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.
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.
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.
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.
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.