Celebrating 50 years as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The North Wessex Downs became a protected landscape in 1972 – protected by law for the nation.  But for hundreds of years its natural beauty has inspired poets and painters, writers and wanderers.  We hope to inspire you with our selection of fifty things that are not-to-be-missed: places, experiences and wildlife which we think deserve a special mention.

Thank you to everybody who contributed to the selection process – particularly to members of the Council of Partners for their input.  Not everything made the cut – there is simply too much to choose from!

Please share your journey through the list via our social media channels using #northwessexdowns50 – we’d love to see your images and know what you think about our choice.

What would you have included?

You can also explore the locations included in our list of 50 Things on our Interactive Map.

Explore the very best of the North Wessex Downs:

Wittenham Clumps

The Clumps are the oldest known planted hilltop beeches in England.

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Basildon Park

An elegant 18th century Palladian mansion managed by the National Trust set in beautiful grounds.

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Wilton Windmill

The only authentic working windmill in the entire AONB

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Crofton Pumping Station

This Grade I listed building houses two Cornish beam engines, one of which is the oldest working beam engine in the world

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Kennet and Avon Canal

Meandering for 87 miles and passing through beautiful, tranquil and unspoilt scenery.

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Savernake Forest

Believed to be over 1000 years old, Savernake Forest is one of the oldest woodlands in England.

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Horse Racing

Lambourn and its surroundings are second only to Newmarket in their importance as a centre of activity for the UK racing industry.

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Pewsey Downs National Nature Reserve

A stunning sweep of chalk downland with breathtaking views stretching across Pewsey Vale.

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Roundway Hill

The scene of a crushing Royalist victory in the English Civil War, Roundway Hill near Devizes is now a 68-acre nature reserve.

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