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Norton Bavant and Scratchbury Hill

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Norton Bavant and Scratchbury Hill
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 20 May 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Wiltshire, Warminster
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Norton Bavant and Scratchbury Hill
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A circular walk of just more than 3 miles in the Wiltshire chalk hills starting from the tiny village of Norton Bavant. The walk climbs out and up to Scratchbury Hill, one of the finest Iron Age hill forts in Wiltshire, and then continues through arable farmland to return to the village. The views from Scratchbury Hill are really wonderful.

The walk has several kissing gates but no stiles. There are several climbs and descents but they are all either gradual or short in nature. The chalk grassland paths are narrow and uneven and can be quite slippery after wet weather. There are sheep grazing in several of the fields so take care with dogs. The walk is quite remote so there are no toilets or refreshments on route. Approximate time 1.5 hours.

The walk starts from the centre of the tiny village of Norton Bavant just off the B3414, south of Warminster in Wiltshire. There is no car park so please park on the roadside with respect for the residents. The ‘Go’ marker on the map marks a small concrete lay-by where there is parking for 3 or 4 cars, just next to some disused corrugated iron outbuildings. Approximate post code BA12 7BB.

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Walk Sections

Norton Bavant to Railway Bridge
Norton Bavant to Railway Bridge

Start point: 51.1876 lat, -2.1318 long
End point: 51.1936 lat, -2.1321 long

From the concrete lay-by, with your back to the outbuildings, turn left along the village lane. Follow the road as it bends first left (past the phone box) and then hard right. Go straight ahead at the crossroads to reach the T-junction with the B3414.

Cross over the road with care, and then turn left along the pavement running alongside the B3414. After about 300 yards, take the first turning on the right, a road marked to North Farm. Follow the road along to the bridge over the railway.

Over to the left you can see Battlesbury Iron Age hill fort, a site of 23.5 acres. It has triple ditches and ramparts for the most part, with double on the southeast side. There are entrances at the northwest and northwest corners.

Railway Bridge to Imber Range Path
Railway Bridge to Imber Range Path

Start point: 51.1936 lat, -2.1321 long
End point: 51.2009 lat, -2.1296 long

Cross over the railway bridge and follow the quiet country lane as it bends left and begins to climb gradually uphill. Continue for more than half a mile, passing Middleton Cottage on the way.

Follow the road around a ninety degree right-hand bend and then, a few paces later, you’ll see a sign on the right for the Imber Range Path.

Imber Range Path to Scratchbury Ridge
Imber Range Path to Scratchbury Ridge

Start point: 51.2009 lat, -2.1296 long
End point: 51.1988 lat, -2.1243 long

Turn right here, heading on the grass path uphill, with the fence to your right. Follow the short steep slope to pass through a kissing gate to enter Scratchbury Camp – dogs on leads here as there are sheep grazing. Turn left and follow the narrow clay path as it climbs steadily around the edge of Scratchbury Hill on the right.

The Scratchbury Camp Iron Age hill fort dates to around 100 BC, but contains the remains of an earlier and smaller D-shaped camp. The age of this earlier earthwork is subject to debate due to the inconclusive excavation records; it may be early Iron Age dating to around 250 BC, but it has also been interpreted as being Bronze Age, dating to around 2000 BC. The fort covers an area of 37 acres and occupies the summit of the hill with its four-sided shape largely following the natural contours of the hill.

Follow the path as it climbs swinging to the right. Over to the right you’ll see a white star-shaped post, a marker for a site of archaeological interest. Continue past this marker and cross the path across the camp’s ditch and up the steeper incline to reach the middle section of the hill. Turn left along the ridge path – you’ll see the second star post ahead.

Follow the ridge path past the second star post and climbing to reach the highest point of the ridge which gives you stunning views across the rolling hills below.

Scratchbury Ridge to Fork
Scratchbury Ridge to Fork

Start point: 51.1988 lat, -2.1243 long
End point: 51.191 lat, -2.1204 long

Continue ahead following the undulating ridge path. Continue past a large copse of trees down in a deep valley over to the left. Immediately after this, look out for a metal kissing gate on the left. As the ridge path dips, turn sharp left downhill to reach this kissing gate.

Pass through the kissing gate and go down the short slope with the fence on the left. After just a few paces, you’ll see a sign marking the Imber Range Path to the right. Fork right here to follow the Imber Range Path heading diagonally across the centre of the crop field.

At the opposite corner of the field, pass through the kissing gate and continue straight ahead on the obvious grass path through the sheep pasture. Continue past a pair of tumuli on the right and you will then come to a fork in the path.

Fork to Bridge
Fork to Bridge

Start point: 51.191 lat, -2.1204 long
End point: 51.1854 lat, -2.1219 long

To the left you’ll see a kissing gate on the edge of the field – do not take this, instead fork right continuing on the path through the sheep pasture. Follow this path as it begins to gradually descend downhill. The traffic roundabout will come into view at the bottom of the hill.

Pass through a pair of metal gates at the bottom of the path to reach the roundabout. There are no dedicated crossings here so take care for the next bit. Go for a few paces to your right and then cross over the road. Take the next exit right (to Sutton Veny) and follow the narrow grass verge to reach the humped bridge over the railway.

Bridge to End
Bridge to End

Start point: 51.1854 lat, -2.1219 long
End point: 51.1874 lat, -2.1307 long

Cross over the bridge and then turn right immediately afterwards onto a footpath. Follow the stepped footpath with metal handrails as it zig-zags down to reach a field. At the bottom, follow the obvious path going diagonally across the centre of the crop field.

At the end of this field, continue ahead along the grass footpath with a hedgerow now immediately to your left. Go straight ahead to pass through a wide gate with a disused stile alongside. Go ahead up the tarmac lane with properties each side.

Follow the lane past an old thatched property on the left and then turn left immediately afterwards at the junction. Just before you reach the first house on the right, turn right onto the footpath through Sir John Jardine Paterson memorial field. Pass through the recreation field with properties to the left. Pass through the gate at the end and turn left for a few paces to reach the start of the walk.

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


1 responses to "Norton Bavant and Scratchbury Hill"

Badly out of date. Avoid unless you want to end up in the middle of sheep poo "minefield" or worse

By Kopec on 2016-05-12 14:23:44

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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