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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, 16 September 2017

Saturday Walk - Chalke Valley and Cranborne Chase: Salisbury Circular

Length: 32.2 km (20.0 mi) [shorter walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 460m; Net Walking Time: 7 ¼ hours
Toughness:  9/10                       
Take the 09.20 Exeter St David's & Bristol Temple Meads train from Waterloo (09.27 Clapham J, 09.46 Woking), arrives Salisbury 10.42.
Return trains are on xx.47 and xx.21 to 18.21, then  19.26, 19.50, 20.26, 21.26, 22.27.

This long walk explores the Chalke Valley in the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the South West of the quintessentially English Cathedral City of Salisbury. It leads out of town through the Cathedral precinct, past some of England’s finest historic houses and through the Harnham Hill suburb into open fields with far views over the Chalke Valley to distant Downs. The morning route then largely follows the Ebble River upstream in the Chalke Valley through several pretty villages  in this picturesque part of Wiltshire, with three good lunch pubs and two community stores conveniently spaced out along the route.
Most of the climbing is left for the afternoon, starting with a steady ascent with splendid views into pretty coombes, from Broad Chalke up to an ancient Ox Drove on top of the Downs. A long stretch with more views from the Down into coombes and valleys follows, largely along the course of a Roman Road, before the descent back into the Chalke Valley, followed by an immediate re-ascent up another Down. A Drove Track with views into the Nadder and Wylye Valleys leads past Salisbury’s Race Course and through the steep Harnham Slope Nature Reserve to tea at Harnham’s charming Old Mill.
From there the route back to the station goes through the town’s Water Meadows and provides ‘Britain’s Best View’ (Country Life magazine): Salisbury Cathedral across the meadows.
Shorter routes, reducing the length by 5.4 km or 7.2 km respectively, are described.

Lunch: The White Hart in Bishopstone (11.9 km/7.4 mi, food to 14.30), The Queens Head in Broad Chalke (15.4 km/9.6 mi, food all day).
Tea: The Old Mill at Harnham  (1.0 km from the end of the walk), plus a couple of Indian restos by the station and lots of choice in Salisbury’s City Centre (a little off-route).

For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here.


Anonymous said...

Just wondered what will be the walk distance if I do a circular turning back from Stratford Tony, with lunch at Fox & Goose? Thanks

Thomas G said...

If you turn back from the church in Stratford Tony (recommended, as it's nice and in a nice location), then it's 17.03 km.

PeteG said...

SouthWestern has a half price advance ticket offer.

Anonymous said...

There don't seem to be any of the half price tickets available for this journey. Maybe they've sold out.

Thomas G said...

10 off the train plus 1 other off an earlier one, as we later found out.n=11.
We started with a couple of very short periods of spittle, while the overcast skies were clearing to reveal blue, and it stayed w=overcast-with-long-sunny-breaks until the last 20 minutes, when the dark looming front from the left caught up with us and all waterproofs got donned.
3, incl. the early starter, walked one of the shortcuts, 8 the full walk. We had an encounter with a large herd of young bulls, that were charging up and down a field erratically, prompting most to take to the road instead. The real drama at that point though was that one walker, while crawling under the elec lime surrounding that field, got her walking poles (attached to the backpack) into the elec line and nearly electrocuted herself. Shaken for a while, a whiskey at the lunch pub sorted her out.
Else? Fine views, scenic downs in a quiet part of Wiltshire, a pretty part of Salisbury, two shooting parties, and a meal at the end for some at one of the Indian restaurants by the station. 19.26 train for the rest.