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This wonderful southern county is the kind of place where you find yourself stopping every hundred yards to take another photograph. Walks in Wiltshire lead you through unbelievably pretty villages where weeping willows stand on riverbanks and ducks meander across the paths. You can explore endless woodlands or climb up above into the hills and, if you fancy it, you can even stop off at the world-famous Stonehenge.
A region of incredible beauty, you’re spoilt for choice when choosing hikes in Wiltshire. You can wander through the ancient woodlands of Cranborne Chase and roam the chalk hills of the North Wessex Downs. If you need a charming sandwich stop, you’ll find plenty of idling rivers with grassy banks and only birdsong for company.
It’s admittedly hard to know where to begin hiking in Wiltshire if it’s sheer, wondrous beauty you’re after. Frankly, wherever you go in this rural county you’ll enjoy fantastic trails and classic English countryside. Take a look at the routes and start exploring.
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While the county as a whole is disproportionately lovely, you’ll find some of the best hiking trails in Wiltshire within its Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In total, three fall partially within Wiltshire and the county also has a small corner of the New Forest National Park in the far south.
The North Wessex Downs and Cranborne Chase take up the most room and are filled with stunning hiking trails through old woodlands and across gentle hills. Endless rolling farmland is a common companion on walks in Wiltshire’s nature reserves and the chalk downlands come alive with wildflowers in spring.
A sliver of the Cotswolds is also within Wiltshire, offering you even more trails through quintessential English countryside, complete with stone houses and vibrant woodlands.
When you begin exploring hikes in Wiltshire, you’ll very quickly discover you’re walking through an ancient land. You don’t have a choice in the matter, this beautiful county is absolutely chock full of vestiges from times gone by.
Stonehenge is, without a doubt, the best known example in Wiltshire. It’s the cherry on top of an already impressive cake. This neolithic, giant stone circle has been intriguing archeologists for centuries and doesn’t stand alone. Trails in the Stonehenge area will also take you past ancient long barrows (burial mounds) and Woodhenge, a couple of miles to the north.
Wiltshire is also famed for its eight white horses. The majority of the county is sat on chalk and the white horses have been carved into hillsides, their chalk outlines vivid against the green grass. The horses aren’t very old compared to much of Wiltshire’s history, with the oldest dating from the 18th century, but they do add a unique angle to your explorations of the area.
Avebury, in the North Wessex Downs, is the site of another, much wider stone circle which surrounds most of the village. Trails in the Avebury area will take you alongside the River Kennet, across sweeping farmland and through peaceful forests. It’s hard to walk in Wiltshire without feeling its slightly other-worldly atmosphere and with history seeping out of every rock, you might well find yourself returning time and time again.
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Explore more of England: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.