This is a very impressive 2 day walk that feels longer. Apart from the scenery, there are
several neolithic sites by which to ponder our origins. It is not (yet) waymarked, but the
paths are all good and a route is suggested below. There are undulations, but nothing too serious; walking over chalk plains can be quite fast.
Because the walk is not (yet) well-known, we found no choice of B&B at the end of day 1. The one at East
Chisenbury, and its associated pub, are more expensive than usual but the rooms
were more like a country house hotel, and the pub food was superb; the luxury of the
evening was a special reward after a long day's walking.
1. Walking days
This can be done in a week-end, but travel to Avebury the previous evening is essential.
We walked a long first day (15 miles), stayed at East
Chisenbury, and walked 12 miles the second day, arriving at Stonehenge in mid-afternoon.
2. Getting there & away
Train from London (Paddington) to Swindon: 55 minutes. Bus station is near train station;
number 49 bus to The Red Lion, Avebury: 25 minutes.
Stonehenge Tour bus to Salisbury (30 minutes), then train to London Waterloo: 1½ hours.
If you start at Stonehenge, the bus goes from the railway station but they won't sell you a
single ticket, and charge £13 for a return; for two people, a taxi is a bit cheaper.
An alternative is to take a regular bus to Amesbury and walk, but Stonehenge then requires a
detour from your general northerly direction.
3. Leaflet, Maps
The most useful site is The Friends of the Ridgeway.
It contains route suggestions, and a leaflet for the southern section.
The site directly about the walk is The Great Stones Way.
It has nice photos, but no practical information as the route seems to have got bogged
down in bureaucracy. There are very few waymarks. However the paths exist, and are not
hard to follow. Places on the maps that correspond to our route are listed below.
Ordnance Survey maps 157 & 130 are both necessary. Surprisingly, we noticed a few errors
in both, but nothing serious.
4. The Route
Previous night: B&B Avebury Life (double: £65)
Day 1: Avebury to East Chisenbury (15 miles)
(OS 157) Avebury - down river Kennet to Pan Bridge - side trip to West Kennet Long Barrow - East Kennet - Red Shore -
Adam's Grave - Alton Barnes - Saw Mill - along Kennet & Avon canal, R to Church Farm - (OS 130) Woodborough
- Pub (Seven Stars, closed for lunch Mon & Tue) - Cuttenham Farm - Charlton Clumps
- Casterley Camp - L at sign saying 'Ridgeway' to West Chisenbury Farm - down to road, and
R to find the proper footbridge to cross to East Chisenbury (we crossed on an
improper one - see photos page). The path marked on the map is hard to find, it's right-ish where the main track
If you are going the other way, keep counting the paths off Salisbury Plain, it's easy to overshoot (we did).
B&B Troutbeck Guest House (double £120) is part of the Red Lion Free House.
Day 2: East Chisenbury to Stonehenge (12 miles).
East Chisenbury - Fifield - Netheravon - Figheldean - Ablington Farm - Tank Crossing
- across road and soon left - Durrington Walls - Long Barrow - The Avenue - Stonehenge
As of 2014, the Visitor Centre is now a mile west of Stonehenge, but if you walk to the north of it there is a path
along the Cursus, swinging left to the road and round to the left of the Centre.
5. A shorter version (no Stonehenge): Pewsey station to Avebury; stay and return next day
Pewsey station is only an hour out of London Paddington. The walk is about 10 miles each way, and there are no facilities, the rolling
Wiltshire countryside is empty. (However, the roads are quite busy.) The route we took was:
Day 1: From the station walk up the A345, turn right at the canal, then left on to the White Horse Trail. Go through
Oare (the pub is shut) and up onto Huish Hill (there's a lovely bench for lunch near the top). Then go left, keeping high, all the way
to the car park below Knap Hill. Then take the big trail north to East Kennett, going along roads to the B4003, where you can
approach Avebury through the inspiring Stones Avenue. These are all proper paths but signage is not always helpful.
Day 2: Leave Avebury at the path by New Bridge, go past Silbury Hill and on to the West Kennett Long Barrow. Retrace
your steps, then follow the White Horse Trail down to the hills, the White Horse (you walk above it) and Adam's Grave. Then
on and down to Honeystreet, where turn left along the canal; a few gentle miles later you meet the A345 again. Signage and map reading much easier than yesterday.