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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, 4 November 2017

Saturday Walk - Marlborough Circular via Avebury (or Marlborough to Avebury) [New Variant] [Early or Late Start]

A new variant of the Pewsey Circular via Avebury walk:
This is an easy 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 two of the most important prehistoric sites in Britain: Fyfield Down Sarsen Stones Field and Avebury Standing Stones and Bank & Ditch Earthworks, while Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow, The Sanctuary and Windmill Hill can be explored on extensions.

Take a train to Bedwyn (unlike Pewsey, this is within the Network SE, and with a more frequent service), a cheap connecting bus to Marlborough and walk to Avebury. Explore Avebury village and surrounding sights as much as you like (every worthwhile site is covered by the written directions), and make your way back to Marlborough, either by bus or on foot. There will be enough time to add either the loop down to Silbury Hill, West Kennett Long Barrow and The Sanctuary or the one up to Windmill Hill, and still finish in daylight, but the late starters will have to take the bus back from Avebury to Marlborough to beat the darkness, with or without extra loops.

Short Walk: Marlborough to Avebury 13.6 km/8.4 mi
Long Walk: Marlborough Circular 24.3 km/15.1 mi
[in both cases without excursions to Silbury Hill, The Long Barrow, The Sanctuary or Windmill Hill] 
Ascent/Descent:  288m (M’boro Circ)
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours (M’boro Circ)
Toughness:  6 out of 10 (M’boro Circ)
Outward Travel
Early Start/Long Walk: take the 08.15 Cheltenham Spa train from Paddington (change at Reading [arr. 08.39/dep. 08.49] onto the Bedwyn service), arrives  Bedwyn 09.29.
Then take the 09.52 bus to Marlborough (line 20), from Great Bedwyn Square (2 minutes from the station), arrives 10.07.
Late Start/Short Walk:  take the 10.18 Bedwyn train (Reading 10.48), arrives Bedwyn 11.31, Then take the 11.36 bus from the station (this bus will wait for up to 10 minutes), arrives 12.01.
Note: The bus fare is £1.00 each way upon showing a valid train ticket!

Return Travel
Bus from Avebury: Line 42 from the Red Lion pub to Marlborough on 14.55 (arr. 15.20) and 16.43 (arr. 17.07). [Also stopping at West Kennett (on the A4, i.e. close to the extension to the Long Barrow and The Sanctuary)]. Then connect to one of below buses to Bedwyn station.
Bus from Marlborough: Lines 20 or 22 to Bedwyn on 16.05 (arr. 16.34), 17.15 (arr. 17.33) and 18.15 (arr. 18.32).
Trains from Bedwyn: 16.36, 16.56, 17.39, 18.41, 19.41, 20.48, 22.00 and 23.00.
Buy a Bedwyn return.

Lunch: The Red Lion  in Avebury  (12.2 km/7.6 mi, food all day).
Tea: Numerous options in Marlborough, see the pdf page 16.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.255.b


Anonymous said...

The short cut from Marlborough to Avebury looks interesting. Where will be the lunch stop for this short cut and how far is the lunch stop from Marlborough? Thanks.

Thomas G said...

The Red Lion in Avebury, right in the middle of the Stone Circle in Avebury village. This is passed first after 11.2 km, then again and again as you follow the route through the village and eventually back to the bus stop, which is outside the pub.

Anonymous said...

Anyone for the early start and long walk?

Anonymous said...

Yup. Early start, long walk.

Thomas G said...

10 walkers on the early option (and we never met others, so there may not have been anyone on the late start) in overcast weather with a bracing wind. The clouds later cleared but had one surprise in them in the form of a short sharp shower, just as we were at the West Kennett Long Barrow (but also some stunning rainbows). From that you can see that all of the group opted for adding the Silbury Hill/West Kennett Long Barrow/The Sanctuary loop to the main walk, having arrived in Avebury in good time. Most of us had not been to Avebury before, so a lot of time was spent sightseeing and taking in the enormity of the area. That extra time needed forced us to improvise a shortcut along the Ridgeway to the return route back to Marlborough instead of going back to Avebury, to have any chance of beating darkness and catch the 17.15 bus (1 walker did go back to Avebury though to take a bus back). So 9 of us walked at pace back through the Fyfield Downs Sarsen field and past the Devil's Den, through lovely Manton and along the Kennet River into Marlborough, to just beat darkness (with a beautiful sunset along the way), but also , after 18 miles or so, to miss the bus by a few minutes.
Off to The Green Dragon opposite the bus stop, a very cosy pub, and then the last bus of the day at 18.15. Back in Paddington at 10 to 8.
All the various transport bits worked to schedule, Marlborough is a lovely place to finish a walk and the NT Cafe in Avebury's food options are a bit limited, those of us who went there reported. The only thing that did not work: some busybody at Marlborough College prevented us from going into their grounds to have a peek at the Neolithic Mound there (some function was on, apparently).

Thomas G said...

So, unless someone walked this with a late start: n=10 w=overcast-with-a-bracing-wind

Karen said...

Just to say that the NT café at Avebury may have a limited menu, but provided a nice light alternative to the pub lunch - a choice of soup of the day, 3 different salads and 3 types of jacket potatoes, as well as a nice selection of cakes and scones. Everything was very fresh.

A great day out. Nice to see this area in autumn as my previous visits have been during the height of summer.