Winter walks in Wiltshire to blow away the cobwebs
If one of your 2022 resolutions was to up your step count, you're in luck! We've rounded up the best local walks to amble around this January (complete with cosy pubs, dry January who?)
Walks in Wiltshire: Malmesbury bridges walks
Distance and difficulty: Easy, less than two miles. All flat, though do wear wellies! Find out more about the walk here.
Good for: Duck spotting and seeing Malmesbury’s impressive skyline. Yes, a small town can have a skyline, thank you!
Why we love it: This short but sweet walk takes you over every bridge over the River Avon in Malmesbury, creating quite the scenic walk around the town, that not in the least taxing. Our dog loved it too, taking every opportunity for a dip in the river.
Nearby pub: Stop by The Old Bell in Malmesbury (where we hosted our Muddy Awards 2021) for a drink by the fire, afternoon tea or even a full, fancy meal. We had the sea bream this week and can’t wait to order it again soon.
Walks in Wiltshire: A leisurely stroll around Lacock
Distance and difficulty: Easy – 2 miles long (with a little extra to walk to the pub). View walk here
Good for: Harry Potter lovers. Many of the Hogwarts scenes in HP were shot in Lacock’s impressive surroundings.
Why we love it: Didn’t you hear? Harry Potter was filmed here! Aside from that, the village is one of the most picturesque in the county and you get to walk through a ford – don’t forget your wellies.
Nearby pub: The Rising Sun, just outside Lacock was a gem we found during lockdown 2.0 and we haven’t stopped coming back since. Set among some of the most picturesque scenery our county has to offer, The Rising Sun has crackling fires for keeping warm in the winer, while the private dining pods in the garden make for a perfect special occasion booking. Watching the sunset from them while nibbling on a sharing platter is one of the highlights of 2021 for us. See for yourself.
Walks in Wiltshire: Bedwyn circular
Distance and difficulty: Moderate – mostly flat. 4 mile route. View walk here.
Good for: Lovers of forests, fields and farmland.
Why we love it: It’s a fairly easy walk, and none of those pesky stiles! Gorgeous views of Great Bedwyn and the Kennet and Avon Canal, ending up back in the village itself.
Nearby pub: The Three Tuns is one of those rare beauties – it has a lovely, dog-friendly beer garden with a boules pitch for summer-drinking but come winter, roaring fires will toast your toes while you glug your way through the jug of freshly-made Bloody Mary propped on the bar, small batch spirits from around the Southwest and, last but not not least, their homemade mulled cider. This freehold village pub has won accolades for its Sunday roast so it’s no surprise that great food is a biggie here, from small bites of cauliflower cheese croquettes to rare Bavette steak. The bar is pretty lively too!
Walks in Wiltshire: Pepperbox Hill Walk
Distance and difficulty: Moderate. 6.8 mile route. View walk here.
Good for: Lovers of butterflies – the chalk downland here is a significant site in Wiltshire for rare butterfly species, including the duke of burgundy. We can’t promise they’ll be fluttering about in January (and we don’t blame them!) but make a note to come back in Spring if butterflies are your thing.
Why we love it: This is a wonderful place for a walk, starting at the folly on Pepperbox Hill and taking you across to Dean Hill, with gorgeous views over the open countryside to the southeast of Salisbury. Carry on through Mean Wood, which in springtime is thickly carpeted with bluebells, and on down into the village of Whiteparish, before heading back across fields and a gentle climb back up to Pepperbox Hill.
Nearby pub: A big Muddy thumbs up to The Kings Head, Whiteparish, a pub set in a 16th century old coaching house, lovingly restored without losing sight of the fact that this is a village pub, loved by locals. Truly exhausted after your walk? Or absolutely fed up of the in-laws in your home? Why not stay over? Their old barn houses eight lovely contemporary rooms with roll top baths, no less – this is very much a boutique high end B&B.
Walks in Corsham: Beckford Arms walk
Distance and difficulty: Gentle. The length is up to you – choose less than three miles up to 10 miles. View walk here.
Good for: Film lovers – the stunning lake here featured in the film Chocolat.
Why we love it: Utterly gorgeous views of the Fonthill Estate, a full ten thousand acres of outstanding beauty in the heart of Wiltshire.
Nearby pub: Set in the most gorgeous location in stunning parkland on the Fonthill Estate is The Beckford Arms, a traditional yet stylish country pub, and one that is right up our street. Think lovely garden, cosy bedrooms, #inlovewithlocal ales and gins, comfy sofas and a fab gastro restaurant. For foodies, the menu changes with the seasons to ensure the freshest produce. Whole suckling pig is spit-roasted on the bar’s open fire (yikes!), they make their own hams and piccalilli, serve game pies with homemade pastry as well as aged Wiltshire steaks.
Walks in Wiltshire: Netheravon Dovecote
Distance and difficulty: Easy – you can walk as far as you’d like. Everything from a few hundred yards to 20 miles! View walk here.
Good for: Lovers of flora and wildlife – there is an abundance of it on the plain.
Why we love it: There’s a chance to spot the famous but elusive Great Bustard, while you take in Netheravon Dovecote next to the historic Saxon church, walk alongside the crystal clear River Avon and pay a visit to the local Stonehenge Ales brewery.
Nearby pub: The Dog and Gun Inn, Netheravon is a lovely 17th century village inn located in the heart of stunning Salisbury Plain. Recently saved from development, it has been renovated by locals into a quirky pub, café and dog-friendly boutique B&B. The “D&G” is the perfect place for curling up by the wood burner with your pooch to sip a Bloody Mary after a long walk. They also serve up amazing pizzas, if you’re all roast-ed out!
Hiking (sort of) in Horningsham
Distance and difficulty: Moderate – 4 mile route, takes 2 hours. View walk here.
Good for: Everyone. Except those who’d rather be at the Safari Park down the road!
Why we love it: For a long, brisk walk with stunning views of Longleat House, this is the one for you.
Nearby pub: The Bath Arms is tucked in the shadow of Longleat and makes for the the perfect place to relax and unwind. It’s a foodie pub as well as a lovely boutique retreat, with 17 characterful rooms with furniture imported from India making for a quirky twist on your typical country pub. The food is locally sourced and seasonal wherever possible – you can even hire their Shepherd Room for private dining for up to 50 guests.
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