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Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill

There are currently 4 comments and 3 photos online for this walk.

Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 07 Jan 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guidestar1 Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guidestar1 Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guidestar1 Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guidestar1 Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guide
Wiltshire, Marlborough
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guide boot Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guide boot Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guide
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12 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 14 mph SSW
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A 5.5 mile circular walk from the unspoilt village of Great Bedwyn in Wiltshire. The walk has a lovely mix of things to see including a few glimpses of industrial heritage. You’ll get chance to enjoy a long stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal along with the old Crofton Pumping Station and Wilton Windmill, the only remaining working windmill in Wessex. On the return stretch you’ll pass through woodlands and fields before getting chance to explore Great Bedwyn itself.

The walk has only a few steady ascents and descents and there are no stiles, just a few easy to use gates and one squeeze gap. The majority of the route is along earth and stone tracks, towpaths and paths all of which will be muddy after wet weather. There is one small stretch of road walking and you will also need to cross the railway tracks towards the end of the walk so take care here with children and dogs. Check the opening times of the windmill and pumping station if you want to see inside these attractions. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

The walk starts from the railway station in the village of Great Bedwyn near Marlborough in Wiltshire. If you are travelling by train the station is on the London Paddington – Reading – Newbury – Westbury – Castle Cary – Plymouth line. If you are travelling by car there is a small free station car park on The Knapps off Brook Street. Approximate postcode SN8 3NU.

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Walk Sections

Great Bedwyn to Crofton Pumping Station
Great Bedwyn to Crofton Pumping Station

Start point: 51.3793 lat, -1.5993 long
End point: 51.3586 lat, -1.6248 long

From the station car park, return to the T-junction with Brook Street, cross over and turn left along the pavement. Follow the pavement over the two brick arch bridges – over the railway and then the canal. Almost immediately turn right into the wharf car park and go straight ahead to follow the towpath with the canal on your right.

Continue along the canal towpath past four locks. At the fifth lock, Lock 60, you will see Crofton Pumping Station on the opposite bank with its very tall brick chimney stack.

Crofton Pumping Station was built in 1807 to provide water to the canal summit. It is a grade I listed building housing two Cornish beam engines, one of which is the oldest working beam engine in the world still in its original engine house and capable of doing the job for which it was installed. During the summer the station is open for public access and the engines are steamed on some weekends. Check the website for prices and opening times. To visit the station, cross over the canal via the lock gates and pass under the railway underpass. When you are finished return to the canal towpath.

Crofton Pumping Station to Wilton Windmill
Crofton Pumping Station to Wilton Windmill

Start point: 51.3586 lat, -1.6248 long
End point: 51.3539 lat, -1.6051 long

To continue the walk, retrace your steps back along the towpath for a few paces and then take the footpath off the canal signed for Wilton Windmill. Cross over the small sluice gate and then continue ahead on the mud footpath with Wilton Water on your right.

Follow this grass path as it bends alongside the water. At the end of the field, follow the path as it bends to the right onto a small track to reach the village pond ahead. Turn left up the village road with thatched cottages either side.

Pass The Swan public house on the right and follow the main road as it bends to the left. Follow the road edge with care (there are no pavements here) going uphill. Go straight on at the cross roads and after a few paces Wilton Windmill will come into view on the right.

Shortly afterwards take the right turning away from the main road signposted to The Windmill and Shalbourne. Continue ahead and the entrance track to the windmill is on the right immediately after some tennis courts.

Wilton Windmill was originally constructed in 1821 and is the only working windmill remaining in Wessex. It was in operation for 100 years before falling into disrepair. Restored in 1976, it is now used to mill flour once again and as a tourist attraction. The site is open at all times but the mill itself and shop are open limited hours on Sundays during the summer months so check before you set out if you want a guided tour.

Wilton Windmill to Great Bedwyn
Wilton Windmill to Great Bedwyn

Start point: 51.3539 lat, -1.6051 long
End point: 51.3792 lat, -1.6013 long

When you have finished visiting the mill, return to the road and turn right to continue your route. After about 500 yards, opposite a road signed to Hungerford, turn left up a mud track. Take the next turn into a smaller track on the right (after about 300 yards) along the edge of the woodland. Follow the path between trees and you’ll reach a T-junction with a three way signpost, turn right towards Great Bedwyn. After a few more paces you’ll come to a T-junction with a stone track, turn left into Bedwyn Brail. Note that dogs should be on leads from this point to protect the game birds.

Follow the stone track through the woodland and small grass clearings which give great views in both directions. Eventually the stone track turns into a grass path as you come into a large clearing – keep ahead and then take the left hand path at the fork to follow the footpath into Ivy’s Copse. Follow the path snaking through the woods until it emerges into an arable crop field.

Go ahead, keeping the field boundary on the left. Eventually, as you start to head downhill Great Bedwyn will come into view ahead. When you are just 100 yards from the canal, bear right down a footpath across the field towards the church and a stone bridge. Pass through the gate and go ahead over the bridge. Cross the railway via the white gates, taking care to listen carefully for trains.

Go ahead across the field and pass by St Mary’s Church on your right. Pass through the squeeze gap (which is only about one foot high so most people and dogs will be fine) and go ahead through the church yard. Exit via the wooden gate and turn right into Church Street. Follow the pavement and you will pass the impressive post office on the left which houses several commemoration stones and monuments, examples of the work of Lloyds Stonemasons Yard which is next door and was established in 1790.

At the end of Church Street, with The Cross Keys public house on the corner, turn right to return to the station.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


4 responses to "Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill"

We really enjoyed this walk. Stopped off at the windmill for tea and ice cream, lovely.

By Kgod on 2013-06-23 19:29:35

A really lovely varied walk - canal, woods, historical interest. The windmill site has picnic tables and benches which make for a perfect halfway stop for a picnic - yes, even on 20th March it was warm enough to stop for a picnic.

By Lizanne on 2015-03-20 17:42:11

steam day at crofton and bluebells made this a fabulous walk. Even a bride turning up for her very posh looking wedding at the end in Great Bedwyn

By Greenster on 2016-05-01 19:52:23

Great varied walk. Really enjoyed refreshments in the Swan pub with a friendly landlord!

By shell114 on 2016-08-05 17:18:59

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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3 images to "Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill"

448_0Richard1326013699 Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Crofton Pumping Station taken in January 2012
448_1Richard1326013700 Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Wilton Windmill taken in January 2012
448_0Richard1326013962 Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Canal at Great Bedwyn

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