customers have a passion for the open countryside, hills and dales, beautiful landscapes and wildlife. Now that exercise restrictions are being gradually relaxed, we can get back to walking and appreciating our local areas. We’ll be bringing you blogs on walks that you can enjoy while social distancing. The first is Castle Combe to Ford in Wiltshire.
Located west of Chippenham, this walk takes you from Castle Combe to Ford and back. It’s just under 5 miles long with a mixture of woodland, meadows and the beautiful village of Castle Combe, known for being described as the most beautiful village in England. Along the route there are incredible views as the route climbs to ridges and descends into valleys. Part of the walk is along the Macmillan Way Long-Distance Footpath that links Boston in Lincolnshire with Abbotsbury in Dorset. The Macmillan Way is promoted to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Relief charity.
Spring is the perfect time to walk from Castle Combe to Ford. The trees are resplendent with their green foliage, and the wildflowers are in full bloom. Meanwhile, an unrivalled display of wild garlic can be found in the shaded woods.
Castle Combe sits in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north west Wiltshire. The original castle to the north of the village was demolished when it was no longer needed to defend the area, and
the stone was used to build the village houses. Castle Combe became known for weaving high quality wool, and evidence of this cottage industry can be found throughout the village. House names include courthouse, reading room (library), school and so on, and the Market Cross in the village centre was used to trade wool.
Eventually, Castle Combe couldn’t compete with the large weaving machines of the industrial revolution so production there was wiped out almost overnight. In the early 1050s a booming tourism industry discovered Castle Combe’s charms, prompting its reputation as England’s prettiest village, with its houses of honey coloured Cotswold stone. Today there is a ban on parking in the main street, so that photos can be taken of the cottages without unsightly parked cars in front of them!
The village is a popular film location, with the original Dr Doolittle film, The Wolf Man, Stardust and Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse all being filmed there. The TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was filmed in Castle Combe, and it is thought that the village may have been the inspiration behind the novel.
There are a couple of pubs in the village, and plenty of cafes and restaurants for walkers to use at the beginning or end of their Castle Combe to Ford walk.
Castle Combe to Ford walk route
Starting out from the free car park north of the village, take a right and walk downhill. At the Market Cross turn left and walk down The Street to cross a packhorse bridge. Take the path running to the left, signed for Long Dean.
Go over a stile and follow the path alongside and above the brook. Views will open up as you climb higher, before cutting through woodland and climbing several stone stiles. At Long Dean you will reach a junction of paths and a lane where you should turn right onto a bridleway signposted to Ford. The main path will take you to a mill where you should pick up a path to the right under trees.
You’ll see The Macmillan Way marker as you go through a gate. Keep on the upper path above a paddock, and when the track goes right, turn left over a stile. Follow the path through a field and climb a stile to the road to walk left towards Ford.
At the main road take a right, and then another right along Park Lane, following a track past Church Farm House and some cottages. Turn left at a new build property in Cotswold stone. Go through a wooden stile and carry on into a wooded avenue which will lead to an open meadow called Danks Down. This is a botanically rich limestone grassland and area of Special Scientific Interest. Look out for marsh tits, green and great spotted woodpeckers, little owls and buzzards.
Carry on along the path and cross over a stream. Head right, uphill on a clear track. At this point you’ll start to see some stunning views open up over the valley to your left side. Carry on following the fence to pick up a path following the curve, keeping to the lower path. Walk along a grassy bank above the trees before climbing a stile and following the path as it passes through the trees.
When you reach a road, stay on the parallel path. After 30 meters, turn right over a stile and cross the road. Ignore the stile opposite, instead walk left up the road for a further 10 metres and take the next path right. After this, you’ll follow a footpath through trees. When you reach a Y-junction, turn right and follow the path down towards the road. Turn left to follow the road back to Castle Combe.
Get ready for walking with BCH Camping
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