North Wessex Downs Walk
Wessex Downs & Kennet & Avon Canal from Pewsey
|Ordnance Survey Explorer 157||Sheet Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Explorer 157||Digital Map||1:25k||BUY|
It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.
Walk Route Description
This Wiltshire walk includes a section of the Kennet & Avon canal in the Vale of Pewsey and the rolling hills of the North Wessex Downs. The route follows waymarked paths including sections of the White Horse Trail, Mid Wilts Way and the Tan Hill Way long distance trails. The start of the walk is Pewsey Wharf, just off the A345 Pewsey to Marlborough road, where parking is available (grid ref. SU158610).
Walk east along the canal towpath (canal on your left) and continue to bridge 112. Just before the bridge leave the towpath by turning right up to a lane. Turn left and walk north towards the Downs. At the first road junction (grid ref. SU174621) go straight ahead towards West Wick. The lane becomes a track and you continue north to reach the foot of the escarpment (grid ref. SU176633). Once through the gate bear left climbing steeply to reach the top of the downs. Turn left onto the White Horse Trail following the clear path passing the trig point on Oare Hill before descending to a track (grid ref SU161628). Turn right along this track and walk into the village of Oare and the A345.
Turn right along the A345 through the village for 200 metres before turning first left along a lane passing the school on your left. Just past a row of cottages on the right, turn right onto a footpath (grid ref. SU157632) to follow the Mid Wilts Way to the foot of the escarpment. Another steep climb leads past a seat to a gate on the hilltop. Walk along the enclosed path to reach a driveway (grid ref. SU156640). Turn left along the drive keeping straight ahead where the drive bears left after 20 metres or so. This path leads through woods onto the open downs.
Continue following the White Horse Trail (and Tan Hill Way) to the junction of paths and tracks just northeast of Gopher Wood (grid ref. SU142645). Careful navigation is required here and you should take the path/bridleway into Gopher Wood. After 400 metres or so the path exits the wood at a gate. Continue south downhill into the Vale of Pewsey. Reaching a lane (grid ref. SU141630) continue straight ahead passing Draycott Farm to a crossroads (grid ref. SU144626).
Go straight across this junction. After a further 450 metres you reach the first of two lanes on the right. Ignore the first lane but take the second right turn (grid ref. SU145621). This lane leads down to the Kennet & Avon canal (grid ref. SU144614). Go through the hedge to join the towpath. Turn left (with the canal on your right). Reaching Bristow Bridge the towpath crosses to the other bank and soon leads back to the start at Pewsey Wharf.
Other walks nearby
Walk 3295 Pewsey Hill and Fyfield Down - easy/mod - 9.0 miles/14.6 km
Walk 1928 Pewsey Downs from Wootton Rivers - easy/mod - 8.0 miles/13 km
Walk 1807 The Southern Escarpment of the Marlborough Downs - easy/mod - 6.5 miles/10.6 km
Walk 2339 Milk Hill the highest point in Wiltshire - easy - 3.0 miles/4.9 km
Walk 3517 Avebury & Overton Down from Overton Hill - easy/mod - 7.5 miles/12.2 km
Walk 2812 Avebury, West Kennett and Silbury Hill - easy/mod - 7.0 miles/11.4 km
Walk 3417 Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow from Avebury - easy - 3.0 miles/4.9 km
Walk 3318 Hackpen Hill & Overton Down from Avebury - easy/mod - 9.5 miles/15.4 km
Walk 3720 Ham, Inkpen Hill & Lower Green Circular - easy/mod - 6.0 miles/9.8 km
Walk 1947 Coombe Gibbet & Walbury Hill near Inkpen - easy/mod - 6.2 miles/10.1 km
Recommended Books & eBooks
Walking in the North Wessex Downs
30 walking routes exploring the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The routes are between 7km to 20km through this peaceful rolling chalk landscape covering parts of four counties: Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, with descriptions to reach the highest points in each one.
The Kennet and Avon Canal
Guidebook to walking along the Kennet & Avon Canal. The 94 mile route from Reading to Bristol is split into 7 stages of fairly easy walking and includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath and Bristol's Floating Harbour. 20 circular walks are also included, ranging from 4¼ to 9 miles, taking in the best sections of the canal.
Map and Compass
An instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.