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The Bath Arms and Longleat Estate

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The Bath Arms and Longleat Estate
Author: Claire, Published: 30 May 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 The Bath Arms and Longleaf Estate Pub Walkstar1 The Bath Arms and Longleaf Estate Pub Walkstar1 The Bath Arms and Longleaf Estate Pub Walkstar1 The Bath Arms and Longleaf Estate Pub Walkstar0 The Bath Arms and Longleaf Estate Pub Walk
Wiltshire, Warminster
Walk Type: Woodland
The Bath Arms and Longleat Estate
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Bath Arms and Longleaf Estate Pub Walk boot The Bath Arms and Longleaf Estate Pub Walk boot The Bath Arms and Longleaf Estate Pub Walk
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A 5 mile circular pub walk from The Bath Arms in Crockerton, near Warminster in Wiltshire. The Bath Arms is a delightful country pub, sourcing the best and freshest local produce with a menu that changes daily. The walking route explores the beautiful surroundings of the Longleat Estate, a stunning area of mixed woodland with a large lake at its centre.

The walk has several climbs and descents throughout, including a couple of fairly steep sections. There are a couple of sections walking on village roads and a country lane without pavements, so take care of the traffic at these points. A few sections within the woodland can get very muddy at times so good boots are a must. There are no stiles, kissing gates or livestock on route, making it ideal for dogs and families (although not suitable for pushchairs). Some sections of path on the return leg are quite narrow so could be prone to becoming a little overgrown in the late summer. Approximate time 2.5 hours.

Crockerton is a small village accessed via the A350, just 2 miles south of Warminster in Wiltshire. The walk starts and finishes at The Bath Arms on Clay Street, which has its own car park, and there is also roadside parking available within the village. Approximate post code BA12 8AJ.

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Walk Sections

Start to Primary School
Start to Primary School

Start point: 51.1791 lat, -2.1966 long
End point: 51.1823 lat, -2.2025 long

Leave The Bath Arms car park via the vehicle entrance and turn right along the road, Clay Street, passing the pub on your right. Continue along this village road, taking care of any occasional traffic. Just after passing House 108 on your left, turn right into the side road, Broadmead Lane. Follow this lane downhill and you will be able to see the village church within the woodland slopes opposite.

Stay with the lane as it narrows to a tarmac track, leading you downhill to cross a pretty small stream at the bottom (this is the outlet of the lake we will be visiting shortly). Beyond this crossing, stay with the tarmac lane which leads you steeply uphill bending right and right again to reach a road junction (take particular care of traffic on the bends). There is a handy stone bench on the left here should you wish to pause and catch your breath. Turn left along the lane, passing the primary school on your right.

Primary School to Sailing Club
Primary School to Sailing Club

Start point: 51.1823 lat, -2.2025 long
End point: 51.18 lat, -2.2113 long

Follow the lane gently downhill, with a mix of trees and properties each side. Ignore the first pair of footpaths signed off the road (just after Highfield), instead continue on the lane between rolling sheep pastures until you reach a sharp left-hand bend in the lane.

Go straight ahead here, passing alongside a vehicle barrier to join the woodland footpath ahead. Further along, as you emerge from the trees, the path swings right to become a tarmac track which leads you past the sailing club on your left.

Sailing Club to Vehicle Barrier
Sailing Club to Vehicle Barrier

Start point: 51.18 lat, -2.2113 long
End point: 51.1801 lat, -2.2187 long

Just beyond the sailing club, you will have your first glimpse of Shear Water Lake to your left. Do NOT turn left here, instead keep straight ahead to join the main tarmac access lane. Stay with this lane as it follows the line of the edge of the large lake to your left. There are a couple of benches here should you wish to pause and enjoy the lake views.

Extending to some 37 acres, Shear Water Lake is said to offer some of the finest and most scenic fishing available in Britain. Completely surrounded by mature trees and bushes, the Longleat Estate took Shear Water back in hand in the late 1980s and the fishery has now developed into one of the country’s most popular venues. The lake holds large populations of carp, bream, roach, perch, tench and rudd. Shear Water Sailing Club was founded in 1960 and today members enjoy excellent launch and jetty facilities, dinghy parking and a fully-equipped clubhouse. The lake is used for sailing throughout the year, with organised racing on Sundays between March and November, and on Tuesday evenings from May to August.

Continue along the lane and you will pass an open section of lakeside on your left and then a section with large clumps of rhododendron bushes interspersed with fishing points. You will reach a vehicle barrier ahead.

Vehicle Barrier to Track Fork
Vehicle Barrier to Track Fork

Start point: 51.1801 lat, -2.2187 long
End point: 51.1744 lat, -2.2263 long

Pass alongside the vehicle barrier and continue ahead on the tarmac track. Just 200 metres along (immediately after passing a large stone boulder which acts as a signpost to Nockatt Car Park), turn left onto the stone track. Follow the track as it swings steadily left (crossing the lake’s pretty inlet stream) and then swings steadily right (ignoring the right side turn). Now simply stay with this main stone track as it meanders and undulates ahead.

Longleat Estate is perhaps best known for its house and safari park, but it also includes the lake and this beautiful section of woodland. The Longleat Estate woodlands are managed on a sustainable yield basis with the natural regeneration of trees producing quality timber, forest products and habitats. This method of management of the woodland enables natural seed production from mature trees and creates suitable environments within the forest for these seeds to germinate and grow. The aim is to have a balance of trees of different ages and species from seedling to mature seed bearing trees, emulating close-to-nature forestry, full of biodiversity.

After about 1km you will reach a staggered T-junction. Turn sharp left here and follow this track for about 600 metres and then take the first turning on the right (this is immediately before a right-hand bend in the main track). Follow this grass and stone track uphill. Ignore the first (minor) right-hand side branch and you will reach a major fork in the track.

Track Fork to Swancombe Cottage
Track Fork to Swancombe Cottage

Start point: 51.1744 lat, -2.2263 long
End point: 51.1739 lat, -2.2225 long

Take the left-hand branch, a long, level and straight stretch of track. Across to your left you will have tantalising glimpses of views across the rolling distant hills. Ignore the next two side paths to your right, and stay with the main track which descends steeply to reach a T-junction (with fenced pastures visible ahead).

Turn left here and follow this final stretch of track all the way to its end, crossing a low vehicle barrier to reach a T-junction with the road. Turn left along the far road edge, taking care of any traffic, with woodland across to your left and a steep grass pasture on your right. You will come to a single property on your left, Swancombe Cottage.

Swancombe Cottage to Magnificent Beech
Swancombe Cottage to Magnificent Beech

Start point: 51.1739 lat, -2.2225 long
End point: 51.177 lat, -2.207 long

Continue along the road edge with care, now with woodland on your right and open water meadows across to your left. The lane enters a section with trees both sides and passes the vehicle entrance for a fishing point on your left. Just 30 metres later, turn right onto a stone vehicle track leading you uphill into the woodland.

Pass a circular parking area on your right, and stay with the track as it bears left heading uphill to reach a vehicle barrier. Pass alongside this and at the first fork in the track, take the left-hand branch (straight on). You will come to a second fork just a few metres later. Take the left-hand branch (the remains of a track which is now a single, narrow unmade path) leading you through the trees. This section can be muddy in part, but there is room to use the grass or woodland verges at the sides to avoid the worst of it.

Follow this fairly straight path ahead for some distance and eventually you will emerge to a junction of paths, at the centre of which is a magnificent beech tree with four or five sections of trunk.

Magnificent Beech to End
Magnificent Beech to End

Start point: 51.177 lat, -2.207 long
End point: 51.1794 lat, -2.1965 long

Turn right here, uphill, and follow the obvious narrow stone and dirt path continuing through the woodland. Further along, another path merges in (from behind on your right). Bear left here to continue on the main path and soon afterwards you will come to a fork at a grass triangle. Turn right here, passing tall conifers on your right and another magnificent gnarled beech tree on your left.

Later, the path leads you under an arch of holly and continues with fenced sheep pastures on your right. Take time to enjoy the beautiful views across the pastures which stretch to the rolling hills beyond. Simply stay with this field-side path as it swings left, descending steadily. Eventually, the path becomes a sunken track between two banks of more magnificent beech trees. You are now approaching the road, so keep children and dogs close.

You will emerge out to a quiet road, directly opposite Foxholes House. Turn left along the road edge, taking care of any occasional traffic. Continue over the brow of the slope, ignore the access drive to your left and soon afterwards you will come to the junction with Clay Street, where you will find The Bath Arms for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

1 comments for "The Bath Arms and Longleat Estate"

On section 7 (Beech to end) the 1st Beech tree has a large branch which has fallen off the tree and is blocking the path you need to take. You need to go around the end of the fallen branch to find the path.

By CalneCazza on 10 Oct 2016

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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