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Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail

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Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 26 Feb 2019 Walk Rating:star0 Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guidestar0 Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guidestar0 Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guidestar0 Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guidestar0 Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guide
Wiltshire, Pewsey
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guide
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A 2.5 mile circular walk from the village of Wilcot in Wiltshire. The trail leads you through the pretty village, with lots of thatched cottages and a beautiful church and manor house, before heading out through countryside with views of the withy bed. The return leg follows the towpath along a rural stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal, with lots of wildlife to enjoy.

The walk is relatively flat, with only a few short slopes as you access and leave the canal. It follows a mixture of quiet village lanes, farm tracks and canal towpath. The paths are of generous width and are generally well-made, but they can be a bit rutted in parts and can have a few centimetres of surface mud after rain and in the winter months. There are no stiles, steps or kissing gates on route, but you will need to negotiate a simple wooden gate. You will not be sharing any of the paths with livestock. With all this in mind, the walk should be suitable for rugged all-terrain pushchairs or mobility buggies when the ground is dry. Allow 1 hour.

Wilcot is a small village located about 1.5 miles northwest of Pewsey in Wiltshire. The walk starts and finishes at the crossroads in the village, alongside the red phone box and the village pub, the Golden Swan. There is roadside parking available alongside this crossroads. Approximate post code SN9 5NN.

Walk Sections

Start to Holy Cross Church
Start to Holy Cross Church

Start point: 51.3489 lat, -1.7959 long
End point: 51.3462 lat, -1.7998 long

The walk starts at the village crossroads alongside the phone box and Golden Swan pub. Take the lane signed to Wilcot Church, passing the phone box and pub on your left. This lane leads you past a row of pretty thatched cottages on your right. Beyond these cottages, stay with the lane as it bends left and then right. You will pass The Old Dairy (now a side road) and The Old Post Office (now a cottage) both on your right, a clue to a bustling village of old. Continue to reach the church ahead, Holy Cross Church, a good spot to pause and reflect on the history of the village and estate.

The village name of Wilcot is first mentioned in the year 940 and the village grew up around the church and adjacent manor which was owned by Edward of Salisbury. His son founded Bradenstoke Priory and this priory held the manor until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. The current manor was built in the 1600s (with alterations in the 1700s and 1800s) and sits on the site of the Excellent House (domus optima) mentioned in the Domesday Book, which included fishponds and a vineyard. The manor and estate were in the hands of the Wroughton family until 1919 when it was broken up and sold.

Holy Cross Church to Cocklebury Farm
Holy Cross Church to Cocklebury Farm

Start point: 51.3462 lat, -1.7998 long
End point: 51.3435 lat, -1.8157 long

Turn left immediately before the church (passing the church on your right), to join the stone track signed as a footpath. The wall on your right is the boundary wall for Wilcot Manor. As the wall steps down slightly, look up to your right for a view of the Wilcot Dovecote. This circular thatched building dates from 1737 and includes a lead dome. In 1939 the interior was converted to become an air raid shelter.

Continue ahead, crossing a small stream to reach a junction in the track by a wide metal gate. Turn right here to continue on a wide stone and then grass track. The area beyond the right-hand hedgerow is known as Wilcot Withy Bed, where reeds were once grown for thatching and forming part of the original monastic settlement.

Simply keep ahead on this track (which narrows to a path for its central stretch). At the far end you will reach a T-junction with a hedgerow ahead and the timber barns of Cocklebury Farm to your left.

Cocklebury Farm to Bowden Bridge
Cocklebury Farm to Bowden Bridge

Start point: 51.3435 lat, -1.8157 long
End point: 51.3486 lat, -1.8078 long

Turn right here, passing between hedgerows and going through a gate to join a path which leads up to the canal bridge, Ladies Bridge. Cross the bridge and, at the far side, turn right down the slope to reach a junction with the towpath. From this angle you will notice the ornate stonework of Ladies Bridge. When the canal was built in 1807, it cut through the estate land of the Wroughton family of Wilcot Manor. The family permitted the canal to be built on the conditions that this ornate bridge was constructed (named after the two ladies of the manor, the wife and daughter both named Susannah) and that the canal was widened to create an ornamental lake, Wide Water.

Turn left to join the canal towpath, with the Kennet and Avon Canal running on your right. You will soon pass the widened ornamental stretch known as Wide Water. Continue on the towpath for about 800 metres, to reach the next canal bridge, Bowdon Bridge (Bridge 119).

Bowden Bridge to End
Bowden Bridge to End

Start point: 51.3486 lat, -1.8078 long
End point: 51.349 lat, -1.7958 long

Pass under Bowden Bridge and continue ahead on the canal towpath. A further 600 metres brings you to Wilcot Bridge (Bridge 117). We leave the canal at this bridge so bear left immediately before it, heading up to the road. Taking care of traffic, turn right to cross the bridge (on the lane signed to Pewsey).

As you reach the war memorial on the village green corner, fork right to join the access track which leads you past the village green on your left. At this end of this residential track, you will come to a T-junction. Turn left to retrace your steps, passing the row of thatched cottages on your left, to reach the village crossroads where the walk began.

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network Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2019 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 Comments for: "Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail"

A lovely waterside walk.

By Richard on 17 Mar 2019

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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2 Gallery Images for: "Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail"

13034_0Richard1551170992 Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 26 Feb 2019
Holy Cross Church
13034_1Richard1551170992 Wilcot Estate and Canal Trail, Wiltshire Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 26 Feb 2019
The beautiful and ornate Ladies Bridge

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