Outdoor Activities

Pewsey Walk - Mark Somerville
Pewsey Walk - Mark Somerville

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:  COVID 19

During this public health emergency please be aware that things may not be as you expect them.  Many facilities, retail outlets, pubs and cafes might not be open so do please check before you travel so that you can take what you need.

Parking:  When parking please continue to be considerate to local residents and farmers.  Please park safely and legally, ensuring access for emergency services; do not park on verges as this damages fragile species, and do not park in gateways as this can cause problems for our farmers.  Be prepared to change your plans if car parks are full or parking is unavailable.

Follow the Countryside Code at all times including:   
- leave no trace of your visit and take all of your litter home
- do not use barbecues or sky lanterns as they risk causing wildfires and injuring animals
- keep dogs under effective control 
- leave gates as you find them and follow instructions on signs
- keep to footpaths and follow signs where they suggest alternative routes

Stick to the to the current government guidelines on social distancing and give others plenty of space.  Take particular care on narrow paths and be respectful of other users who may feel more vulnerable than you do.

Be aware you may have to touch surfaces that others have touched when going through gates or climbing stiles. It might be advisable to take hand sanitiser with you particularly if you are planning to eat on your walk.

Thank you for helping us to take good care of the natural environment of this beautiful area, and respecting our local communities and others accessing the area.

More information available here:
Government guidelines on accessing green spaces safely
The Countryside Code.

The North Wessex Downs provides many ideal locations and routes for a wide range of outdoor pursuits.

The numerous footpaths, trails and bridle paths give easy access to the beautiful countryside for walking, cycling and horse riding. The Three Downs Link is a multi-user bridle path connecting the two national trails of the South Downs Way and The Ridgeway. En-route you will enjoy mile after mile of open chalk downland, crossing Watership Down and heading North towards Marlborough and the hill forts of the Ridgeway before heading South again towards Hungerford.

The North Wessex Downs is the ideal place to enjoy country pursuits while respecting the environment. Kite flying is very popular on the Ridgeway, Wittenham Clumps and many other Downland locations. There are horse riding trails with minimal contact with roads and cycle paths, taking in many of the best views and ancient monuments.

If you like messing around in boats you can hire a canal boat or go canoeing along the Kennet and Avon canal, which runs through the middle of the North Wessex Downs. On your way down you can visit the historic Crofton Pumping Station. Alternatively you can enjoy a day’s fishing or simply walk the scenic towpath.

For those who like country sports there is game shooting and deer stalking at Hungerford Hall.

Don't Miss:

The Ridgeway

The Ridgeway - Blue Sky Images
The Ridgeway - Blue Sky Images

Some of the most dramatic scenery of the Ridgeway National Trail passes through the North Wessex Downs. This is an ancient route used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers.

For walkers, horse riders and cyclists it is the perfect location to get away from it all in this busy part of England. The climbs are not too strenuous, but the views are very dramatic. It is the ideal trail for both long distance treks and day trips.
www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ridgeway

The Kennet and Avon Canal

The Kennet and Avon Canal has been developed as a popular heritage tourism destination for boating, canoeing, fishing, walking and cycling, and is also important for wildlife conservation. You can hire canal boats for longer visits or canoe down the canal. Along the way you will find fascinating places to visit, including Crofton Beam Engine and Pumping Station.
www.katrust.org.uk

Game Shooting at Hungerford Park

For those who enjoy country sports there is a full program of day shoots throughout the year at Hungerford Park. The wonderful estate offers driven shoots of mixed pheasant and partridge plus deer stalking
www.gunsonpegs.com

The Land of the Horse

Riding on Walbury Hill
Riding on Walbury Hill

The Wessex Downs has many links to horse racing and eventing. The Lambourn Valley is one of the major horse racing centres in the UK. On Good Friday every year over 30 trainers open their yards to the public. Alternatively get up early and watch the horses being ridden out on West Down, near Beckhampton, visit Newbury Races or the Barbury International Eventing Show in early July.

White Horse Trail

The White Horse trail is a 90 mile walk providing the best vantage points for viewing all 8 white horses cut into the chalk hills. In addition to the horses the route takes in other historic and prehistoric locations, including Avebury, Silbury Hill and the Kennet Long Barrow. Do the walk in stages and collect all 8 White Horses on separate visits.
www.ldwa.org.uk

Swindon to Marlborough Railway Path

Swindon to Marlborough Railway Path
Swindon to Marlborough Railway Path

The Path follows the old railway line (closed in 1967) from the Coate Water Country Park to Marlborough. The path is ideal for walking or cycling with gentle slopes and magnificent views of the North Wessex Downs.
www.friendsofthepath.org.uk

Lambourn Valley Way

The Lambourn Valley Way starts at the Uffington White Horse and follows the River Lambourn for almost 20 miles to Newbury. The route is well sign posted with waymark discs and fingerposts and takes in the picturesque villages of East Garston, Great Shefford and Boxford. The Terrain is easy going, with a gradual drop in height of 560 feet from west to east.
www.ldwa.org.uk

Enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of the North Wessex Downs with this selection of walks.

Accessible by Train

Acessible by Train

Goring and Streatley station is the gateway to the Goring Gap, a natural corridor carved through the chalk some 12,000 years ago.

With its fully accessible facilities the station is the ideal starting point for visitors with limited mobility to sample the river and countryside of the Thames valley.

Download Printable Leaflet


North Wessex Downs Walks Leaflets

Enjoy a quick stroll, an afternoon hike or plan a longer trip for a day or a weekend. Before you set out you're recommended to wear appropriate outdoor clothing and boots, carry and use an Ordnance Survey map and observe the Countryside Code.  Also, during this current public health crisis please follow the Government's advice on accessing green spaces safely. All the walks outlined on this website have been created by organisations independent of the North Wessex Downs AONB.