This Salisbury circular woodland walk starts from Great Wishford village on the A36 Devizes road and takes in the ancient Grovely Wood just north of Wilton.
Although Grovely Wood is private woodland owned by the Earl of Pembroke, forming part of the Wilton estate, it is accessible to the public. There are a wide variety of rare species of birds, butterflies and mammals. It is enjoyable at any season of the year. Although you will meet the occasional dog walkers or cyclists it is never busy.
Vehicles cannot be driven into this private woodland but there is cycling and walking access from the village of Ditchampton which lies within the environs of Wilton.
The main avenue through the wood is Broad Drive which is fairly easy walking on a metalled surface on the original Roman Road from Bath past Old Sarum Castle
near Salisbury. There are few path signs within the wood itself so we suggest you start this 2-3 hour circular walk from the village of Great Wishford in a clockwise direction into the woods and back.
Great Wishford village is on the banks of the River Wylye just off the A36 Salisbury to Devizes main road. The simplest and most easily followed Salisbury Circular Woodland Walk route into Grovely is to park at the southern end of the village close to the fork in South Road where there is a railway tunnel. There are two railway bridges, one at either end of the village, the most northerly one being the one you pass under when you return into the village at the end of your circular walk Start
by walking under the southerly bridge of the two where you will find a long and steady climb up into the wood to eventually meet the unmistakeable main avenue of trees, Broad Drive.
At the junction turn right along the avenue to enjoy an easy, peaceful and quiet walk through these beautiful woods on the original Roman Road. If you haven’t made any further detours off the route to enjoy further the peaceful solitude (you should easily relocate the unmistakeable Broad Avenue of trees) after 30-40 minutes you will reach a barrier across the road entrance.
Turn right at this barrier and walk down the fairly steep hill and along the tarmac track, potholed in places, back towards the village.
This tarmac track forms part of the Monarchs Way national trail which meanders for 615 miles across southern England and follows approximately the route King Charles II took to escape to France after being defeated at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
You will enter the village under the second bridge with the Royal Oak pub immediately on your left. Why not stop there for a much earned drink or bite to eat. For your interest there is another pub, The Swan at Stoford on the main A36 where refreshment and meals are also available.
Once in the village turn right at the church back into South Street to return to your starting point. You will pass a very comfortable B&B enroute, The Old Post House
, whose owner Pauline Patient is a keen cyclist who is happy to advise and loan maps to her guests.
It is possible to walk this in reverse and park at a rather makeshift car park at the entrance to the woods but we would advise against this as the turn off from the other direction is not easy to find and you may end up walking to Wilton! Salisbury Circular Woodland Walk