A train to Swindon and a quick bus ride brings us to the edge of the Marlborough Downs and the beginning of our hike. Ignored by most travelers as they as they head west along the M4, here you can walk for miles among the gently rolling hills, and not see another soul, only birds soaring and wheeling in the skies above.
We will be walking along paths taken by people from time
immemorial: herders, traders and armies, many leaving their marks, in the form of long barrows and burial mounds of kings and great warriors. No walk to these beautiful Wiltshire Downs would be complete without taking Banbury Castle, an Iron
Age hill fort, still beautifully preserved. From here there are amazing panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and you might well imagine yourself to be an Iron Age Celt awaiting an onslaught by the Romans. We finish the walk at the pretty village of Avebury, with its World famous stone circle, a World Heritage Site and one of the most important megalithic sites in Europe.
Avebury also has some very nice pubs, providing convivial
surroundings as we wait for the bus back to Swindon and the train home.
The walk is about 12 miles
Meet at Paddington station at 9.30 AM.
A Paddington to Swindon return is £42.50, for a
group of three £84.15 and for a group of four £85.00
Cost of buses £6.50
Train leaves Paddington at 10.00 AM and arrives at
Swindon at 10.56
We should return to London at about 9.00 PM
A quirk of the group saver ticket system is that they can only be bought for groups of three or four. This means that if five or seven people join a group the extra people will have to pay the full cost of a ticket. In this case the cost of travel is to be shared equally between you. For example, if there are six people in your group when you buy tickets, each person should pay a sixth of the total cost. This way no one person is lumbered with unnecessarily heavy travelling costs.
Please make sure you bring change with you.
As with many activities there is a very small risk of injury or an even smaller risk of death. I have never heard of anyone dying on a country walk, mostly people seem to have a really good time ;-). However, in agreeing to come on a walk, you agree to take responsibility for your own safety.
Further, although you don’t have to have super powers to enjoy a walk, they are reasonably physically demanding. Please make sure you have the necessary fitness to complete the walk.
Please make sure you wear walking boots/shoes or good trainers and bring the following:
Waterproof clothing (umbrellas are also useful)
Drinking water (at least 1 litre).
A packed lunch.