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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, 1 July 2017

Saturday Walk - South West Trains Spring Offer – West Wiltshire Downs, Wardour Park & Castle Ruin, Upper Nadder Valley

SWC 252 - Tisbury Circular (via Donhead St. Andrews) 

Length: 23.3 km (14.5 mi) [shorter option available, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 610 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 6 hours
Toughness:  9 out of 10
Short Walk (in separate pdf): 15.1 km (9.4 mi), 4/10

09.20 Exeter St. Davids & Bristol Temple Meads train from Waterloo (Clapham J. 09.27, Woking 09.46), arrives Tisbury  11.06
[You have to be in the front part of the train, as it splits at Salisbury, and in Tisbury you have to be in the front three cars of that front part of the train due to a short platform].
Returns are at xx.01 (basically), last train 22.03 [a trolley service is usually on board]

This walk explores the Upper Nadder Valley (also known as the Vale of Wardour) in the south westerly parts of the West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is spectacular walking country with some breathtaking views. It heads west from Tisbury along the valley and through Wardour Park with its large mansion. After lunch at a gastro pub in Donhead St. Andrew, some serious ascents take you all the way to the Nadder Head in another large country estate. Looping back the route passes a Neolithic hill fort site on a ridge right on the boundary with Dorset, with occasional views through trees to surrounding steep downs. An exhilarating descent and an equally exhilarating route through the wooded Barkers Hill lead back down to the Nadder.
The return route then leads right past the romantically ruined 14th century Old Wardour Castle and through High Wood back into Tisbury, a remarkably unspoilt village. 
A shorter version of the walk, rated 4/10, and allowing enough time to visit Old Wardour Castle (English Heritage), exists in a separate file.

Lunch: The Forester Inn in Donhead St. Andrews (7.0 km/4.3 mi, food to 14.00, table booked for 13.00), it has been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand for 5 years running now.
For summary, map, height profile, walk directions, photos and gpx/kml files click here.T=swc.252

DAC is away...


Anonymous said...

This walk sounds interesting. A question for the short cut option: where does it separate from the main walk - before or after lunch?

Thomas G said...

The short walk basically cuts out an outer loop, please see the 'OSmap' tab on the walk's webpage for both route maps. But the short walk also has a slightly longer morning route to the pub, as you can see there, and the routes split after 5 minutes.

Anonymous said...

If one walks with the group in the morning but leave after lunch to follow the short cut, what would be the total miles. Is there a reason why the short cut needs to follow a different route in the morning?

Thomas G said...

The short walk is devised to minimise the effort (the ups and downs) while still giving some of the up-the-valley views that the long walk has in its post-lunch stages, and to free up time for potentially visiting Old Wardour Castle (if you so wish). If you mix and match pre-lunch route bits, the difference in length is marginal, as you can see from the route map.

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in doing a short cut with the morning session walking with the group, and split after lunch?

Anonymous said...

Re#5 comment: if I join you, how many miles is the walk in total (excl walk inside EH)?

Thomas G said...

The short walk has 15.1 km (or 9.4 mi in medieval measures), as it says near the very top of the walk post. If you walk the slightly longer and more uppy-and-downy long walk's morning route, it will be marginally longer, but in my opinion you should really save your energy for the small loop just b4 lunch that gives you the valley views (and which the long walk only touches in the afternoon). So if you are the kind of person that fancies a shorter walk, I recommend to just following the short walk as it's written. You'll bump into the long walkers at the pub.

Anonymous said...

It would be a shame to come to a group walk but end up walking alone just after 5 mins into the walk. Pity.

PeteB said...

The day got off to an excellent start with the B+I Lions defeating the NZ All Blacks and n=9 of us alighted from the train at Tisbury station after a standing room only journey for many passengers (really SWT just 3 carriages on a summer weekend!! )

This was the first SWC outing for the long version of this walk and what a superb ramble it is: beautiful open vistas (Dorset visible with possible new SWC adventures there next year) lovely woodland trails and ridges through dappled sunlight; quiet country lanes and tracks and picture post-card villages with numerous thatched cottages and an award-winning pub providing top-quality cuisine; (most of us were sandwich-eaters though who lunched in the nearby cemetery!).

You have to do over 10 miles after lunch but the variety and beauty of the landscape means you don't get bored. We stopped at the Old Wardour Castle for tea and ice-cream (English Heritage get your act together and provide a proper cafe like the National Trust; you will attract more people!). Here we hqd an amusing incident when a very young toddler , part of a large family group, staggered up to the top of the short slope where we were sitting and presented one of our group with a plastic bag full of rubbish which he expected him to deal with. Top marks for initiative I say.

Some of the group picked up the pace to catch the 18.01 but five of us decided to walk into the village and have some refreshments and buy some "supplies" at the local Co-op for the 19.01. (We walked past the South Western pub as I don't think blasting out Gary Glitter singing Rock and Roll is a good way to attract custom!)

On the journey home we had some pleasant badinage with the young Tibetan guy running the food and drinks trolley. He tried to persuade us to buy some of SWTs appalling red stuff rather than drink our classic 1874 Chateau........ er whatever it was! Frisson of excitement at Salisbury when Jenni Murray, journalist, broadcaster and Women's Hour Presenter ambled past us on her way to First Class. Extra point for me as I identified her.

A fabulous SWC day out and many thanks to the purchasers of wine and snacks. (Oh the weather was w=warm-and-sunny.

Two points about the walk: (1) its a pity the pub comes so early but nothing can done about ths and (2) although it has plenty of up and down there are no knee-crushing ascents and only 1 winding steep descent so is this really a 9/10! Even in my increasingly enfeebled state I would have said 8 or even 7. Were some people put off by the rating?)