What it's like
What Wiltshire lacks in rugged mountain scenery, it more than makes up for with some of Britain’s most fascinating historical landmarks. Stonehenge is the most famous, and anyone who’s witnessed the stones glowing as the sun rises in the eastern sky will understand the magic that oozes from this fascinating, iconic antiquity. But there are many others in the region including the imposing ranks of standing stones that crowd around the village of Avebury, the incredible, nearby Silbury Hill – at 40m tall, the largest man-made prehistoric mound in Europe, and of course, a whole succession of giant white horses carved into the steep, chalky hillsides.
But visiting these amazing relics is only part of the story, the real fun is getting there, and in Wiltshire that means walking or cycling across mile after mile of lofty, grass-covered downland that’s crisscrossed with a plethora of tracks and trails – some, like the famous Ridgeway that runs from Avebury all the way up into the Chiltern Hills, are almost as old as the landmarks themselves.
Best of the open spaces has to be Salisbury Plain, lowly it might be, but in places it feels as remote as Dartmoor, and it’s certainly large enough to never feel crowded. The Marlborough Downs offer more ups and downs than the plain, and are therefore the best bet for the mtb fraternity.
There’s plenty of woodland beneath these big skies too - check out Severnake near Marlborough and Grovelly Wood, near Salisbury, both of which provide fabulous spring displays of snowdrops and bluebells as well as some wonderful colours in autumn.
- The Ridgeway An ancient road that hurdles the hilltops, making an adventurous trek on bike or on foot. Walk the whole thing, or focus on the Marlborough Downs
- Grovelly Wood to Great Ridge A wonderful, hilly traverse best tackled n a mountain bike in Autumn.
- A loop from Salisbury West on the Ox Drove towards Cranborne, then back over Fovant – a big day out
Must see and do
- Stonehenge Historic landmarks don’t get any better.
- Salisbury One of Britain’s loveliest cities
- Longleat Interesting and relatively animal-friendly Wildlife park as well as a wonderful wooded part of the county.
Destination County : Wiltshire