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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.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Saturday Third Walk – Fully Revised: The Solitude of the Vale of Pewsey and the Marlborough Downs

SWC Walk 127 – Pewsey Circular

Length: 26.1 km (16.2 mi)  [shortcuts possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent:  444 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 hours
Toughness:  8 out of 10 

First posting of this former map-lead walk, which has now been enlarged and fully written up. 
We will take the opportunity to check the walk directions.

Take the 08.18 Exeter St. David's train from Paddington (08.48 Reading), arriving Pewsey at 09.39

Pewsey suffers from an infrequent train service, explaining the very early start (the next departure is at 11.06...)
Return trains: 16.25 hours (86 minutes journey time) or 20.23 hours (69 mins journey time)
Buy a Pewsey return ticket. !! But as Pewsey is just outside the Network Southeast Area: if you are using a Network Railcard, buy a discounted Reading return ticket and a separate full-price Reading-Pewsey return, which saves you about £10 vs the full return price!!

Exhilarating excursion through the solitude of the Vale of Pewsey, which separates the chalk upland of the North Wessex Downs to the north from that of Salisbury Plain to the south, including an ascent up the southerly hill chain of the Marlborough Downs, from where there are stunning far views in all directions over this land of wave-like hills, with its scarps, ridges and valleys. It is a mysterious landscape, full of pre-historic earthworks and hillforts as well as barrows – burial mounds of kings and warriors.
After a scenic descent back into the Vale of Pewsey, the lunch options come very late in the hamlet of Honeystreet, but food is served all afternoon. Finally, an undemanding stretch along the Kennet & Avon Canal leads back to Pewsey with its many tea and dinner options.

Two Shortcuts are possible: they reduce the walk by 3.5 km (2.1 mi) or by 3.4 km (2.1 mi) respectively and the ascent/descent by 73m or 67m respectively. Taking one shortcut reduces the rating to 6/10; taking both reduces the rating to 5/10 (resulting in a 19.2 km/305m height gain-walk).

For more details and for the walk directions click here.
For a map, a height profile, gpx/kml files, and some photos  click here.
The lunch cafe is The Honeystreet Cafe (18.8 km/11.7 mi), the lunch pub is The Barge Inn (19.2 km/12.0 mi), it markets itself as ‘Crop Circle Central’ and attracts plenty of folk that are interested in all things otherworldly (plus some weary walkers).
For the tea and dinner options in Pewsey check page 2 of the walk directions.

For anyone having been on the other Pewsey walk (SWC 255) on Sep 26 and considering walking this as well: this walk overlaps at the start (3 km to close to Oare), for a short part of the ridge walk (1.5 km), the stunning stretch from Milk Hill past the White Horse to Adam's Grave (1.5 km) and the final stretch along the canal and into Pewsey (2.8 km).


DAC said...

Intend going.

Karen said...

n=8 w=overcast+and+dry+and+pleasantly cool

8 off the train at Pewsey. One was along for a short walk and parted ways with us a couple of hours into the walk to catch an early afternoon train to London. This is a very nice walk with lots of interesting ancient features and fine views. In my opinion, you get a lot of great views for what felt like not too much effort, with the steepest climb early on in the walk. I found the section through Pewsey Downs National Reserve really lovely.

Picnic lunch for 4 and 3 for lunch at The Barge Inn where the food was decent. Unfortunately, but not a surprise given the amount of paranormal activity in the area, one walker disappeared at this point. Remaining 6 backtracked to the Honeystreet Cafe for very nice cake and tea (worth doing) and then took it easy on the final stretch along the canal. As we had lots of time, stopped for refreshments at the Golden Swan in Wilcot (320m off-route). Very pleasant along the canal with the leaves on the trees beginning to turn colour and nice reflections in the still water.

The group enjoyed a few scoops of ale and cider at the Shed Alehouse (worth visiting) in Pewsey. Followed by further refreshments at the Crown Inn. Caught the 20:36 back to London. A very good walk that was worth the trip from London and the early start. Recommended.

Karen said...

Argh. Messed up the weather report.


Paul A said...

The otherworldly artefact spotted in a field near Oare Hill can be located by the shadow it casts in this aerial view. It does not however appear on any official maps. An extensive search of the internet has revealed that Robert Hiscox privately commissioned a "millennium arch" from sculptor and "environmentalist" Andy Goldsworthy - reputedly made from 90 tonnes of sandstone, with half of it constructed in 1999 and the other half in 2000. The purpose of the structure is unknown.

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