A leisurely wildlife and landscape walk from the village of Calstone Wellington along the valley of the River Marden to its source in Ranscombe Bottom.

As we walk, we take in Calstone and Cherhill Downs, a special chalk downland habitat managed by the National Trust and maintained by conservation grazing. In June, the downs support myriad species of butterflies, moths and farmland birds (such as skylark, yellowhammer, corn bunting, stonechat), which we may be lucky enough to see. There are also chalk downland flowers, with excellent displays of wild common spotted, fragrant and pyramidal orchids.

We can follow Ranscombe Bottom or venture into the side combes to look for the flowers and butterflies.

There will be a handout with information on what we should see. If the gates are locked, we will need to cross a couple of stiles. Walkers are welcome to stop and picnic in the combes towards the end of the walk as it is easy to find the way back to the meeting point.

Walk leader/organisation: Judy Hible, North West Wiltshire Ramblers

Walk information

  • Booking: Free – Booking essential – 15 places
  • Distance & approximate duration: 3.75 miles (6 km) – 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Fairly easy (some gentle inclines, possible steps/stiles).
  • Accessibility: Suitable for older children (7+). Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult (see useful information). Not suitable for wheelchairs or prams/pushchairs. Steps/stiles on the route.
  • Dogs: No dogs.
  • Refreshments: Bring snacks and drinks as needed. There are no places to purchase refreshments on the route (see below). Walkers are welcome to stop and picnic in the combes towards the end of the walk.
  • Toilets: There are no toilets on the route (see below).
  • Meeting point: South Farm, Calstone Wellington, SN11 8PZ. What3Words: talked.torches.blush. OS grid reference: SU 031 684. Google Maps.
  • Public Transport: None available.
  • Parking: Free private parking for the event only at South Farm, Calstone Wellington, SN11 8PZ.

For general booking information, health and safety advice, terms and conditions please see our useful information page.

Further information

For refreshments and toilets, the Black Horse Inn and The Dandy Highwayman Coffee Shop are about 5 minutes’ drive from the walk meeting point in the village of Cherhill.

For information on Calstone and Cherhill Downs, see Calstone and Cherhill Downs | National Trust.

For more information and other walks, see North West Wiltshire Ramblers.

For general information on the Ramblers and to find other groups and walks near you, see Ramblers.

This walk is brought to you by our partner:

North West Wiltshire Ramblers

Ranscombe Bottom © Rebecca Davies