Salisbury Plain: Along the Edge of Wessex
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Salisbury Plain is one of the largest tracts of undeveloped land in the south, and in total equates to the size of the Isle of Wight. Although much is off limits for military training purposes, it is possible to follow the periphery where the big sky views, and wildlife are at their best. From our starting point near the village of Great Cheverell our linear route will work its way up onto The Plain, and from there walk westwards along the perimeter taking in some glorious view from the escarpment towards the Avon Valley, Mendips and in the very distance, Wales and the Costwolds.
We will see the dips and folds of the glaciated contours and half way along make a detour down to the village of Bratton for a refreshing drink at the Village Pub, whilst passing by little alleys and quaint cottages. The second part of the walk takes us back up and then turns gently towards the Westbury White Horse Hill Carving, before finally heading back down back to the starting point.
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 you which you can enjoy from one of the great vantage points. Also bring lots of water, especially if the weather is hot.