Wiltshire magazine takes an easy ramble around Alderbury and Whaddon
PUBLISHED: 10:17 06 January 2011 | UPDATED: 09:49 09 October 2012
Meadows and Bluebells
Meadows and Bluebells
An easy ramble around Alderbury and Whaddon with Jane Pitman
Alderbury and Whaddon were at one time separate villages along the old turnpike road, but over the years have merged into one continuous development. The villages lie three miles south-east of Salisbury, east of the River Avon, and bordered by Clarendon Park to the north-east and Longford Park to the west. Since the 13th century, the area had been exploited for making bricks, tiles and pottery. Whaddon Brickworks, now the site of the present by-pass, was established in 1904 and continued using 18th-century methods of brick making until the business closed in 1976. This walk starts in Whaddon and takes you through lovely meadows to St Marys Church, and then climbs up picturesque Silver Street, one of the oldest parts of Alderbury village.
Boots on? Lets go!
1 Walk into Castle Lane which is opposite the Post Office. Shortly take the first track to the left which leads to Matrons College Farm. Go through the gate on the right hand side and follow the hedge line down the field. At the bottom of the field, cross over a stile where the path leads to a meadow. Carry on straight ahead and then bear left down to the bottom of the meadow. Turn right at the road continuing past Rectory Farm. Keep walking straight ahead past Rectory Cottage where the path bears right and shortly pass through a kissing gate. Turn left along the edge of the field and pass through another kissing gate. Walk across the field, cross a stile and continue to a kissing gate.
2 Pass through the kissing gate and turn right onto a gravel track. The woods on the right of the track, called High Trees, are carpeted with bluebells in spring. Eventually the track leads to a road signed Tunnel Hill. Go straight ahead down the hill to St Marys Church which was built in 1858 and has an attractive shingle spire in the Decorated style. (You get a good view of Longford Castle if you take a quick detour by following the footpath to the left of the church. Go through a gate into the graveyard, walk straight ahead and cross a stile into a field. Carry on a short distance and looking back you will see the castle.) To continue the walk, retrace your steps to the church, turn right and walk down the road to the T-junction. Turn immediately right onto a footpath, which is Silver Street, and walk up the hill
Charles Dickens stayed here whilst writing Martin Chuzzlewit, and the inn was his inspiration for the Blue Dragon in his book
3 At the top of Silver Street, on the opposite side of the road, you will see a drinking fountain. It was erected in acknowledgement of the Earl of Radnor providing the village with pumped water supply, and to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII. The road to the left of the green leads to the Green Dragon Inn, which has an interesting history. Charles Dickens stayed here whilst writing Martin Chuzzlewit, and the inn was his inspiration for the Blue Dragon in his book.
Following the destruction of farm machinery throughout the Wiltshire area in the 1830s, known as the the swing riots, 12 leaders of a mob that had gathered at Alderbury were arrested at the inn, and the rioters were dispersed. In a private garden near to the Green Dragon Inn lie the ruins of the Augustinian Priory of Ivychurch, built in the 12th century. Here, the prior and 12 cannons died of the plague in 1349.
To continue the walk, take the road to the right of the fountain. At the top, turn right into Old Road. The thatched cottage on the left, Ye Olde Post Office, served the village as Post Office until 1956.
4 At the crossroads carry straight on through the village. On the green at Waleran Close is an information board by a decorative sign, which was erected by the parish council to celebrate the Millennium. Continue on until you reach the Post Office in Whaddon where you started.
Become a Wiltshire magazine member (at the top of the page) and tell us about your favourite Wiltshire walks in the comments box at the bottom of the page.
Distance: 3 miles
Time: 1 hours
Start: Park on the road near the post office in Whaddon. Grid reference SU197263
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 130
Terrain: Field paths and minor roads
Refreshments: The Green Dragon Inn, Alderbury 01722 710263; The Three Crowns Inn, Whaddon 01722 710211
Public Transport: For nearest bus routes visit www.wdbus.co.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Dogs should be kept on leads.