Hillforts on Salisbury Plain

Submitted by Timwoods on 16 October 2011
OS Explorer Map: 143 - Warminster & Trowbridge
(5 votes)
A linear, full-day countryside walk in England starting at Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire, about 15.4km (roughly 9.6 miles) long and suitable for families with children, but unsuitable for prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Find Public Transport to Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire

Wiltshire is a much neglected county for walking. The chalky hills offer many fine routes, including this route along the western edge of Salisbury Plain. The walk connects two villages either side of Warminster. Better to start at Dilton Marsh, as trains are infrequent, plus there are better pubs to kill time in at Heytesbury. The first half of the walk circuits the Plain and the army camp with great views over Wiltshire; the second takes you over four small hillforts. Regular buses back from Heytesbury to Warminster, although if you are staying overnight the Angel in Heytesbury is the best local option.


Start: Dilton Marsh, OS Grid: ST855500
End: Heytesbury, Warminster, Wiltshire, England, OS Grid: ST923425
Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 414m (1360ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 811m (2661ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 396m (1301ft)
Max. Elevation: 210m (688ft)

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OS Grid: ST855500
From Warminster, take the train to Dilton Marsh. it's a request stop, so tell the conductor.
About 0.4 km (roughly 0.3 miles) from 1 OS Grid: ST859498
Not the most inspiring start to the walk, but it's worth it. Cross the busy main road and then through Westbury Leigh.
About 0.3 km (roughly 0.2 miles) from 2 OS Grid: ST862499
Follow the road and turn off at Sandy Hole Lane towards Chalford, along the edge of Westbury Leigh. Take care crossing the A350.
About 0.8 km (roughly 0.5 miles) from 3 OS Grid: ST869499
The walk starts in earnest at Chalford. From Wellhead Grove, take the path leading up to the edge of Salisbury Plain.
About 1.3 km (roughly 0.8 miles) from 4 OS Grid: ST882495
Once you have gained the hill, pick up the Imber Range Perimiter Path. This is what it's all about.
About 0.8 km (roughly 0.5 miles) from 5 OS Grid: ST878488
Head south via Upper Cow Down. No sign of the lower cow...
About 1.6 km (roughly 1 miles) from 6 OS Grid: ST887475
Sadly the army use of this part of the Plain prevents wider exploration, but the border path still gives you great views across Wiltshire.
About 1.5 km (roughly 0.9 miles) from 7 OS Grid: ST877463
Head along the path and through the golf course at Arn Hill Down.
About 1.1 km (roughly 0.7 miles) from 8 OS Grid: ST887457
The route here overlooks Warminster, heading via Parsonage Farm.
About 1 km (roughly 0.6 miles) from 9 OS Grid: ST896462
Head northeast along Imber Road and the army camp.
About 0.5 km (roughly 0.3 miles) from 10 OS Grid: ST896457
Beyond the army camp, you return to the countryside and Battlesbury Hill, the site of an Iron Age hillfort.
About 1.4 km (roughly 0.9 miles) from 11 OS Grid: ST906448
The second half of the walk is in many ways the highlight; four small hills in a line, the second of which is Middle Hill.
About 0.8 km (roughly 0.5 miles) from 12 OS Grid: ST913444
On again to Scratchbury Hill, also an Iron Age hillfort.
About 1.4 km (roughly 0.9 miles) from 13 OS Grid: ST920432
The fourth hill, Cotley Hill, is just outside Heytesbury.
About 0.6 km (roughly 0.4 miles) from 14 OS Grid: ST923427
Cross the A36 via the underpass and into the village. There's two pubs; go to The Angel for food, or the Red Lion for a pint.
About 0.2 km (roughly 0.1 miles) from 15 OS Grid: ST923425
Regular buses from the village high street take you back to Warminster and the train home.
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