...this slot is a swap with Chris L against my Saturday 27 May slot...
This walk had an aborted ‘outing’ on April Fools’ Day, when the Imber Range was shut to the public anyway, but this is the real thing…
It is a long and expensive outing, but – and I’ve said this before about one or two of my other walks – a walk like no other.
Westbury to Warminster
Length: 30.4 km (18.9 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 494/436 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 7 hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10
start from Bratton or Edington, and/or finish in Heytesbury, from as little as 16.5 km/10.3 mi (rated 3/10)
[due to the buses not running on Sundays, these options require a taxi journey from Westbury or to Warminster today]
Take the 08.57 Plymouth train from Paddington (09.32 Reading), arriving Westbury at 10.21.
Return trains: Ticketing is complicated, as both stations are served by different train companies and outside the Network Southeast area, here are the options, ranked by level of expense (the general rule – of course – is: the more you spend, the more options you have!):
(A) Split Tickets (London-Newbury return + Newbury-Warminster return) - £41.20 Full Price (£27.30 with Senior, Two Together etc. Railcards, £33.05 with a Network Railcard), your only eligible returns are the 17.36, 18.44, 19.44 and 20.44 trains from Warminster, connecting to the 17.56, 19.55, 20.28 and 21.44 trains from Westbury respectively, as your train has to have a stop at Newbury (i.e.: you have a long wait at Westbury for the latter three trains, and I can’t guarantee that the excellent waiting room with café will be open on the evening of Easter Day, but there is a pub 2 mins away).
(B) GWR-only Off-Peak Warminster Return - £52.50 Full Price (£34.60 with Senior, Two Together etc. Railcards), you have to return to Paddington (and change at Westbury or Swindon), your options are: the 17.36, then hourly 17.44 to 21.44.
(C) Off-Peak Warminster Return - £57.50 Full Price (£37.95 with Senior, Two Together etc. Railcards), valid on all returns into Waterloo (16.53, 17.08, 18.23, 19.08, 20.10 or 21.46) and Paddington (as above under (B)).
“Little Imber on the Downe, 7 miles from any towne.”
Bookended by indifferent, tarmac-heavy urban stretches through Westbury and Warminster, this walk is a fascinating journey across the Imber Live Firing Range
on Salisbury Plain
, an accidental wilderness due to having been MoD property since 1898, and out-of-bounds for most of the year
, apart from short stand downs over Christmas and Easter and for some weeks in August (most years). Imber village
itself was abandoned in 1943 at five weeks’ notice to be used for training house-to-house combat in preparation for the invasion of Continental Europe and is one of the most haunting and evocative
places visited on any SWC walk. Imber Church will be open 11.00-16.00 hours today
, an Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for noon (i.e. before we arrive, unfortunately).
Either side of the Plain the route conquers five hills
, three of which with notable remnants of Iron Age hillfort sites: Bratton Camp
, Scratchbury Camp
and Battlesbury Camp
, and also passes Wiltshire’s largest White Horse
, at Westbury. You get superb views
across Salisbury Plain and of the surrounding countryside of Wiltshire and Somerset.
Shorter walks, starting from Bratton or Edington, or finishing in Heytesbury, involve short taxi journeys, due to the buses not running on Sundays.
Note 1: Before embarking on this walk, please read the chapters on Public Safety and Access Rights on Salisbury Plain/Imber Range and on General Health & Safety Rules for military areas and ranges on page 2 in the walk directions pdf.
Note 2: These rare Open Days on the Imber Range are very popular; we may be the only walkers in Imber when we get there, but there will be lots of other people coming by car or bike.
(although there will be hot drinks and biscuits sold at Imber Church
(14.4 km/9.0 mi)).
For the tea options in Heytesbury and Warminster check page 2 of the walk directions pdf. T=swc.286
For the walk directions
, a map
, a height profile
, gpx/kml files