisbury on the SWT website or at ticket offices (b4 midnight the day before travel).

This superb walk has no major climbs but covers beautiful rolling countryside and farmland and fields of golden barley and wheat. You then have an evocative and magical approach to Stonehenge across Salisbury Plain. After passing close to the site the route takes you down the original approach used by the Druids – The Avenue – as you set off on the final leg to Amesbury and a bus back to Salisbury city centre. There is a lot to see on this walk and what you choose to do depends very much on your interests and how far you want to walk or travel. You get excellent views of Old Sarum hill fort and of Stonehenge from the walk route. If you wish to visit the sites themselves you have to buy tickets though (for Stonehenge: in advance online). The ancient city of Salisbury has a fascinating history and the Destination Salisbury website provides information about it. If you wish to visit Salisbury Cathedral this is best done before you start the walk (you may want to take an earlier train).
For the walk directions and all options to shorten the walk, a map, a height profile, gpx/kml files, and some photos click here.
The lunch pub is The Wheatsheaf Inn in Lower Woodford (10.2 km/6.4 mi, a table has been booked for 13.15 hours), or The Bridge Inn further along in Upper Woodford (13.0 km/8.1 mi). The gourmet’s favourite The Black Horse in Great Durnford shuts at 14.00 these days, so should be out of reach for all mere mortals (off-route, 15 km/9.3 mi).
The cathedral has Evensong at 1730, so if sitting quietly and taking in the building with a service going on is enough, then that is free. You do not have to be at the start or stay to the end, but obviously you can't just wander about.
Intend going.
MARION said...
I should like to do the Salisbury walk on Saturday which you've posted. Pauline tells me that last year she arranged a mini bus for a group of SWC walkers to take them from Salisburystation to Old Sarum to reduce the length of walking. Any takers for viewing the cathedral first and then continuing by mini bus? Is this an option others would like as I need to shorten this walk if I come and would be happy to stay for dinner in Salusbury before taking the train home. Are you walk checking and therefore taking it at a slower pace. If so I might manage the distance!!! Marion X

Thursday, 16 June, 2016

In my experience, there's usually some people using that option, taxi or bus from town centre or station to Old Sarum.
Thanks in that case it seems its best to take the bus straightaway if you have a bus pass. A mini bus works out at £2 per head if sufficient numbers then a leisurely pace to the lunch stop and go to evensong for a free visit to the cathedral. Anyone up for supper?
South west trains Web site is probably not the most intuitive I've seen, but explained/best value tickets seems to make a good starting point to buy the £16 special offer. Be sure to ensure the "No upgrade" box is filled on the "Choose travel option" page. Unless you really want to upgrade to an Anytime Day Return for an extra £53.30 : )
go to, click on 'buy tickets', enter the details as required, click on any train times (they're all off peak on saturdays), payment details. done. takes 30 seconds. get email confo within 5 seconds. print out or note down reference number, then pick tickets from machine in the morning.
I will aim to walk an extension at the end fron The Avenue to Woodhenge and Durrington Walls, just NE of Stonehenge, with the aim of taking notes for the website write up. Will add a couple of km... Company welcome.
Thank you guys. Have just booked this ticket online for the first time and Yes all tickets cost £16 from wherever you travel from so no benefit for Boundary zone 6 card holders etc and you don't need to queue at Victoria if you can collect the ticket from your local train station. Needs a 2 hour gap after booking on line before accessing the machine with your receipt code as they won't accept emails and will charge the full fare! Easily forgotten if running late.
35 on this walk on a day of warm brightish cloud. With such a big group, fragmentation was inevitable and so this must inevitably be a partial and prejudiced account (other accounts welcome), but quite a few of us diverted for a peek at Salisbury cathedral grounds (mysteriously peppered with sculptures of rabbits), and of course all true blooded Englishmen (not to say some of other sexes and nationalities) made the wonderful diversion up onto the flower bedecked ramparts of Old Sarum.

All of this felt like a pretty good morning's work in itself, but there was then the small matter of another 12 miles of walk to do. This passed very pleasantly, with the walk poster's foresight in booking a table meaning 12 of us got lunch in the Lower (?) Woodford pub. Not alas in the garden due to staff shortages but food came quickly and with good portions, so all in all we were happy. Six to eight of us then had a drink in the Upper (?) Woodford pub by the river. This now does food all afternoon on Saturdays, though since the chef had gone home for lack of orders by the time we arrived at 3pm, this may not last long. It was a lovely place for "refreshies" (you know who you are, KG!) in any case.

Then the highlight of the walk the long climb up onto the Stonehenge plateau when one feels one is going back on time to the Bronze Age and the lowlight the truly evil crossing of the relentless A303 (will the government EVER get round to diverting or burying it? They have been talking about it for 30 years). Near Stonehenge, New Agey types were skulking up side lanes in caravans in readiness for the solstice. The removal of the tea kiosk at Stonehenge is a bitter blow, but the erasing of the minor road that used to run past it and the big ugly car park is a revelation, totally transforming the site. I just loved the next bit, slowly walking away from Stonehenge across the immense grassland, a view one felt must have been just the same in the Stone Age.

Three (four?) then accompanied the walk poster in researching a further addition to the route taking in more Neolithic sites, while we ordinary mortals trudged on to Amesbury. Miraculously at this point the clouds cleared to full sunshine, which reigned for the rest of the day. We caught the 6.40pm bus to Salisbury, hooking up with others and later being joined by the extension crowd, and in all around a dozen of us had a nice al fresco dinner in a pub in the Market Square (especially nice for those of us who got the last remaining chickpea and lentil curries....).

The last train to London, the 9.26 was very crowded. C'mon,South West Trains: only THREE carriages? Ours was a "quiet carriage" which didn't stop us wassailing all the way back to The Smoke.
35 on this walk Cloudy but dry all day, A large turnout from a lot of regulars plus ladies from Metropolitan Walkers. Fast pace in the morning with no one taking the bus or taxis. Old Sarum was confusing to the first group as no be had been before and its worth noting more detail in the walk directions so that you know that you are only walking a quarter of the ramparts to find the steep slope downhill to rejoin the walk. English Heritage guided some of us in the wrong direction. (The best views are from a distance looking back or from the bus when travelling from Amesbury to Salisbury.)

12 for lunch at the first pub The Wheatsheaf with prompt service and good food enjoyed by all including 6 mini desserts for a tenner which were shared. The second pub The Bridge Inn after 8 miles is definitely recommended as a gourmet option but the mains are all £15 and the chef goes home after 3pm if there is insufficient trade although the pub stays open all day. The setting by the river and garden look well worth a stop and we enjoyed tea on on the lawns plus free tap water served from a glass dispenser on the bar attractively flavoured with cucumber and watercress.

The Stonehenge Byway was closed to all traffic due to the wild camping from the Summer Solstice Brigade and the Herras fencing was difficult to get around as there was no allowance for pedestrians crossing the A303. Prickly bushes needed to be negotiated but the view of the Henge was a great reward without having to pay to go into the English Heritage enclosure.

The sight of the burial mounds and ancient excavations in the landscape was a good experience which can only be achieved on foot and with minimal signposting so these walk notes are invaluable. A few additions mainly of compass bearings would be a useful addition.

Sadly as the pub lunchers we did not make Evensong. This is a long walk but without any ascents or descents the distance was managed by all without any difficulty. The hard chalk ground would be very slippery in rain and exposure to lightning an issue if caught in a thunderstorm. Is there a bus on the A303 if one needed to cut the walk short?

All in all a very enjoyable day with great company and conversation in several groups keeping the numbers manageable and our group met up with others in the main square for drinks and supper before catching the crowded train home at 9.26.

Some photos of this outing on the Saturday Walkers Club Facebook page
I just thought I'd add a few notes in addition to Walker's and Marion's excellent prose.
It was an unexpected treat to see Sophie Ryder's exhibition in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral and I'm sure I would have dallied longer if I wasn't walking so far.
Well next it was off to Old Sarum and a circuit of the ramparts before setting off northbound to the lunch stops of Lower and Upper Woodford.
In the afternoon section I had an interesting encounter with a farmer just after Springbottom Farm a real character who told me of his theory that the area was under water in the past (he'd found sea shells to prove it) and the stones for the Henge had been floated on barges from Wales. Hmm.....
Yes, it would be nice to have a way of traversing the A303 a footbridge at least!
As Marion notes, it looks like English Heritage had cordoned off part of the gravel byway as you approached the Henge. However there was a style to the left just after crossing the A303 and it looked like folks could walk parallel to the byway with another style immediately after the obstruction to rejoin.
I met up with a few walkers around the Henge and we all caught the 5:00 pmish X5 back to Salisbury to catch the 5:47 pm back to the Great Wen a super day out
Sat, 08-Aug-15

Saturday Second Walk - Across Salisbury Plain to Stonehenge

SWC Walk 67 - Salisbury to Amesbury via Stonehenge
Length: 25km (15.6 miles) but with several options to shorten: see ** below
Toughness: 7 out of 10, more for its length than anything else: only gentle inclines

9.20 train from Waterloo (9.27 Clapham Junction) to Salisbury, arriving 10.42

Buy a day return to Salisbury using the SWT £20 summer promotion (see instructions on ticket machines at Waterloo: select "South West Trains Only" also available online: may not be available from your local station unless it is SWT: if not day return with a Network card is £25 or so)

Walk directions are here.

This is a long walk, and lacking in shade on a hot day, but it is worth it for the final flourish when you come over the hill and see Stonehenge in the distance across Salisbury Plain. Also for the visit to Old Sarum, the Celtic hill fort and medieval site of Salisbury early in the walk. Plus in between there is some very nice countryside too and a pleasant pub for lunch….

** Three ways to shorten the walk:

- The best idea is probably to take a bus to Old Sarum right at the start - the walk document gives details. This cuts out 4.3km/2.7 miles, bringing the total walk down to 20.7km/12.9 miles.

- Cutting out the first lunch pub in Lower Woodford and aiming for the second one in Upper Woodford (but phone to check it is open and has room) trims another 2.2km/1.2 miles, but note that last orders at the Upper Woodford pub are at 2.30pm while the Lower Woodford one serves food all afternoon.

- At the end of the walk you can do a more direct route to Amesbury, getting just a distant glimpse of Stonehenge, saving 2.7km/1.7 miles.

- Doing all three of the above would reduce the walk to 15.8km/10 miles (so no muttering about how we always post long walks these days!!)

Note that new arrangements at Stonehenge itself mean it is awkward to visit the site from this walk. You now have to walk or take a shuttle bus some way to a visitor's centre to get in. There is a very expensive bus (£14 for a day ticket) from the visitor's centre back to Salisbury. But actually visiting the site does not add much to the experience: seeing them across open plains is much more exciting.

Buses back from Amesbury to Salisbury are the 8 and X5: they go at 00, 10, 30 and 40 past the hour until 19.00, then 19.05, 19.35, 20.33. It is a 20-25 minute journey and a 10 minute walk from the bus stop in Salisbury to the station.

Trains back from Salisbury are at 21 and 47 past until 18.47, then 19.26, 20.26, 21.26, 22.27 (a five minute change at Basingstoke for this last train, arr Waterloo 00.03)
FYI Value Taxis in Salisbury. They will take you to Old Sarum for about £10. [Tel:01722 50 50 50]. They have a Mini bus! Alternatively, you can buy a Plusbus on your Summer ProMo ticket for £2.70.

FYI the kitchen at the Black Horse Inn shuts at 1.45pm. The Bridge Inn is most definately NOT a gastro pub. LM.
15 on this walk, Warm and sunny. Group split up doing various options and detours. My first go at the short cut to Amesbury not a great success. See comments section for walk.
Sat, 17-May-14 15 Salisbury to Amesbury
Sat, 25-May-13 7 Salisbury to Amesbury
Sat, 04-Aug-12 Salisbury to Amesbury
Sat, 16-Jul-11 Salisbury to Amesbury
Sat, 26-Jun-10 Salisbury to Amesbury
Sat, 30-May-09 Salisbury to Amesbury via Stonehenge