Longleat, Heaven's Gate and Cley Hill (Wilts)
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This walk takes you around parts of the 9,000 acre Longleat estate, and to the summit of the scheduled ancient momument of Cley Hill, a mysterious place full of early earth works and burial mounds. There are two amazing viewpoints to enjoy, contrasting with many forest trails.
From the car park a short stretch of gravel track leads to a spectacular view point at 746' amongst large sculptures called Heaven's Gate where the Longleat estate and imposing house is spread out before us, with the Mendip Hills as a backdrop in the distance. Leaving the weekend tourists behind we will then skirt the edge of the Longleat wildlife Safari Park to cross the forest towards the broody and romantic mound of Cley Hill. We will ascend to the top and the viewpoint at 767' /239 m gives a 360 degree panorama across parts of Wiltshire and Somerset. After retracing our steps down the hill we will cross through Longleat Forest to the village of Crockerton where the Bath Arms offers the possibility of a refreshing drink. The return route to the car park initially passes a large expanse of water call Shearwater, a popular venue for anglers and sailing enthusiasts.
All photos Copyright Andy Martin
What to bring
For your comfort and safety please be prepared for the anticipated weather and the terrain of the walk - keep in mind the following:
Boots: Hiking boots that are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support, are important as soon as you encounter any mud. Cross trainers may suffice in good weather and flat routes.
Socks: Proper walking socks keep your feet dry, and help prevent blisters.
Walking Trousers: (ideally water resistant) will be more comfortable than Jeans which are heavy and cold when wet. From April to October shorts are usually a better bet.
Waterproof Over-Trousers: essential in any significant rainfall. Breathable ones are best.
Layered clothing: allows you to quickly adapt to changes in the weather as well as body temperature. E.g. a base layer or a cotton T-Shirt; a mid layer like a micro fleece, or a rugby type thick shirt, and in cooler weather an outer layer consisting of a windproof jacket or a thick fleece.
Waterproof Jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather. You get what you pay for with these. Breathable fabrics are advisable.
Hat: essential both in mid winter to preserve heat and in summer to prevent sunburn and heatstroke.
Gloves: essential in frosty weather.
Small Rucksack: One that is comfortable to wear is essential so that you can use your arms freely. Place valuables in water proof bags inside.
Sunglassses: April- Sept: comfortable sunglasses enhance your pleasure and keep insects out of the eye
Water: even in winter one can loose a litre or more of fluid by perspiration. If you fail to make this up you'll get dehydrated which can lead to headaches and other problems. A hydration bladder is easier to use than bottled water, but higher maintenance.
Food: a packed lunch will be required unless otherwise stated. In addition carry energy bars or similar to counter 'sugar lows'.
Medicines: If you have allergies, are diabetic, or have minor ailments don't forget these!
Food & drink
Please bring a packed lunch with which you can enjoy on the top of Cley Hill. NB There are no shops at the start nor passed on route.