Salisbury Cathedral and Water Meadows
Author: Claire, Published: 15 Jan 2012 Rating:
Wiltshire, Salisbury
Walk Type: Town or city
Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty:
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An easy 2 mile circular walk in the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, following in the footsteps of the artist John Constable. The walk starts at Salisbury Cathedral, before passing out through the famous water meadows and the Old Mill then returning through residential streets and over the River Avon back to the cathedral.

The walk is flat and is entirely on tarmac paths and pavements. There are no stiles or gates making it easy access for everyone and even suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Approximate time 1 hour.

The walk starts from the north west corner of the cathedral site, in the centre of Salisbury. Parking is available in any of the city’s pay and display car parks. Approximate post code SP1 1EJ.

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Walk Sections

Salisbury Cathedral to Bridge

Start point: 51.0663 lat, -1.7982 long
End point: 51.0678 lat, -1.8045 long

Salisbury Cathedral, which has the official name of St Mary’s, was consecrated in 1258 and has the tallest church spire in the UK at 123 metres. It has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close (80 acres) in Britain and contains the world’s oldest working clock, dating from 1386.

From the Cathedral close site, head north along the High Street. Pass under the old stone arch and turn left into Crane Street.

Follow the road over the main river bridge and continue as it bends to the left and past a mini roundabout. As the road bends to the right, keep left onto a tarmac footpath until you reach a wooden footbridge ahead.

Bridge to Old Mill

Start point: 51.0678 lat, -1.8045 long
End point: 51.0644 lat, -1.8077 long

Cross over the bridge and go ahead along the tarmac path with open meadows either side. Over to the left you’ll have views back to the cathedral. On the right look out for an information board about the water meadows.

The Harnham Water Meadows are ‘floated’ meadows, the remnant of a 17th Century farming revolution. The water courses distribute evenly over the surface in the early part of the year. This means that warm water from the chalk downs prompts rich early grass needed for grazing sheep and for hay. The meadows are now home to a wide variety of wildlife including rare species of flowers and otters.

Soon afterwards you will reach a small brick bridge, and you’ll notice a marker post for one of John Constable’s favoured painting spots. The water meadows were made famous in Constable’s painting ‘Salisbury Cathedral – A View from the Water Meadows’. Shortly you’ll come to the mill pond and weir, marking the point of the Old Mill.

Old Mill to St Nicholas Road

Start point: 51.0644 lat, -1.8077 long
End point: 51.0607 lat, -1.7965 long

Follow the main path as it crosses the mill pond past Rose Cottage, and then bends left across the weir to the Old Mill public house. Follow the path round to the right alongside the pub. Continue ahead past the Three Crowns pub on the right and you’ll reach a T-junction with a road by a thatched cottage.

Turn left onto the road and then after the Old Dairy, turn left onto the pavement along the main road, Harnham Road. Continue past Grasmere House Hotel and All Saints’ Church on the left. Soon afterwards, turn left into the side road also called Harnham Road. Pass the Rose and Crown on the left. At the traffic lights turn left into St Nicholas Road.

St Nicholas Road to Salisbury Cathedral

Start point: 51.0607 lat, -1.7965 long
End point: 51.0642 lat, -1.7984 long

Cross over the picturesque stone bridge over the river. On the right you’ll pass the Community of St Nicholas Hospital which was founded in 1215. Soon afterwards, as the main road bends to the right, turn left by De Vaux House, signposted for the cathedral and museums.

Pass under the stone arch and turn immediately right up the tarmac path and you will reach the cathedral again on your right.

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

1 responses to "Salisbury Cathedral and Water Meadows"

Perfect short distance walk which you can do with pushchairs too. There's a play-park, a pub and duck feeding beach on the way.

By dibborockley on 29 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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