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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Saturday Second Walk - Wiltshire downland using SWT offer

SWC Walk 248 - Tisbury Circular via Hindon
Length: 21.8km (13.6 miles) with 3.1km (1.9 miles) of possible afternoon shortcuts
Toughness: 7 out of 10

Catch the 9.20 train from Waterloo (9.27 Clapham Junction) to Tisbury, arriving 11.06

*** Buy your ticket online from SWT or at SWT ticket offices (eg at Waterloo) *** up to midnight the night before*** to get the SWT £15 return offer ("Discover the Great Indoors").

For walk directions click here.

We have not yet made much use of the SWT £15 offer, so here is a chance to do so. A 1hr 46 minute train journey whisks you beyond Salisbury to the Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where this walk circles around the large Fonthill Estate. The walk notes talk of "spectacular walking country", "breathtaking views", "picturesque villages" and "excellent pubs", so that seems to tick all the boxes.

How muddy or otherwise the route is I do not know, but being on chalk one can at least hope the mud will be less gloopy than on other routes. I also note that this walk was debuted in March last year and as far as I know no one sunk without a trace on it.

It is 6 miles to lunch in Hindon (2.5 hours at a reasonable pace) where there are three pubs serving food till 2.30pm. For any that think they might not make this, there is an earlier cafe option after 3 miles.

In the afternoon two shortcuts are possible, which if taken together would reduce the walk to 11.7 miles. However it is also now light till 6pm so it should be possible to finish the whole route.

Trains back from Tisbury are at 01 or 03 past, though evening dining types might like to note that from the 19.03 onwards they take 2hrs rather than 1hr 46 minutes. The last direct train is the 20.01, though there is a 21.01 changing at Salisbury that is actually a few minutes quicker. The 22.03 requires a (rather tight) change at Basingstoke.

1 comment:

Walker said...

n=8 on this walk. w=Some-sun-but-more-cloud-with-a-very-cold-east-wind It was in fact sunny on the train down, but then soon clouded up once we started: after lunch we had full sunshine for a while, however, with it becoming hazier later. The key factor in the weather, however, was a bitter east wind. We weren't always in it - in fact we were surprisingly often sheltered from it - but when we were it blew right through you and out the other side.

The cold wind made me find this walk a bit bleak in places, but another part of my brain kept registering how nice it would be in spring or summer. There were several huge bluebell woods, a meadow that would be a sea of buttercups, acres of yellow oilseed rape - but of course none of these were yet in flower.

Others in the walk praised it for its varied landscape, and there are certainly many pretty moments and various points of interest. Quite a few big arable fields too, but also downlands grazed by sheep. Mudwise there were a lot of gloopy spots, often by gates and in the afternoon on forest tracks, also some soft fields. But quite a lot of the walk was firm underfoot, perhaps because mud is now drying out as the days lengthen.

For lunch in the Cotswoldy village of Hindon we had a choice of two pubs. From the outside the Lamb looked cosier and more charming, but the election fell on the Angel which was friendly, served nice food (even if my portion was much smaller than everyone elses!), but perhaps lacked charm. Most did the full walk in the afternoon but two of us did the second of the shortcuts. Four of us ate in the very cosy South Western pub, whose wood burning stove and sofas were very welcome. One tried the Boot (which does not open till 7pm), found it fully booked, but squeezed a pizza and two pints of beer out of them.

Six of us then caught the 20.01 train, which did indeed have a refreshment trolley as promised by the walk creator - one, moreover, which passed not once but twice. Why is this line so favoured when the London to Southampton mainline never has them after dark?