Walking in Wiltshire
When one thinks of Wiltshire the images which spring most readily to mind are the spacious rolling downland of Salisbury Plain and associations with pre-history which are at their most stunning at Avebury and Stonehenge. Whilst Wiltshire is more complex than this a journey northwards to the Marlborough Downs will reinforce this picture of sweeping chalk downland and ancient times. Here, there is also the handiwork of more recent history, in the famous Wiltshire White Horses. There are now eight of them and they have their own newly opened long distance path, 'The White Horse Trail'.
The Vale of Pewsey and Savenake Forest, part of the Kennet District, offer a complimentary landscape which also has many enjoyable walking opportunities; and the Kennet and Avon canal, joining the two rivers, provides delightful waterside rambling through peaceful rural countryside.
South of Salisbury Plain the Wylye and Nadder river valleys offer lovely walks, once again through a quiet rural landscape a million miles away from the hustle of industrial Swindon in the north of the county.
Lacock - Lacock is a jewel amongst English villages, with its gabled roofs and timber framed buildings lining its ancient streets. Nothing has been built here since 1800 and the architecture spans the centuries from medieval England up to that time. This unique historic village is fortunately under the protection of the National Trust, so its charming fabric is safe. There is much to explore and admire here including the magnificent church of St Cyriac, the restored village cross and the 14th century barn opposite the Red Lion inn which should not be missed. A popular location with film and TV dramas, Lacock featured in 'Pride and Prejudice' and the Abbey Cloisters in the Harry Potter films.
Lacock Abbey, close to the village, was founded in 1229 by Ela, Countess of Salisbury. After Dissolution in 1539 it was purchased by Sir William Sharington who converted much of the old abbey into an impressive country house. Later the estate was purchased by the Talbot family a descendent of which was the pioneering photographer William Henry Fox Talbot. Regarded as the 'father of photography' he conducted much of his research here and today the Fox Talbot Museum commemorates his life and achievements.
OS Maps: Explorer 156
A Walk from Lacock [ST 910680]
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