Thatched roofs, cottage gardens and village pubs!

The protected landscape of the North Wessex Downs includes its picture-perfect villages.  Villages such as East Hendred in Oxfordshire, Vernham Dean in Hampshire, Wilton and Ramsbury in Wiltshire and Boxford and Hampstead Norreys in Berkshire have achingly pretty cottages, charming gardens, welcoming public houses and interesting histories.

The local character of villages are a product of the landscape themselves.  For example, the chalk geology with high infertile downland leading to protected valleys and chalk streams have influenced the location of many settlements down in the valley bottoms.  The attractive variety of building styles across the AONB reflects the diversity of materials available including chalk, flint, sarsen and clay for brick and tile making.  You can read more about the link between architecture and local geology in our leaflet, Diversity in Stone.

These villages make great starting points for exploring the countryside on foot – for example you can visit our walking routes page for circular routes from Ramsbury, East Garston and Bishops Cannings.   We plan to add more routes to our website in the future so why not sign up to our newsletter for information on new routes as we produce them?

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    Feature Image: The Knapp, Ramsbury Credit: Rowan Whimster. Newsletter Image: Bedwyn cottages Credit: Stan Green