Stonehenge is situated slap bang in the middle of some of Britain’s finest hiking country. Indeed, Wiltshire’s gently undulating moorland, its wealth of other historic sites and landmarks, and its plethora of great pubs and country eateries, make it an excellent place to enjoy a country trek. This article details four of the best hikes in and around the Stonehenge area. If you are taking one of the many London to Stonehenge Tours you may not have time for this, but if you are making your own way to Stonehenge and free with time then this could be great for you.
The Stonehenge Walk
The first walk is one which incorporates Stonehenge itself (walk ID: 4755, distance: 7 miles, average duration: 3.5 hours). Beginning at the nearby town of Amesbury (where it is said Guinevere, great queen of Arthurian legend, died), the walk then passes through the King’s Barrows, a cluster of ancient burial mounds, dissected by a ridge-top path known as ‘Stonehenge Avenue’, before descending upon some magnificent moorland vistas, past the Cursus, another fascinating ancient monument, before finishing at Stonehenge itself. Watch out for plenty of moorland wildlife along the way, notably the great bustard, hunted to extinction on these shores by 1832, but recently reintroduced and reintegrated.
Alternatively, you could try the ‘undiscovered’ Stonehenge walk (no walk ID, distance: 4 miles, average duration: 2 hours), which takes in the many aspects of the Stonehenge site that frequently go unvisited. Begin at Woodhenge car park and head towards Durrington Walls (the ancient settlement where the people who built Stonehenge actually lived), then take the trail to the Cuckoo Stone (another prehistoric stone monument), before ending at King Barrow Ridge.
Other Wiltshire Walks
Another great Wiltshire walk is one at Stourhead Park Hill Camp (no walk ID, distance: 3 miles, average duration: 1.5 hours). Taking in an iron age fort, some beautiful country woodland, and a magnificent 18th century house and gardens. Begin the walk at the car park at Stourhead visitor centre, from where you can follow some orange way-markers posted toward the direction of Whitesheet Hill, at the top of which you will find a fascinating excavation of an ancient hill fort. From there, descend through woodland into the valley and onto the estate at Stourhead, where you can marvel at the magnificently maintained gardens and exotic trees and enjoy some refreshment at the Stourhead House café. Keep an eye (and an ear) out for woodpeckers and other native fauna.
For a more ambitious walk, try that which stretches across the Clarendon Way, connecting the two historic Wessex cities of Salisbury and Winchester (no walk ID, distance: 24 miles, average duration: 8 hours). Begin at the centre of Salisbury and then head to Clarendon Palace. From there, pass over the hills to the village of Broughton, before moving on to Oliver’s Battery and finishing at the side of the river Itchen as it passes through the centre of Winchester. With plenty of great scenery and historic landmarks, the walk, if you feel you have the legs for it, is certainly rewarding. There are plenty of pubs serving good food to refuel at along the way.
Wiltshire has over 800 registered trails, so be sure to research properly to find out which suits you best, but the ones mentioned here should definitely be tried.