Wiltshire Walks: 10 Best Walks in Wiltshire

Growing up in Wiltshire, I have had the opportunity to explore the vast countryside adoring our county. Much of my childhood was spent walking around our town, the canal path, and often Lacock (where some of Harry Potter was filmed). Walking around Lacock in the warm weather or for the Scarescrow Trail was common growing up. Walks in Wiltshire allow you to appreciate nature’s fineness – the still and quiet of nowhere. Having a dog meant we also explored new places for dog walking too.

Wiltshire doesn’t often seem a popular county for tourists, other than the very famous Salisbury for Stonehenge, but there are countless areas to explore. It is a refreshing, quiet, picturesque walk. While some of the walks mentioned below are National Trust places and, therefore, not free, I have included a variety of walks to cater to different abilities, and all of the below are suitable for dog walks in Wiltshire too.

1. Stonehenge King’s View Circular Walk

Stonehenge is an iconic prehistoric monument and one of the main reasons people visit Wiltshire. The monument was built in several stages, with the first monument built about 5000 years ago, and the unique circle was created around 2500 BC. Not only is it a World Heritage Site, with the National Trust preserving and restoring it, but the area in Salisbury offers an ideal picturesque walk in Wiltshire for tourists.

One of the best walks in Wiltshire that involves seeing Stonehenge is the King’s View circular walk, which explores the chalk downland at the heart of this World Heritage Site. This walk is dog friendly and takes around 2 hours to complete. Starting and finishing at Stonehenge, this walk takes you past burial mounds, ceremonial pathways, and beautiful views and wildlife. This walk will show you the beauty of the Wiltshire countryside, and Stonehenge is worth visiting at least once in your life. We’ve got a whole guide on visiting Stonehenge that you can check out here.

2. Avebury Ridgeway Walk

Avebury is a village in Wiltshire home to the famous Neolithic henge monument of the three stone circles. Often overlooked because of the popularity of Stonehenge, Avebury is equally as breathtaking and is still one of the best walks in Wiltshire. Avebury stones are surrounded by a vast sacred landscape explored on the Ridgeway walk.

If you start at the heart of the World Heritage and National Trust Site, you can follow the route which will take you through the remains of Avebury (officially the largest stone circle in the world) and along West Kennet Avenue into gorgeous rolling chalk downland. Here you can catch glimpses of the prehistoric Silbury Hill, pass Bronze Age burial mounds, and relax along ancient roads. Given its location, there are plenty of extensive views across the landscape. If you visit during the summer, I’d recommend bringing a picnic to enjoy halfway while taking in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.

3. Stourhead

My favourite National Trust place, Stourhead is one of the most exciting walks in Wiltshire, taking you through beautiful countryside and woodlands. You also get to walk past a manor house and historical monuments. It’s the perfect place for families to enjoy a long walk or hike around historic buildings. And once you’ve finished walking, you can enjoy the cafe and picnic spots by the lake. Down the road is King Alfred’s tower, which you can climb to the top to look at the beautiful view of Wiltshire (although, it must be noted that there are many, many stairs to get up there).

If you start at the National Trust entrance (£19 for adults), you can walk through the garden and lake area, which allows you to follow a circular route around the lake, through the woods, and across a bridge. If you want to see Stourhead House, you can divert down a clearly sign-posted path to explore this area. Going to Stourhead during spring or summer is the best time to go on this Wiltshire walk, as this is when the flowers are blooming, and the greenery and views are ripe with vibrancy.

4. Lacock

My hometown is a five-minute drive from Lacock, so I have enjoyed many walks around the village. While Lacock village is small, there is a quaint park there, cafes and pubs to enjoy, and some countryside for longer walks. There is no set route for walking around Lacock; just walking round its cobbled streets and over bridges and around the houses will enable you to take in the cute, friendly village.

They have a yearly scarecrow trail which is always worth a visit. Visiting on a sunny day is also recommended, as this way, you can bring along a picnic to enjoy in the park, and there’s always an ice cream van outside Lacock Abbey in good weather. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, I recommend you take a tour around Lacock Abbey as this is one of the UK’s iconic Harry Potter filming locations; the interiors were used as the interiors of Hogwarts School. 

5. Avoncliff – Bradford-on-Avon

This walk is a personal favourite of mine. While this walk in Wiltshire is less known by tourists than locals to the area, it’s no less worth the time to complete it. Avoncliff is a small village just next to Bradford-on-Avon and lies on the Kennet and Avon canal and River Avon. You can begin your walk either at the top of Avoncliff by the train station or in Bradford-on-Avon and walk into Avoncliff. I like to walk from Avoncliff into Bradford-on-Avon, sit in the park for a picnic, and then walk back. Walking along the canal is the best route and the most picturesque as you can see over the canal on one side and the hilly countryside on the other.

You can walk from Avoncliff into Bath too. This is a longer route, but those up for a challenge should consider this walk. An outside cafe in Avoncliff and a pub are both perfect for a refreshing drink and slice of cake after a trek. It is one of the best walks in Wiltshire for underrated hiking.

6. Caen Hill Locks 

Caen Hill is one of the country’s longest continuous flights of locks, with 29 locks going up a steady hill along the Kennet and Avon Canal between Rowde and Devises. Walking up Caen Hill offers a picturesque Wiltshire walk that is much-loved by locals. The higher you get up, the more countryside views you can see. It is usually peaceful along the walk, with the occasional cyclists.

This is also a great dog walk in Wiltshire; my dog loves doing canal walks, and this walk is lengthy enough to tire both them and you out without being too strenuous. I’d recommend visiting Caen Hill Cafe on your walk, too; the cakes are giant and to die for, and all their food and drinks are on the cheaper side.

7. Shearwater Lake

Shearwater is a freshwater lake near Crockerton Village, not far from Warminster and Longleat. The best thing about this Wiltshire walk is that you can do a circular walk along the footpath around the lake, which is around 3-4 miles. Perfect for dog walking, too. The woodland areas are all safe, and you can take in the beauty of the lake and abundant wildlife. With a cafe near the start/end of the walk and lots of benches dotted around, there are plenty of spaces for picnics and pit stops. Shearwater Lake is one of the most scenic days out and walks in Wiltshire.

If you are into fishing, this is also a popular spot for fisherfolk and Sunday Club sailors. Horseriders and cyclists can also be found around the footpath. Shearwater is also just a short distance from Heaven’s Gate, a hill opening with wonderful views over the Longleat Estate and the surrounding Wiltshire countryside.

8. Box Hill

Box Hill is located in Box Village, close to Corsham. Secluded on a hill overlooking the beautiful historical city of Bath, this area is a perfect example of the picturesque views that Wiltshire walks offer. And in fact, it is home to some of the most famous walks in Wiltshire.

There are plenty of paths to take around the area, including near Box Hill Common and Box Woods. There are miles of underground mines around here, too; the woods used to have access to the bunker. However, it has been closed off due to too many people finding ways to explore the secret labyrinth. But you can still see evidence of the mines through the woods at the top of the hill.

After your walk, visit Quarrymans Arms. This traditional country pub has a great range of cold drinks and overlooks the rolling hills and Bath in the distance.

9. Castle Combe

Surrounded by the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Nature Beauty, Castle Combe has plenty of calming walks and beautiful village streets. Castle Combe is a popular film location, including the original Dr Doolittle film. With its rich history, you’ll find houses made of honey-coloured Cotswold stone, typical for a village in this area. A stream runs through the village, which is worth exploring. You can make your walk here either short or long as the village is small, but if you make your way up through the woodland surrounding it, you can turn your walk into an entire afternoon out.  

For Cotswold surroundings and a ‘English village’ aesthetic, Castle Combe is one of the best places for Wiltshire walks.

10. Savernake Forest

Just south of Marlborough, Savernake Forest is rich in history and has plenty to explore. It is a beautiful forest for long walks through the woodlands, especially for children and families. It also gives ample opportunity to get lost and find your way around on its labyrinth of zigzagging forest trails. There is a campsite in the forest too if you want to spend the night here.

The Forestry Commission manages the forest and is a Special Site of Scientific Interest. For forest trails and camping adventures, Savernake Forest is one of the best walks in Wiltshire.

Conclusion: Top Walks in Wiltshire

Having grown up in Wiltshire, I firmly believe this county is worth visiting. Wiltshire has many National Trusts and famous historical places to explore. These walks in Wiltshire show the county’s variety, from forests, woodlands, lakes, and villages. Wiltshire walks offer something for everyone, and I recommend trying out these walks for yourself to see the beauty of the peaceful Wiltshire countryside.

By Cara-Louise Scott

Cara-Louise Scott is a UoB graduate now living as a hotel waitress in London. She has a passion for writing about all things travel, food, and mental health. She will be studying her part-time NCTJ course in autumn to become a qualified journalist.

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