Author Topic: Salisbury to Stonehenge?  (Read 874 times)

Tribble

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Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« on: 13:56:49, 04/11/16 »
Anyone walked from Salisbury to Stonehenge or vice versa or both?

Hints & tips appreciated.


Tribble

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #2 on: 20:56:49, 12/11/16 »
Many thanks, WHW.

It looks like the answer to my question is No, so I'll see if I can explore the area next summer and report back. Given the train and bus timetables, Stonehenge to Salisbury looks a better bet than the other way round.

PS in case anyone isn't aware, Stonehenge has a new visitor centre. It's very good, however quite some way from Stonehenge itself (about a mile). But the walk between the centre and the stones is very pleasant.

alewife

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #3 on: 23:11:41, 12/11/16 »
If you're visiting Stonehenge (and like walking), park at Woodhenge a bit further east and walk to Stonehenge.
Alewife


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Oldtramp

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #4 on: 23:30:15, 23/11/16 »
I have done it - at least twice - but over 20 years ago.  First time was along crazy arc to swinging SW from Stonehenge to Druid's Lodge, Stapleford, Gt Wishford, Grovely Lodge to Barford St Martin, then up to Neal's Barrow, past the racecourse and into Salisbury.  Hard work, as I recall, and not a great route.  I recall getting lost in the woods up to Grovely Lodge and being very tired towards the end.  And I was young then!


The second time, with my ex, was an easy stroll - 12 miles or so, and more interesting.  I've omitted to ink it on the map but, so far as I recall, we went from Stonehenge to Springbottom Farm, Lake, down the River Avon to Upper Woodford, Salterton and up to Old Sarum, Stratford sub Castle and Salisbury, arriving - even in November - with daylight left to explore the town for an hour.


I'd think you'd easily do the latter route and enjoy it.  At worst one of the valley paths may be muddy, flooded or overgrown, forcing you onto a back road for a mile or two. Just be flexible.  The higher paths on the downs will certainly be walkable.


I'd start from Stonehenge and walk towards 'civilisation'.  There no pub at Stonehenge if you have to wait for the bus, so it's not a good place to finish.


What I always intended to do, but never have, is the walk from Stonehenge circle to Avebury..... but this is 20 miles across Salisbury Plain and the range paths are rarely open.  If anyone has managed that I'd be interested....

White Horse Walker

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #5 on: 09:17:04, 29/11/16 »
And if you're into old stones, there are some lovely walks around Avebury.  :)
The visitor centre at Stonehenge is very good and the walk between it and the stones adds to the experience. I was lucky to go on an evening inner circle this year, it was really magical.



Many thanks, WHW.

It looks like the answer to my question is No, so I'll see if I can explore the area next summer and report back. Given the train and bus timetables, Stonehenge to Salisbury looks a better bet than the other way round.

PS in case anyone isn't aware, Stonehenge has a new visitor centre. It's very good, however quite some way from Stonehenge itself (about a mile). But the walk between the centre and the stones is very pleasant.

wintonian

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #6 on: 18:29:03, 30/11/16 »
Just follow the Great Stones Way;)

Cicerone have a small guide.

alewife

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #7 on: 19:52:44, 02/12/16 »
Oldtramp, you can use the Imber range path at any time, just don't stray across the warning line.
Alewife


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Oldtramp

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #8 on: 23:24:05, 07/12/16 »
Thanks Alewife.  My impression -- correct me if I'm wrong --- was that the Imber Range Path dodged round the edge of the ranges.  I recall being on it when I walked the Wessex Ridgeway.


The route to my eye, would be Stonehenge, Larkhill, Bustard Hotel, then straight north over the plain -- and through heart of the Larkhill and Wesdown Ranges to Black Heath and Chirton Gorse.  After that I'd be clear of the ranges and the best line looks to be Chirton Maggot (what a name), Chirton, Patley, All Cannings to Allington, then Allington Down to West Kennet and Avebury.  A line through Alton Barnes would be an alternative, a little to the E.


If I read the MOD notice correctly  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/571447/December_2016_Newsletter.pdf,
there's no firing from 17-31/12, but it's a long walk for short days.  Its maybe do-able by overnighting at the Bustard Hotel, which now appears to belong to some religious group, but still to offer rooms http://www.god-unlimited.org/index.php/features/intro/2015-02-24-12-36-33/the-bustard.  Alternatively  there seem to be B&Bs around Chirton  and it'd be possible to split there - and perhaps better to go N to S, meeting any access challenges right at the start of the second day.

Oldtramp

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #9 on: 22:56:39, 28/12/16 »
Well, I did Avebury to Stonehenge, yesterday (27th) and today.   Mixed fortunes, but interesting....



An hour late reaching Swindon; thank you GWR, the claim form is in the post, meaning it was 1140 by the time I reached Avebury, when it should have been 1040.  Still Avebury always a delight, free to wander among the stones and the village is in harmony with a site 5000 years older.


I left down the Stone Avenue and then round a field edge till I almost reached Silbury Hill. Then across the road and up to West Kennet Long Barrow, followed by a short trespass directly southward along the edge of a field, over a dilapidated barb-wire fence, easy to press down, and onto a long bridleway up to the downs.  Bridleway is what the map said, but anyone who rides a horse will need a good steelechaser.  Big swinging double gates were all padlocked and irritating to climb with muddy slippery boots. 


Finally reaching the top and the Wansdyke.  Did Arthur's retreating Briton's build it?  Or the Saxons?   Either way, it's ancient and massive.  But the barrows and circles were already 3500 years old when it was built.  Over the top of the downs.  There used to be a trig point here, at 294m, but only the plinth is left.  And some rubble.   Beyond, down past Rybury - ramparts from the Bronze or early Iron age in a ring round the hill top, all in beautifully soft light. 


Past Canning's Cross Farm 'Site of the earliest Iron Age Village, furthest extent of the Viking Invasion of 1010 and site of the the original Mooonraker's Pond, 1790 (what the hell is that?).'  Over the Kennet and Avon Canal, where a large canvas notice offered me the opportunity to 'Put Loved Ones' ashes in a new long barrow'.  Do passing walkers really take a fancy to this idea?  Or bargemen? 


After this it deteriorated.... through All Cannings, I was forced onto the tarmac and forced further west than I wanted, because I could only find a hotel to book in Devizes.  I marched along thinking up rude rhymes for Devizes.   Through Etchilhampton and Stert which rhymes with pert and has magical thatched cottages.  Beyond Stert got lost trying to find pathways to Devizes, ending up doing a southward arc around the town, adding a mile..


This morning I caught taxi back to Stert taking no chances, and picked up the Wessex Ridgeway south to Urchfont and up Urchfont Hill to the range perimeter road. From here, east till I came to the top of Redhorn Hill.  Here the byway signs point east and west and a tiny little sign acknowledges that you can go south too, straight through the ranges, so long as red flags aren't flying.  They weren't and the barriers were all open.  So, south I went, starting from 060550.  It's a strange ungrazed landscape of long dry grass, scattered hawthorn and undulating ridges. Mist in the valley bottoms.  Every hundred yards there, a sign to remind you, lest you've forgotten, not to stray from the track and not to touch military debris. 'It may explode and kill you'.  I saw none.  Six miles down I did find the Old Bustard Hotel, but it has been taken over by a religious group, whose notice informed me that god loved me.  Maybe so, but His love no longer extended to selling me a pint.


Instead I turned east for Larkhill.   My feet hurt; too many of the tracks, including the range road, had been hard surfaced.


My old map, which I must replace, showed a path down through the middle of Larkhill camp, but this I failed to reach, instead being forced by high fences onto the main road at 121444.  There followed a vile quarter mile, balancing on the roadside bank whilst traffic hurtled past.   Frequent drainage ditches had to be jumped.  It was the most horrible section of any walk for a very long time. Once in Larkhill I found a worn out wooden fingerpost that said 'Stonehenge 1.5 miles' and thought all problems were over as I wandered down a road that turned to a track. Hippies' vans and buses were parked.  Also a Range Rover with a posh caravan.    A small dog flew at me and it's owner, more hipster than hippy iaimed a kick at it.  'Sorry' he said.  I wasn't sure if this was to me or the dog, which hadn't looked a very serious threat. 


The Stones appeared on the horizon and grew larger, till I reached the road up to them.  Buses ply up and down this, between the Stones and the Visitor Centre 1.5 miles West. An officious man at the  entry demanded my ticket.  I pointed out that I'd walked from Avebury and that this didn't involve passing his visitor centre, but that I'd happily pay him.  This didn't work.  He insisted that he couldn't take money and that I should get his bus to the visitor centre, buy a ticket, then catch another bus back.  I couldn't see much point to that and said I'd look from outside.


Having frittered away time taking photos, I then made a really bad mistake.  Walking to Amesbury, as I'd intended, involved more road and, as I, my feet hurt from too much hard surface.  Amesbury has a good bus service.   The alternative was to walk down a nice grass path to the visitor centre and catch a bus there.  Reaching it I found traveline had provided the wrong timetable and there wasn't one for an hour.  This didn't bother me much.... the problem was a huge crowd turned up and the bus driver insisted on prioritising those with returns.  So, despite the hour's wait, I failed to board the bus.


Instead, I found two other strays --- Indonesians who'd dawdled on their way to the car park and had been left behind by their 'Stonehenge and Bath' tour bus and caught a taxi down to Salisbury.


So, some advice for anyone who cares to do this route --- and it does have lots of interest, especially if ancient history appeals.   DO IT IN REVERSE.  You'll start from the visitor centre and have a ticket if you really want to joint the horde round the stones, you won't have the sun in your eyes for 6 miles down the range road, and you'll end up in Avebury, which is a much nice place to end up!





« Last Edit: 23:03:13, 28/12/16 by Oldtramp »

Mel

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #10 on: 12:25:44, 29/12/16 »
Enjoyed reading that Oldtramp - it made me chuckle  :)
No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)

Oldtramp

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #11 on: 20:06:11, 30/12/16 »
1) Avebury; 2) Silsbury Hill; 3) W. Kennet Longbarrow; 4) Wansdyke and 5) Where to put granny

Oldtramp

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #12 on: 20:21:32, 30/12/16 »
Day 2.  1) Leaving Stert; 2) Urchfont; 3-4) Crossing the ranges and 5) Stonehenge

Annejacko

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #13 on: 16:10:35, 02/01/17 »
Enjoyed your pictures and write up.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust do a challenge event every year from Avebury to StoneHenge

http://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/Pages/Events/Category/sarsen-trail-and-neolithic-marathon

you can run, walk or cycle various distances and there are coaches to take you back to your start point. It's a good day out in a good cause.

Enjoy every sandwich

White Horse Walker

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Re: Salisbury to Stonehenge?
« Reply #14 on: 10:30:15, 18/01/17 »
I enjoyed your write up.
Sorry to read you wanted to think up rude words about Devizes, which is where I live! There's a well-known limerick about it:
"There was a young man of Devizes
Whose balls were of uneven sizes
One was so small
It was nothing at all
The other won numerous prizes."


Here's a link to the new burial chamber's website.