Categories
South West Wiltshire

Hackpen and Marlborough White Horses

Description:
This walk crosses Marlborough Down to visit Barbury Castle hill fort.  It then follows the Ridgeway to pass the Hackpen White Horse.  On leaving the Ridgeway the path crosses Fyfield Down, with its numerous Sarsens Stones, and then reaches the Devil’s Den burial chamber before returning to Marlborough.  This walk crosses the busy A4 and sections follow minor roads which are not devoid of traffic.

Walk Grade:
Moderate / Challenging

Distance:
16.8 miles / 27.1km

Total Ascent
1344 feet / 409 metres

Time:
6 hours 15 mins/ 7 hours 45 mins

Parking:
This walk starts from the long stay pay and display car park in George Lane, Marlborough (SN8 4BX) (Grid Ref: SU188688).

Walk Route:
From the car park cross the River Kennet and walk into the town along Hilliers Yard and then turn left along the High Street.  After passing St Peter’s Church turn right and follow the pavement besides the A4, Bath Road, to walk besides Marlborough College.  After passing the main entrance to the college take a footpath on the left which crosses the River Kennet to reach St George’s Church (Grid Ref: SU180686).

From the church continue on the footpath heading south to reach Preshute Lane (Grid Ref: SU180685), turn right and follow the lane for 750 metres to reach Manton. Now turn right into Bridge Street.  After crossing the River Kennet take a footpath on the right leading through trees to the A4. Cross at traffic lights and the take a footpath opposite which heads north along the White Horse Trail.  After passing some houses head north through open countryside (Grid Ref: SU172690).

At a junction of paths turn right leaving the White Horse Trail (Grid Ref: SU170695).  Follow this path to pass Barton Copse, nearing farm buildings it joins a driveway to Manton House Farm, follow this to a road (Grid Ref: SU175704).  Cross the road and turn left and follow a path running inside the hedge line towards the Old Eagle.  Briefly join the road to pass Old Eagle Cottages, and then take a track on the right (Grid Ref: SU168715).

Follow the track as it heads north onto the downs where there are a network of gallops for racehorses.  After 650 metres leave the track to take a footpath on the right (Grid Ref: SU168722).  This heads across the gallops towards the site of a private cemetery (Grid Ref: SU170726).  From the cemetery head north to cross gallops and join a track (Grid Ref: SU171728).

Turn left and soon pass a copse on the right.  On reaching a junction of tracks head north besides the gallops (Grid Ref: SU168731).  Stay with this track, which was the route of the old Swindon – Marlborough turnpike, for 3.2km to reach Upper Herdswick Farm (Grid Ref: SU158760).  Now turn left to join the Ridgeway long distance path.  This passes through the car park for Barbury Castle and continues on heading west to reach the Iron Age Hillfort of Barbury Castle (Grid Ref: SU151763).

The Ridgeway runs through the castle and then descends to a minor road, cross and continue to follow the Ridgeway along the track for 2.5km to reach a minor road (Grid Ref: SU129747).  Cross the road. To visit the site of the Hackpen White Horse go through a gate on the right.  The route continues along the Ridgeway for 2km to reach the Berwick Bassett Down Dewpond (Grid Ref: SU126729).  There is a junction of paths here, but stay with the Ridgeway for a further 1.5km to reach a gate on the left leading to open access land which is littered with Sarsen Stones, known as Grey Wethers (Grid Ref: SU 127715).  

Cross the access land in a south easterly direction towards the edge of Delling Copse (Grid Ref: SU133713) and then cross another access area to reach Dellling.  Here continue south east to Wroughton Copse (Grid Ref: SU138711).  How head east initially along the fence line and then across a field for 860 metres.  At a copse near gallops turn right and head south across Fyfield Down (Grid Ref:SU146709).

The path is unclear but keep south, heading towards a copse and then onto access land.  Here on reaching a track turn left heading south east (Grid Ref: SU146701).  After 500 metres at a gate leave the access land to follow a path which soon leads by Devil’s Den burial chamber (Grid Ref: SU152697).  Now continue along a track through Clatford Bottom towards the A4 (Grid Ref: SU156688).

Cross this busy main road with care and continue south to pass Clatford Hall.  At a junction of paths turn left and head east (Grid Ref: SU158685).  After 200 metres at a crossroads go straight over to join Manton Road.  Follow this lane into the village passing the village school and the Oddfellows Arms, then turn right into Preshute Lane (Grid Ref: SU173686).  

Now follow Preshute Lane to reach the junction to the path to St George’s church here turn right following a footpath past the sports ground of Marlborough College.  On reaching a junction with the Wansdyke Path turn left and walk along the top of Granham Hill (Grid Ref: SU180680)

As the Wansdyke Path nears the A345 follow a path downhill to reach a gate (Grid Ref: SU187685).  To view the Marlborough White Horse turn left here for 350 metres. The route turns right to reach the A345. Cross and then walk along George Lane and then turn into Figgins Lane to return to the starting point in the car park.

Toilets:
There are public toilets at Barbury Castle and in Marlborough at the Town Hall and George Lane car park. 
Toilets are available in the pubs and cafes on this route during opening hours.

Refreshments:
Marlborough: There are a wide range of pubs, cafes and shops in the town serving refreshments.
Manton: The Oddfellows Arms

To download GPX and print map click “Learn More” below:

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 this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL157 Marlborough & Savernake

© 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.  To the best of my knowledge the routes are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access. 
Walking can be hazardous and is done entirely at your own risk.  It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.