If you love wide open spaces, big skies and spectacular views with a scattering of prehistoric monuments, then our North Wessex Downs walking holiday is made just for you!
The North Wessex Downs is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which lies on chalk hills to the west of London. Although not so well known as the Cotswolds, the contrasting landscape of the North Wessex Downs with its spectacular high downland lying under wide open skies is certainly well worth a visit.
Among the attractions of the area is the internationally famous World Heritage Site at Avebury Stone Circle. But there are also fine White Horses high up on the downs! These quirky horse-shaped carvings, dug into the white chalk hills, are truly impressive landmarks and the trail passes by a few of them.
Race horses are prominent as well! The high-quality turf on the chalk hills is ideal for gallops and training areas so expect to encounter these superb animals along the trail.
North Wessex Downs Walking Holiday
4-night self-guided walking tour
The North Wessex Downs walking holiday starts in Devizes, a market town dating from the 11th century with the construction of a Norman Castle. Today, this busy town, lying next to the Kennet and Avon Canal, boasts a museum that displays finely worked gold artefacts dating from the time of Stonehenge
On the first walking day, you will walk from Devizes to the World Heritage Site at Avebury. The route follows the Wessex Ridgeway past white horses at Devizes and Cherhill Down and race horse gallops, before following the Old Bath Road into Avebury.
On the second walking day, you will discover the vast sacred landscape around Avebury, which contains some of the largest prehistoric monuments in Europe. After wandering through the impressive Avebury Stone Circle and getting up close to the massive stones, you will follow the avenue of giant stones to the mysterious Silbury Hill, a massive prehistoric man-made mound. Then on to West Kennet Long Barrow, a reconstructed Stone Age burial chamber that dates back to 3700 BC, before striding over the downs towards the Vale of Pewsey. As you walk west along the ridge above the Alton Barnes White Horse, the views across the Vale are magnificent. The path then follows Wansdyke, an early medieval earthwork, before returning to Avebury.
On the third walking day, you’ll take the path from Avebury to the gorgeous market town of Marlborough that lies on the Roman road from London to Bath. The town enjoys one of the widest and most elegant High Streets in England with buildings dating back 350 years. It is said that the bones of Merlin, King Arthur’s magician, are buried in the grounds of the old castle. Today, the High Street hosts markets on Wednesday and Saturday and there’s a wide range of shops and places to eat.
Day 1: Drive or take the train and bus to Devizes for overnight stay
Day 2: Walk from Devizes to Avebury (11 moderate to strenuous miles / 18 km)
Day 3: Circular walk from Avebury to Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow and Adam’s Grave (12.5 miles / 20 km)
Day 4: Walk from Avebury to Marlborough (7 moderate miles / 11 km)
Day 5: Leave from Marlborough by bus or taxi to the train station or to pick up your car
Price: From £380 per person for 4 nights based on two people sharing a room. This includes bed and breakfast in good quality accommodation, luggage transfer, a guidebook and map and support in the unlikely event of an emergency.
Contact us to book the North Wessex Downs walking holiday, for further information or discuss options.