Milk Hill - Rybury - Honeystreet ā€“ Alton Barnes - Milk Hill

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Milk Hill - Tan Hill - Rybury - Honey Street ā€“ Alton Barnes - Milk Hill

The chalk downland of the Marlborough and Pewsey Downs is easy walking through rolling countryside dotted with historic sites. From the free car park at Knap Hill a steady climb brings you to the banks of ditches of the Wansdyke earthwork (still an impressive size today), with views north to the Neolithic sites of Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill and south-east to Knap Hill. The walk now follows the Wansdyke for a couple of kilometres, climbing up via Tan Hill before dropping and climbing to the Iron Age hilltop fort of Rybury (Clifford's Hill).

Following a ridge frequented by buzzards and kestrels, the route descends to the peaceful towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal for a level walk to the Barge Inn at Honeystreet. This part of the walk has examples of more recent history in the form of the 19th Century boatbuilding and loading wharves at Honeystreet. The observant will also spot concrete tank traps and pill-boxes as a reminder that in WW2 the canal was part of General Headquarters Stop Line Blue, built to slow invading German forces in their advance on London. (Maybe I had too many refreshments at the Barge Inn but Iā€™m sure there was a Dalek guarding the far canalbank too!)

Continuing the history tour, a short walk takes you to St Mary the Virgin at Alton Barnes (part-Saxon) and a good view of the Alton Barnes White Horse (dating to 1812). The path then passes some barrows and with good views of Knap Hill ahead, returns to the starting point.

Wansdyke is a huge linear earthwork, possibly built soon after the withdrawal of the Romans around 410AD and therefore considerably pre-dating the well-known Anglo-Saxon Offa's Dyke.

England - South England - Wiltshire - Marlborough


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Pub, Wildlife
9/10/2012 - Roger Stevenson

Excellent walk with historical features from the Iron Age to Victorian Britain. The views are stunning especially on the first section. The pub at Honeystreet gets very busy and it can be difficult to get food there. However there is a very good pub at All Cannings called the Kings Arms which is only a little bit off the walk.