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|Smeathe's Ridge and Burderop Down|
|Author: Claire, Published: 27 Jul 2015||Walk rating : Rating:|
|A 5 mile circular walk from Barbary Castle Country Park, near Swindon in Wiltshire. This peaceful walk explores the stunning Marlborough Downs, taking in a long stretch of the Ridgeway National Trail before returning via bridleways alongside typical Wiltshire arable fields and pastures. The view from the ridge stretches for miles around on a clear day and there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy on the chalk downland as well as in the dense hedgerows on the return leg. |
The route includes very gentle but long gradients throughout, with just one short steeper climb. As the walk follows bridleways for its entire length, there are no stiles, steps or kissing gates to negotiate, just a few simple bridle gates. The ridge top path on the outward leg is firm and wide, but the lower bridleways on the return leg are much narrower and can be a bit overgrown in the summer months and very muddy in winter. You will be sharing three of the fields with dairy cattle, but the paths are well-walked (particularly the National Trail) and our experience was that the cattle didn’t even seem to notice us (or our dog) as we walked through. All the same, do take care around the cattle. There are picnic tables and toilets within the car park at the start of the walk. Approximate time 2.5 hours.
The walk starts and finishes from the Barbary Castle Country Park free car park, south of the M4 in Wiltshire. The park lies about three miles south-west of Chiseldon. Leave the M4 at Junction 15 and follow the A346 south towards Marlborough for just a short distance. Before a petrol station, turn right to follow the signs for Chiseldon. You will soon pick up the brown tourism signs for Barbury Castle. Approximate post code SN4 0QH.
|Start to Reservoir|
Start point: 51.4836 lat, -1.7764 long
NOTE: This walk does not explore the earthwork remains of Barbury Castle Iron Age hill fort itself. Should you wish to do this separately, exit the car park at the gate furthest from the vehicle exit (by the picnic area) and follow the Ridgeway for about half a mile to reach the remains. Return to the car park when you are ready to start the walk.
|Reservoir to Concrete Track|
Start point: 51.4709 lat, -1.7326 long
Continue along the track, passing the fenced reservoir on your right. The track leads you down to a wide gate. Pass through this and turn immediately sharp left to join a signed bridleway between hedgerows.
|Concrete Track to End|
Start point: 51.4787 lat, -1.7455 long
Turn left and follow the concrete track as it swings right. A few yards later, fork right, leaving the concrete track and continuing along the grass track signed as a bridleway. Follow the long grass track with a crop field on the right and a line of trees running to the left. At the end of the first long crop field, go through the gateway ahead and then fork left to join the narrow stone path between hedgerows.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
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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|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 27 Jul 2015
This picture shows the green corridor that you walk along on the homeward leg of the walk. It was a little overgrown when we walked it in July 2015 but that was counter balanced by the wealth of wild flowers along the route.
|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 27 Jul 2015
This picture tries to capture the vastness of some of the land used for crops in the area. Taken July2015.
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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Even on a cold windy day with it trying to snow this was still an excellent walk. We managed it with our 2 children of 5 yrs and one in a all terain pram (a defo no no with a normal pram). Will be doing this one again in the summer.
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