Categories
South West Wiltshire

Figsbury Ring and Cockey Down

Description:
This 13.6 mile (21.9km) walk follows sections of the Clarendon Way and Monarch’s Way and visits the Iron Age hill fort at Figsbury Ring.  It crosses Cockey Down nature reserve with wide ranging views.  The return route to Pitton passes the remains of the Royal hunting lodge of Clarendon Palace.  This walk crosses the busy A30 on two occasions and there are sections on minor roads which are not devoid of traffic so care needs to be taken.

Walk Grade:
Moderate

Distance:
13.6 miles / 21.9 km

Time:
5/ 6 hours

Parking:
This walk starts from the Silver Plough public house in Pitton (SP5 1DU) (Grid Ref: SU212312). Please only use the pub car park if you intend to stop for refreshments before or after your walk.

Walk Route:
Starting from the Silver Plough turn left and then immediately left along The Green.  Ignore the footpaths leading to the right and left and stay on the lane to reach a bridleway (Grid Ref: SU214315) opposite Glebe House. At the end of the bridleway (Grid Ref: SU216316) turn right to walk up the track, Winterslow Hollow.  Pass a footpath on the left and then within 10 metres turn left to join the permissive path (Grid Ref: SU220318) running along the edge of the fence line and then continue between fields to reach farm buildings.

The footpath goes to the left of the farmhouse and then on reaching a track continue the short distance to a road (Grid Ref: SU 229324).  Cross the road with care and carry on along a track on the opposite side to pass All Saints Church.  Go through a kissing gate and keep to the left hand side of the field to reach another kissing gate. Now keep close to the fence soon reaching another two kissing gates side by side (Grid Ref: SU229325) go through the one on the left and follow a fence lined path and stay with it as it leads into a copse (Grid Ref: SU 229328) .

Follow through the trees, the path soon turns to the left to descend to a sunken track, here  turn left and head downhill (Grid Ref: SU232331).  The route is now on the Monarch’s Way, stay with this as it descends to reach a minor road.  Turn right and follow a path on the verge.  At a crossroads at Dunstable Corner besides a wind pump turn left back towards Pitton (Grid Ref: SU224333). 

After 100 metres take a footpath on the right just after the entrance to Windmill Farm. This fenced path is still the Monarch’s Way and leads between fields to reach a play area at the back of houses in Firsdown (Grid Ref: SU217332).  The route continues west following the course of a Roman Road, to reach a copse.  Stay on the main path still heading west through the trees. Keep with the Monarch’s Way as it emerges from the woods.  At a crossing of paths carry straight on and then after 100 metres at another junction of paths again keep straight ahead (Grid Ref: SU198331). 

After another 100 metres at a junction of paths turn right (Grid Ref: SU197331).  This path is way-marked as the Monarch’s Way.  After 125 metres on this path take a stile on the left, still on the Monarch’s Way, from here follow the path along the right hand edge of a field.  The path passes through a gate before heading along a driveway to a stable to reach the A30 besides a garage (Grid Ref: SU192334).  

Cross this main road with care.  On the far side go through a gate and walk besides a field to reach a stile on the right giving access to the site of the Neolithic and Iron Age fort at Figsbury Ring (Grid Ref: SU188336).  This is open access land, the Monarch’s Way heads north west along the fence line to reach a gate.  Go through and join a track descending towards the Winterbournes.  After 1.3km the track reaches a kissing gate besides a farm gate. Go through and continue along a tarmac lane, Figsbury Lane, this goes under a railway bridge and continues for 300 metres to reach the A338 (Grid Ref: SU174345).

Turn left on the pavement for 200 metres and then turn right into Tanners Lane and follow this to cross the River Bourne.  After 400 metres at a crossing of paths turn left (Grid Ref: SU170345).  Follow the footpath to a minor road, Great Drove, after 65 metres turn right just before reaching a ford (Grid Ref: SU170344).  Continue on this path for 700 metres to reach a drove (Grid Ref: SU166388), turn left and follow this track to cross the River Bourne and continue into Hurdcott.  At a junction with Hurdcott Lane turn right (Grid Ref: SU169338).

After 50 metres turn right into Black Horse Lane and pass the Black Horse pub.  At the end of the lane join a footpath and follow this as it skirts the edge of a field and then goes through the hedge line into a second field to continue on to a footpath running behind houses.  This soon opens up into a driveway to properties and reaches a minor road in Ford (Grid Ref: SU165329).  Turn left and walk 350 metres to Broken Cross Bridge, this crosses the railway line on the A338.  After carefully crossing the bridge turn left into Old Malthouse Lane.  After 200 metres take a footpath on the right besides industrial units turn right on to a footpath (Grid Ref: SU171330).

Follow the path steadily uphill for 400 metres to reach the A30.  Cross the busy main road with care.  The path continues on the far side through a hedge to follow a farm track that ascends steadily along the side of a field.  At the top corner of the field turn right and follow the edge of the field to join a path leading through bushes to reach a kissing gate into the open access land of Cockey Down Nature Reserve (Grid Ref: SU175322).

The route follows a path along the top of the downs towards a clump of trees (Grid Ref: SU168315).  After passing through the trees the path descends steeply and continues south on Laverstock Down.  At a fork in the path (Grid Ref: SU165307) go left and head uphill to reach a kissing gate and then follow a hedge lined path to reach the gates for Clarendon Estate at Rangers Lodge Farm.  Now turn left on the Clarendon Way (Grid Ref: SU165298).  

Follow the Estate Road for 450 metres before forking right on the Clarendon Way footpath to cross a field heading towards King Manor Hill (Grid Ref: SU169298).  The path continues up a track and as it bends to the right (Grid Ref: SU180301) continue straight on to visit the remains of Clarendon Palace.  This Royal Hunting Lodge was a major residence of Kings from the reign of Henry II to Henry VII.  Leave the site of the palace by a gate in the north east corner and rejoin the Clarendon Way and turn left along a track.  After 80 metres fork left leaving the track to follow the Clarendon Way sign into the woods (Grid Ref: SU184301).

Now stay with the Clarendon Way as it follows a clear path through the trees to reach farm buildings and then continues around the back of Four Cottages and then after 2.9km reaches a minor road on the edge of Pitton.  Turn left and after 140 metres at a crossroads turn right and walk up White Hill to reach the starting point at the Silver Plough.

Toilets:
There are no public toilets.
Toilets are available in the pub on this route during opening hours.

Refreshments:
Pitton: The Silver Plough, Pitton Stores
Winterbourne Dauntsey: The Winterbourne Arms
Hurdcott: The Black Horse

Additional Information:
A narrative of this walk with pictures, historical information and points of interest can be viewed on my associated Two Dogs and an Awning website.

To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps OL130 Salisbury & Stonehenge and OL131 Romsey, Andover & Test Valley

© Walking Moonraker (2020)

All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it.  Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk.  It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.

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