This Wiltshire walk provides a way of visiting many of the interesting World Heritage Neolithic sites around the village of Avebury including the Stone Circle, Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow.
A Avebury walk
posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Last update : 04/08/16
(S/E) The walk can be reached by public transport using the regular bus service between Swindon and Marlborough. Alternatively there is a National Trust pay and display car park (grid ref. SU099696). Leave the car park and follow the signs to the village passing a section of the stone circle on your right. This path leads you onto the main street. If you want to visit the church then turn left, otherwise turn right and walk towards the main A4361 road. Cross the main road and continue straight ahead with further parts of the stone circle to your right and left.
(1) The lane passes Manor Farm (grid ref.SU110702) on your right and becomes a track. After rain this can be quite slippery and it is probably better to walk along the grass verges where a path is developing. The climb is steady and you soon have fine views over the countryside. Reaching the junction with the Ridgeway (grid ref. SU125708) turn sharp right. It is worth reading the information board here which details some interesting facts about Overton Down and its source of Sarsen Stones.
(2) The Ridgeway is one of the oldest thoroughfares in Britain and is a National Trail. Continuing gently downhill you will see a number of sites on your right where burial mounds have been covered in trees. Known locally as 'hedgehogs', these are a prominent feature of the landscape hereabouts. You will soon reach Overton Hill the Ridgeway's starting point, which ends 87 miles away at Ivinghoe Beacon in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns.
(3) Cross the main A4 with care. Sighting distance is thankfully good. On the right is the Sanctuary another of the many Neolithic sites in the area. Continue ahead on a descending path that leads down to a bridge over the River Kennett. Cross the bridge and continue into the village of East Kennett passing an impressive house on your right. At the end of the wall take the narrow footpath on the right that follows the wall and leads out onto a lane. Turn right and walk through the attractive village. Just before crossing the river, turn left down a track. Just after a junction where another less used lane goes left look out for a footpath on your right. There is a sign but it is hard to see.
(4) Take this footpath and, following the river which is to your right, continue across fields to reach a lane (grid ref SU109681). Go straight ahead over and continue on the path to reach a junction of paths (grid ref. SU104681). If you want to visit the West Kennett Long Barrow, which is remarkably intact, then walk left up the hill. Otherwise continue ahead to reach the A4 again.
(5) Cross straight over and continue on the footpath. To your left rises Silbury Castle which is completely man-made and dates from about 4750 years ago. It has been calculated that it took 500 men about 15 years to construct and is the largest structure of its kind in Europe. Access to hill is not possible so you have to be content to enjoy it from a distance. Soon after passing the Hill you are on the approach to Avebury. Cross the A4361 and opposite is the National Trust car park. There is pub, toilets and a National Trust café in the village - the first opportunity for refreshment since starting the walk(S/E).
S/E : km 0 - alt. 153 m - Car park
1 : km 1.37 - alt. 156 m - Manor farm
2 : km 2.91 - alt. 226 m - Turn sharp right
3 : km 5.78 - alt. 169 m - Cross the main A4
4 : km 7.19 - alt. 151 m - Turn right
5 : km 9.15 - alt. 149 m - Turn left to visit West Kennett Long Barrow
S/E : km 10.79 - alt. 153 m
This Wiltshire walk offers the opportunity to visit some of the world's finest Neolithic monuments in the vicinity together with an invigorating section of the Ridgeway, which is one the oldest 'roads' in Britain. Avebury can get very busy on fine days and if you wish to explore the stone circle in the centre of the village without too many people then an early start is recommended.
Always stay careful and alert while following a route. Visorando and the author of this walk cannot be held responsible in the event of an accident during this route.
Date of walk: 27/05/23 Clarity of route description: ★★★★★ Very good Clarity of route map: ★★★★★ Very good Walk interest: ★★★★☆ Good
Enjoyable walk - and agree with Stephen Pickering's comment, after viewing Silsbury Hill, it's worth walking over Waden Hill and then along the Stone Avenue back into Avebury.
Or if you want a shorter walk (approx 2 miles), walk the route in reverse, from the NT car park, head along the footpath toward Silbury HIll, turn left after Silbury Hill, up over Waden Hill and then head back into Avebury along the Stone Avenue.
le Mon 15 Nov 2021 11:58:16 EST
5 / 5
Date of walk: 14/11/21 Clarity of route description: ★★★★★ Very good Clarity of route map: ★★★★★ Very good Walk interest: ★★★★★ Very good
Interesting walk though amazing history. Nice easy rout to follow
le Mon 06 Jul 2020 07:15:46 EDT
5 / 5
Date of walk: 01/07/20 Clarity of route description: ★★★★★ Very good Clarity of route map: ★★★★★ Very good Walk interest: ★★★★★ Very good
le Mon 25 May 2020 04:02:48 EDT
4.7 / 5
Date of walk: 24/05/20 Clarity of route description: ★★★★★ Very good Clarity of route map: ★★★★★ Very good Walk interest: ★★★★☆ Good
Nice walk around Avebury and Silbury Hill. It takes in part of the Ridgeway too. A good walk through classic English countryside.
le Mon 27 Jan 2020 04:32:15 EST
5 / 5
Date of walk: 26/01/20 Clarity of route description: ★★★★★ Very good Clarity of route map: ★★★★★ Very good Walk interest: ★★★★★ Very good
This is a walk that we have done before, but not for a while. It is a great circular walk starting and finishing in the village of Avebury, between Devizes and Swindon. We parked in the National Trust Car Park. The walk includes a nice section of the Ridgeway, past Fifield down and onto Overton Hill, which is the starting point for this old historic path. The views are superb when you 1st reach the Ridgeway from Avebury Village. After recent heavy rains, the path was a little muddy, but didn't hamper our enjoyment of the walk. It was nice to see some flood water in the source of the River Kennet, as in summer it can be dry. The village of West Kennett is very quaint with a variety of old cottages and a large impressive manor. The lane on the left after the village, but before the bridge over the river, was very wet and we had to stick to the edges to get past the huge puddles. In the past, we have found that the fields can be very soggy. If you stick to the path and not go through the fields, the path leads to the junction of paths referred to in the instructions (3,4). Silbury Hill is an amazing former fortress/castle and walking on grass as you pass the man made structure adds a slightly different feel to the walk. Follow this path and cross over the A4361 into the National Trust car park. If you have time, the Red Lion pub does great food and at reasonable prices for a tourist spot. We paid around £11.00 for a cracking and generous sunday lunch. If you built up a thirst, there are some cracking local ales and lagers, plus the obligatory Guinness of course :-)
le Mon 29 Jul 2019 03:53:39 EDT
5 / 5
Date of walk: 21/07/19 Clarity of route description: ★★★★★ Very good Clarity of route map: ★★★★★ Very good Walk interest: ★★★★★ Very good
An enormously interesting walk missing a couple of archaeological gems.
Walking down the Ridgeway I was surprised I could not see Silbury Hill, the reason being, it lies behind elongate The Waden hill. In the Neolithic Silbury Hill would have been gleaming white Chalk and to viewers walking south along the Ridgeway would appear to "walk" along the top of the Waden. You only see the entire Silbury Hill from the southern end of the Ridgeway.
After passing Silbury Hill walk over the crest of the Waden to reach the Avenue a ceremonial way leading to Avebury Causeway enclosure. Proceed along the Avenue then turn left at the road to return to the NT car park or straight on for the Avebury causewayed enclosure
le Mon 22 Oct 2018 14:36:38 EDT
5 / 5
Date of walk: 21/10/18 Clarity of route description: ★★★★★ Very good Clarity of route map: ★★★★★ Very good Walk interest: ★★★★★ Very good
This walk is good but in my opinion can be altered to be better. Instead of returning from the A361 all the way by the river, it is possible to take a path ton the right of the river path that takes you over Waden Hill and down to the end of the Avenue. Then walk back to Avebury through the Avenue. This path is not shown on the O.S. map but is easy to find.This makes the return more interesting.
le Mon 08 Jan 2018 08:13:18 EST
4.3 / 5
Date of walk: 06/01/18 Clarity of route description: ★★★★☆ Good Clarity of route map: ★★★★☆ Good Walk interest: ★★★★★ Very good
A very cold wind didn't dishearten us as we took in the Wiltshire countryside and its prehistoric offerings. Indeed, the cold kept the potentially sloppy mud in a usefully solid state. A very good walk.