Downton to Bath, the English Story
Highclere to BathIt is a surprise to most visitors that a region so close to the capital city of such a crowded island can offer so much space to breathe. Yet, enveloping the busy road, rail and waterway corridor between London and Bristol, lies country side that has changed little for a millennium. Beneath the con trails of London’s crammed airways, a pale winter sun casts long shadows as the walker sets out over ancient chalk downs. So where will this tour take you? First to Newbury, a modern, bustling county town, which is home to London commuters and locals alike. However, step out of your comfortable inn and you find a market square paved with cobblestones, a Victorian Gothic style town hall and, below street level, a canal system in a miniature world of low bridges and tidy lock gates. Your day’s hiking includes a visit to Highclere Park, better known to many as “Downton Abbey”. Stop at a country pub before the relaxed hike back to your hotel for, tomorrow, you will hike Savernake Forest, the playground of Kings: William the Conqueror would still recognise it were he to stroll through it today. Next is the market town of Marlborough, where your hotel is tucked into the second widest High Street in Britain. Shops, pubs and cafes seem wedged between the Town Hall at one end and St Peter’s Church at the other, like books between book ends. There are two day’s walking from this centre; one will lead you past race horse training centres where the “Gallops” flank the route to the massive earth works of the Iron Age Barbury castle, the next takes in the archeological gem of Avebury, with its standing stone circles, manor house and church, on the way to Oldbury Castle, a second Iron Age fort but with the White Horse of Cherhill and Landsdowne Obelisk. Wind burnt in winter, this site is ideal for a summer picnic amongst the wild flowers and bird life. Lastly, Bath, a city that is also a UNESCO listed World Heritage Centre. Arriving by local train is the best way because, for all this City is, it is not car friendly. Your welcoming boutique hotel is secreted away in a tranquil corner, the neighbouring street is called “Quiet Street” for good reason, only minutes from the major attractions – the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey Cathedral, the Royal Crescent, Jane Austen Centre. The list is endless, just drop in to the excellent Information Centre. Yes, there are good walks too, from a 40 minutes “Bath Taster Walk” to a three hour “Bath Skyline Walk” …… or perhaps just use the time as you wish. Bath is simply superb, go see for yourself. If you like…. – summer walking with a day pack, light rain gear & sturdy shoes – traditional British inns & family hotels – enjoying time with family or friends, entirely to your own schedule ….you do? Then I think you will enjoy this tour. [caption id="attachment_19056" align="alignleft" width="120"] Smallcombe Chapel[/caption] [caption id="attachment_19057" align="alignleft" width="120"] No1 Royal Crescent[/caption] [caption id="attachment_19058" align="alignleft" width="120"] Avebury Church[/caption] [caption id="attachment_19059" align="alignleft" width="120"] Cemetery, Marlborough Downs[/caption] Lovely trip, thank you MacsAdventure,
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