Wiltshire Tourist Guide

Walking in Wiltshire | Monarchs Way

Walking in Wiltshire includes long distance footpath walks such as The Monarchs Way. Accommodation along the way includes campsites or B&Bs.

Accommodation

The Monarchs Way is a long distance trail of 615 miles using a network of footpaths and bridleways weaving their way across southern England which follow closely the route taken by Charles II after his defeat at Worcester in 1651. The Trail crosses World Heritage Sites and designated areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty through some of the finest scenery in Southern England.

After his defeat at Worcester Charles II was pursued by Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army north towards Wales and then south through Cotswolds, the Mendips and Bristol to Charmouth on the south coast. Parliamentary Forces were waiting for him and he fled north and east through Wiltshire before finally leaving England by ship from Shoreham in Sussex.

The portion of the walk in Wiltshire enters the county in the west at Mere, passing through the villages of Hindon and Fonthill Bishop then up over Chilmark and Teffont downs and through Grovely Wood (part of the Wilton House estate) to cross the River Wylye at the villages of Gt Wishford and Stoford. There it climbs north on the Wiltshire Downs skirting the extreme southern edge of Salisbury Plain and back down into the Avon Valley to cross the river at Lower Woodford. King Charles II was given refuge in Heale House at Middle Woodford during his flight from Cromwell and was thought to have visited Stonehenge during his stay. Heale House Gardens are open to the public between March and October.

The national trail heads east through the small hamlet of Hurdcott and north through Winterbourne Earls and Winterbourne Dauntsey to cross yet another river, the river Bourne.



The footpath climbs east from the Winterbournes up to Figsbury Rings, an Iron Age hillfort and Site of Special Scientific Interest with magnificent panoramic views, before it joins the Roman road a major route of that time which linked the Roman strongpoints of Old Sarum (Sorviodurnum) and Winchester (Venta Belgarum). This Roman road passes the back of the small hamlet of Firsdown then up a steep hill to the village of Winterslow where it joins the Clarendon Way trail from Salisbury Cathedral to enter Hampshire just to the east of the village.

The Monarchs Way in Wiltshire is waymarked and clearly shown on the Ordnance Survey’s Explorer and Landranger maps.

Walking in Wiltshire | Monarchs Way

Nov 2013