This is something bit out of the ordinary and a walk not to be missed for any of you that want to “go that little bit extra” or explore an area not frequented that much by us. There is an option to bail out and just after half way so don’t panic if 21 miles is bit daunting.
The walk leader will be on the 8.41 service from Reading arriving at Bedwyn station at 9.24. If this is delayed or cancelled the start time and route will be amended. Parking is available at Great Bedwyn station or surrounding streets. Rail travellers, buy a return ticket to Bedwyn.
The route takes us towards the southern edge of Savernake Forest over often well maintained footpaths. We continue on to the Iron Age Hillfort at Martinsell Hill. Standing at 289 metres high this is the third highest point in Wiltshire and involved our only real climb today, it’s not too strenuous. On a clear day we should be able to see Salisbury Cathedral in the distance.
Pausing for lunch at Giants Grave, we descend to the village of Pewsey where the Anglo Saxon King Alfred the Great was a landowner once upon a time.
At Pewsey, there is an option for those that wish to bail out. However, this may involve a long wait of between 2-3 hours for train as I am hoping we arrive at around 2pm. There are refreshment opportunities including what should hopefully be our first pub stop of the day at
the quirky The Shed Alehouse.
Suitably refreshed, our return journey is through flatter land and few quaint English villages. If our luck is in we hope to pause for two more pub stops subject to timing and availability. We conclude the hike passing Crofton Pumping Station, the home to one of the oldest working beam engines in the world. This site is definitely worth a visit but we sadly won’t have time today. The final leg will be along a rather picturesque stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal.
As this is a full day out, hoping to conclude around 7 pm, the walk leader will look to seek a suitable place for some well earned dinner and further drinks on the journey back to Reading depending on groups interest.
Note for those doing first half only –
Drivers – you may wish to park up at Pewsey and catch the 8.14 service to Bedwyn (via Newbury) so you have your car at the end of the walk. All doing first leg only- Pewsey is on a different train line to Bedwyn so you will require a separate ticket which is not in Network Railcard zone. Alternatively, a taxi service is available from Pewsey should you prefer to get back to Bedwyn sooner and so avoiding a long wait for train. There is an hourly train service back to Reading from Bedwyn.
Please bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you going on what is sure to be an epic day.
Sat Nav: SN8 3NZ or 51.3794 -1.599
Grid Ref: SU280645