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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, 25 June 2016

Saturday Second Walk - Neolithic Wiltshire (II): SWC 255 Pewsey Circular (via Avebury)

This is for all you Pagans out there...flanking the longest day of the year, two expeditions to the most remarkable Neolithic sites in England

SWC Walk 255 – Pewsey Circular (via Avebury World Heritage Site)

Length:  34.7 km (21.5 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  560 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 8 hours
Toughness:  10 out of 10 
Pewsey to Avebury (incl. out-and-back to Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow)
Length:  22.9 km (14.3 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  390 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness:  6 out of 10 
Pewsey to Avebury (excl. out-and-back to Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow)
Length:  17.2 km (10.7 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  368 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours
Toughness:  5 out of 10 

Take the 08.35 Exeter St. David's train from Paddington (09.03 Reading), arriving Pewsey at 09.38
Pewsey suffers from an infrequent train service, explaining the early start (the next train is at 10.35, arriving 11.34, just about early enough to make it to Lockeridge for lunch on the short options). Return trains: 15.45, 16.59 and 20.23 hours  (69-77 mins journey time)

Cheap Advance tickets are gone now, so… buy separate London-Reading return and Reading-Pewsey return tickets. !! And if you are using a Network Railcard, buy a discounted Reading return ticket and an undiscounted Reading-Pewsey return.!! If you are going to walk “just” to Avebury, the Bus #49 takes you from outside the pub in Avebury to Swindon Station in 25 mins (roughly hourly service until 20.36). Buy separate tickets as follows: London to Reading return (Network RC discount possible), Reading-Pewsey single and Swindon-Reading single!
Or make it a weekend: stay in or near Avebury for the night, visit the sights in your own time, and walk the second half of this walk on Sunday...

This is a strenuous excursion into the heart of Neolithic Wiltshire, a mysterious landscape full of pre-historic earthworks, standing stones, sarsen fields and hillforts as well as barrows – burial mounds of kings and warriors. The route passes through or past four of the most famous Neolithic sites in Britain: Fyfield Down Sarsen Stones Field, Avebury Standing Stones and Bank & Ditch Earthworks, Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow. You walk out of the beautiful Vale of Pewsey in a northerly direction over the southerly ridge of the Marlborough Downs, from where there are stunning far views over this land of wave-like hills, with its scarps, ridges and valleys, before heading to above attractions. Later the walk leads up to Wiltshire’s highest peak (Milk Hill) with its stunning Down. After a scenic descent into the Vale of Pewsey an undemanding stretch along the Kennet & Avon Canal leads back to Pewsey with its many tea options.

For the walk directions click here.
For a map, a height profile, gpx/kml files, and some photos click here.
The lunch pub is The Red Lion in Avebury (17.2 km/10.7 mi), or The Who'd A Thought It  in Lockeridge (9.7 km/6.0 mi), if you are walking one of the shorter versions of the walk at a leisurely pace (or if you take the later train). For the tea options in Pewsey check page 2 of the walk directions (the cafes will be shut by the time we get there, of course...).


Anonymous said...

is anyone getting the later train 10.35 and doing the short walk Pewsey to Avebury ?

Anonymous said...

The day return to Pewsey costs ~£37, For those wish to do short cut, plus bus to Swindon and separate train ticket from Swindon to Reading ~£14, you are looking at £50+ for train journey, if I am not mistaken.

Thomas G said...

as far as I can see...
a full price Pewsey rtn is 37.20.
a split ticket full price return (see above) is 33.10.
a Network Railcard discounted split ticket is 26.90.
any other Railcard discounted split ticket is 21.85.

at full price, ending in swindon costs 45.10 plus bus (reading rtn plus 2 singles, more if you buy 2 singles London-pewsey and swindon-london).
38.90 plus bus with Network Railcard,
and 29.75 plus bus with all other Railcards

Karen said...

n=8 w=warm-humid-at-times-couple-of-heavy-showers

7 long walkers on the 08:35 train and 1 on the later train.

A fine day out in mystical Wiltshire. Cool morning quickly turned warmer and slightly humid, but with no rain until about 15 minutes outside Lockeridge when the heavens briefly opened. A quick stop for refreshments in The Who'd A Thought It in the village where a member of staff informed us of the fine bluebell woods in the area (something to be noted for bluebell enthusiasts for next year).

4 dined inside at The Red Lion at Avesbury. Quick, efficient service. Food fine. The 3 non-indoor diners went on ahead, leaving us 4 to finish up our lunch and then take a turn around the village, visiting the local purveyors of crystals, dowsing rods and miscellaneous geegaws.

The afternoon was a feast of undulating hills in many shades of green, far views, big skies and a wonderful display of poppies that produced a red strip that could be seen for miles. The weather behaved itself quite well, but there was one longish downpour. All in all, considering the forecast, it would be churlish to complain about that. Back in Pewsey with about an hour to spare before the 20:23 train. Ran into the late walker and decamped to the Shed Alehouse.

This is one of the nicest walks I've done with the SWC. It is a very lovely area, with the added bonus of a rich and mysterious history. But, even if the stones disappeared tomorrow, the rolling hills and views would still be worth the price of the ticket. Despite being just over an hour away from London, you feel like you've really gotten away from the commuter belt. Splendid.

Marion said...


Freedom Pass holders can travel on all buses throughout England for free saving between £2 and £7 on single journeys. On the trains if the booking office is shut or you are running late, you cannot use the ticket machines unless you know the Boundary zone 6 station to commence your journey. Walk posters please note. You could end up toughing it out with the train guards who may or may not have a ticket machine on board. The regulations stipulate that you are supposed to find the guard yourself rather than waiting for them to find you to avoid accusations of fare evasion! Try this on a 10 car train to the south coast!!