A glorious walk in the hills between Martin Down and the Chalk Valley taking in Vernditch Chase, Marleycombe Hill, Church Bottom and Middleton Down Nature Reserve
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Plenty of free parking in the Martin Down Nature Reserve car park on the other side of the A354. Extreme caution when crossing this road.
(D/A) From the car park cross the A354 into Vernditch Chase forest. Follow bridleway through woodland. Kitt's Grave is a long barrow which is somewhere in the beech woods.
(1) On joining the road, turn right. After a few hundred metres, turn right from the road by yellow grit bin onto Ox Drove/Cranbone Link. Shortly after, turn left via a gate onto footpath over Marleycombe Hill.
(2) Turn right on slopes down from Marleycombe Hill overlooking Bowerchalke to cross the earthworks.
Having crossed hillside over earthworks zig zag down to the foot of the hill to join broad grass footpath towards the village. At stony track opposite Hayes Barton, turn right to join road through Bowerchalke (Church Street)
(3) Turn right along Church Street then turn right into the entrance of Knowle Farm. Turn immediately left to follow permissive path bypassing farmyard and follow bridleway up the tarmac farm road. At crossroads with bridleway continue straight on to Field Barn.
(4) After Field Barn, continue on the stony bridleway and at fork continue on the stone track to right, ignoring the grassy path to the left.
(5) On reaching Thatched wall turn right on a stony track. At the road, turn left into Howgare Road.
(6) Turn right onto bridleway towards Church Bottom. After house called Church Bottom, ignore footpath to the left and continue along bridleway along Church Bottom.
(7) Stop to admire views at the bench erected as a memorial to Kay Chalk. After Kay Chalk's bench, continue upwards along bridleway up to Ox Drove on ridge or branch right through a gate onto Middletown Down Nature Reserve (walk follows the route through nature reserve). Pass through several gates along valley bottom through the reserve and on seeing oak trees on slopes up to the left head upwards to the far corner, or head straight up and follow the fence line. Beware livestock in reserve.
(8) On leaving reserve via a footpath at south west corner, turn left onto Ox Drove. After 100 metres, turn right onto restricted byway and follow the field edge to the corner where the byway then turns right along the edge of the field. When you see yurt in the field on left, the footpath has been blocked and signs removed so continue along the byway.
(9) On reaching road, cross and enter stony car park for Vernditch Chase. DO NOT pass by barrier onto forest trail ahead but go through trees to the left of the car park on the dirt path. Follow the path up and bending to right along the route of Roman Road back towards Martin Down car park. (D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 404ft - Martin Down Car Park
1 : mi 1.21 - alt. 607ft - Cutler's Corner
2 : mi 1.97 - alt. 610ft - Deviation for earthworks
3 : mi 3.11 - alt. 354ft - Church Street
4 : mi 4.18 - alt. 387ft - Fork in path
5 : mi 4.76 - alt. 318ft - Thatched wall
6 : mi 5.13 - alt. 289ft - Junction with road to Shaftesbury
7 : mi 6.19 - alt. 381ft - Kay Chalk's Bench
8 : mi 6.99 - alt. 535ft - Junction with Ox Drove
9 : mi 8 - alt. 364ft - Vernditch Chase
D/A : mi 9.14 - alt. 400ft - Car park
The terrain presents no real difficulties being mostly grassy or stone tracks with the occasional stretch of road. May be a little muddy in places in wet conditions especially through Vernditch Chase forest.
There are no pubs or shops on the route.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Vernditch Chase - contains long barrows including Kitt's Grave which is somewhere in the beech woods.
Marleycombe Hill - wide reaching views across three counties. Earthworks overlooking Bowerchalke.
Church Bottom - site of the Chalke Valley History Festival
Middleton Down Nature Reserve
A walk from Wiltshire's highest point and through the villages of Tollard Royal and Berwick St James
This walk takes you along quiet field and woodland paths to the site of an Iron Age hill fort. It then continues to a stream-side hamlet on the edge of Castle Hill. There are views across the beautiful Avon Valley with its wildlife-rich water meadows and pasture and an optional detour to Castle Hill fort before returning along field and woodland paths to Godshill.
The route starts at Woodfalls and follows a section of the Avon Valley Path through fields and woods to the charming village of Hatchet Green. You then pass Hale House and St Mary's Church before walking alongside the peaceful River Avon. At Woodgreen you can explore a rural community with a strong village identity. The walk returns via shady tracks and woods to Hatchett Green and back to Woodfalls.
A gentle exploratory ramble along nearby footpaths with pleasant views. Nothing onerous.
This walk starts in the village of Landford and explores the northern tip of the New Forest in Wiltshire among woodlands that were once Royal Forests. The walk follows a wooded path to a river ford and through pretty woods and fields to Hamptworth Farm. The route then follows the edge of a golf course to Langley Wood and to the little hamlet of Hamptworth before returning back over the ford to Landford.
Starting from Bolderwood car park this meandering route leads you past the deer fields and some majestic trees, the oldest of which date back to 1860. Unfortunately a large number of trees were lost in the Great Storms of 1987 and 1991, but many new trees have been planted and more will be planted over the coming years.
Visit the Rufus Stone to discover the mystery surrounding the death of King William II. The route then follows quiet country lanes to the unspoilt village of Minstead where the famous detective writer and spiritualist Sir Arthur Conon Doyle is buried in the grounds of All Saints Church. Return via winding lanes and fields to Canterton and Brook.
This walk starts at the village centre before setting out on a circular walk around the edge of the village. There is a gentle uphill climb along Castle Hill Lane where there are good views across the Avon Valley; the perfect setting for stories about dragons and smugglers. The route passes an ancient hill fort on Castle Hill before descending back to the village and along the edge of the Open Forest. The walks return to the village centre past pretty Forest properties and the Queen's Head pub.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.