The Starting Point…

Finding the start of this walk is easy- you’ll see the Lansdowne Monument from miles off and the track leading up to it is well marked. Parking is harder to find, there is virtually none.

Things Helen Loves, image of Lansdowne Monument, obelisk in Wiltshire

There’s a couple of lay-bys on the A4 directly opposite the path that begins the walk. If that is full, the next place to park is in the village of Cherhill itself. Use postcode SN11 8UT to get you there.

The Walking Bit…

Sturdy footwear essential to tackle the rough tracks and hilly terrain, but definitely worth the effort. This walk up to the Cherhill Downs has you walking up hills and through history. This walk includes a mega monument, the remains of a bronze age hill fort and one of the famous Wiltshire White Horses. That’s worth the effort, isn’t it?

Oh, views too. Fabulous views across the Wiltshire countryside.

Things-Helen-Loves Image of White Horse Way marker near Lansdowne Monument Cherhill, Wiltshire

The History Bit…

This little corner of Wiltshire is rich in history. Let’s begin with the star attraction; the Lansdowne monument. Built in 1845 by the 3rd Marquis of Lansdowne, the 38 metre stone obelisk was designed to be an eye catching tribute to one of his ancestors. It certainly is that.

The ancestor was Sir William Petty, and his back story tells us why he was a man worth whacking up a monument for. The son of a clothier, Petty came from fairly humble origins. After a stint at sea and a year spent in France, he went on to become an influential man in many fields and founding member of the Royal Society.

=

Economist, physician, scientist, philosopher. Not bad for a lad from Romsey, hey? On a side note, Romsey has produced lots of interesting folk and is well worth a visit. I wrote a blog post about my favourite Hampshire market town here.

The Lansdowne monument, curiously, is without inscription. Although listed for its historic importance and under the care of the National Trust, it was at the time of our visit partially covered with frame and netting and in need of repair.

Still an impressive Wiltshire monument and a lovely walk up to it.

The Lansdowne monument is a nice bit of history in itself, but it also stands on a site of great historical interest in its own right. Walking up to the monument, you’ll notice the ridges and ditches that form the landscape. This isn’t entirely natural. This is what remains of Oldbury Castle hillfort.

Things Helen Loves, image of black large dog on hills by National Trust sign. Oldbury Castle, Cherhill Down.

Bronze and Iron age people made these hill tops their home and you can still see traces of the ditches and banks they carved out to create an enclosed community. Archaeological finds here have included the remains of round houses and pottery. What remains today makes for a bracing walk and a great hillside canvas for…

A Wiltshire White Horse

The Cherhill White Horse is the second oldest of the eight remaining iconic hillside horses. This one dates back to the 1700’s and is best viewed as you walk up to the monument- look across the fields to the hillside on your left- or from one of the tracks above.

No pictures of my own of the Cherhill White Horse, thanks to a gloomy day and my poor camera skills. Have a look at some gorgeous images of it here instead.

Lovely as the hillside horse is- and Cherhill is one of my favourites- I would like to interrupt this broadcast to remind everyone there is also a fantastic Kiwi carved into a hillside in nearby Bulford, and that’s worth a mention/visit too.

Facilities?

Nope. None. It’s a nice wild walk. Bring a flask.

Dog Friendly Walk?

Yes, absolutely. The Wolf had a great time.

And A Little Extra…

This is the walk that keeps on giving.

Walk straight back down the track from the Lansdowne Monument and keep your eyes open as you wander along , heading away from Cherhill village. There’s a lovely, if slightly unloved looking, Victorian post box. A nice little find if, like me, you like letters and post boxes and that sort of thing.

Things Helen Loves, red Victorian post box with cipher VR near Lansdowne Monument, Cherhill, Wiltshire


If you liked this post you might also enjoy reading Wiltshire Walk:Black Dog Halt and Combe Gibbet and Ham Village

Helen x

18 thoughts

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit this. I see it often but when taking people on a tour of West Kennet and Avebury etc so never had the opportunity to stop off and see it personally. You can see it from miles around though and it looks suitably dramatic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a really dramatic monument, perched up there on the hillside. And all the more striking for the simplicity of it. I’ve never thought of that from a tour guides point of view- how frustrating to see things you’d like to pop and off and see when you have to stay in guide mode!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I do like a good post box! Stumbling upon that one was a lovely end to the walk, although I wish it was a little better cared for. I sometimes think it would be nice if old mail boxes could somehow be repurposed, like has been done with old phone boxes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely! We went to a couple of the Wiltshire white horses while we were staying last year – my mum thought they were genuinely made in the medieval times and was shattered when she learned they were 1800s for the most part and now concrete! But they’re still very striking and beautiful in the hillsides.

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    1. I’m with your mum, I was sure they must have been carved out in the mists of time and mystery… but not so much! They are fascinating and I love that they are preserved. I’d love to walk the White Horse Way if I ever have the time to do it. At 90-some miles though it’s quite an undertaking.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Since I live near our own Yorkshire White Horse near Kilburn, I think we should visit yours too. In fact we should visit Wiltshire. I simply don’t know it, and you are doing a fine job promoting it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, go and see it! I didn’t know there were any in Yorkshire. Thank you, that’s a lovely thing to say. I don’t think we’ll get extended here again so making the most of the time we have left!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We got into the habit of checking postboxes on our rural walks and were lucky to discover a Victorian one, too. Looks like a lovely walk even in poor weather and nothing beats a warm cup of tea during a hike.

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  5. I love to spot an old post box like that too! And what a great walk for views this is, even on a cloudy day. I’m always intrigued by those ancient ridges that speak of past habitation in these wild places.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m keen to do it again now the weather has cleared, I’m sure the views and pictures would be much improved! I’m in awe of the people who made this place home- it would be no small task now with modern technology!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very true. I guess the sense of security that came from living on a site from where you could spot possible trouble from miles away more than over-rode the challenges of building and living here.

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  6. Lansdowne caught my eye because we have a Lansdowne Chowk (roundabout) in my town and a sleepy cantonment up in the hills called Lansdowne in India. I have wonderful memories of my time there. Blogged about it too. So you can imagine how interesting it was for me to read about a familiar name. The carved horse was new. I hadn’t heard of them till now. Looks fascinating in the pictures. I truly enjoyed your walk, Helen.

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  7. I’ve just browsed through your blog. It’s lovely and brought back wonderful memories. My husband was a British Soldier. We spent four or five years in Worthy Down, which is close to Winchester. When we were first married we spent five years in Blandford in Dorset (I loved Dorset) and I worked in Salisbury. Your photos stunning and your blog lovely. Can’t wait to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thank you so much, that comment really made me smile! We love this part of the world, managed to extend our posting here by a year so trying to make the most of it. Winchester is lovely, army life isn’t always a bed of roses but it does open the door to all sorts of nice places. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, appreciated.

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