The North Wessex Downs Walking Festival 2024
31 May – 9 June

Welcome to our fourth annual Walking Festival!

STOP PRESS! (10 April 2024) Our events are booking up fast and some are now full. However, there are still plenty of events with spaces available for you to choose from.  

With 29 events on offer across the North Wessex Downs our festival is a celebration of the stunning landscapes, glorious scenery and top-class walking country that this National Landscape has to offer.

We have opportunities for you to seek out wildlife, history or culture, picnic with the family or simply soak up the views from the top of the downs.  And this year there are even more farm walks on offer where you can hear directly from the farmers or land managers about their work.

Most of our walks are free.  But all events must be booked in advance.
(If an event is booked up you can join a waiting list.)

Join our knowledgeable and welcoming guides and explore more as they lead you to some of their favourite places in the North Wessex Downs.

We would like to take this opportunity to express how grateful we are to all our partners who organise and lead walks, without whom this festival simply would not be possible.

All walks are listed below. Either scroll through the list or view all events on the map.  You can search for events by length, by date, accessibility or whether they are on a bus or train route.  A copy of our printed programme leaflet can be downloaded here.

We look forward to seeing you!

Filter Walks:

Exploring the Watership Down Trail

Tuesday 4th Jun 2024  |  6-7 miles  |  10.00am  |  Free

Explore part of the recently established Watership Down Trail. See some of the beautiful Hampshire countryside where Richard Adams’ much-loved novel, Watership Down, was set. There is an optional detour for fabulous views from the ridge at Ladle Hill.

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The Historic Ridgeway

Tuesday 4th Jun 2024  |  4 miles  |  4.00pm  |  Free

A walk around a selection of sites along The Ridgeway, illustrating the evolution of the landscape and land use through time, and the archaeological footprint of people from the early prehistoric period to the Cold War.

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Hippenscombe Bottom and Fosbury Hillfort

Wednesday 5th Jun 2024  |  4 miles  |  10.00am  |  Free

An invigorating walk up to Fosbury Iron Age Hillfort above Hippenscombe Estate to enjoy the far-reaching views over the North Wessex Downs and learn about the settlement. We will see chalk grassland restoration as we walk, returning through private farmland, stopping to look at soils, and discuss farming practices and diversification.

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Morgan’s Hill nature walk

Wednesday 5th Jun 2024  |  5 miles  |  11.00am  |  Free

Join the North West Wiltshire Ramblers for a lovely walk through Morgan’s Hill Nature Reserve – a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its orchids, butterflies and chalk grassland. We will spend time exploring the wildlife and taking in the incredible views of Cherhill Down and the plains of North Wiltshire.

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Bucklebury Common – history and natural history

Wednesday 5th Jun 2024  |  4 miles  |  3.00pm  |  Free

A gentle walk through the woodland and heathland of Bucklebury Common. Led by Alex Cruickshank, a local ecologist who is working with The Bucklebury Estate to manage and restore the common.

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The Road Less Travelled: exploring lesser-known sites in the Avebury landscape

Wednesday 5th Jun 2024  |  4 miles  |  6.00pm  |  Free

Explore the wider landscape of Avebury World Heritage Site with staff from Wiltshire Council Archaeology Service who will discuss some lesser-known sites and monuments, including the Beckhampton Long Mound, the Adam and Eve stones and Knoll Down.

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Chalk grassland restoration in the Goring Gap

Thursday 6th Jun 2024  |  3 miles  |  10.00am  |  Free

The Goring Gap is where the Thames River cuts through the ridge of chalk. Taking in the views across the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs National Landscapes, we’ll visit a farm restoring prime chalk grassland. Along the way, we’ll learn about the natural heritage of this chalk landscape and enjoy the flowers and butterflies it supports.

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Peace in Peasemore – a walk for women

Thursday 6th Jun 2024  |  3.8 miles  |  10.15am  |  Free

A leisurely walk for women only. Women of any faith or no faith are most welcome! It will be a walk to feel uplifted by being in the great outdoors and by walking with others. We especially welcome those who feel socially isolated. Please do join us!

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Savernake Forest family walk

Thursday 6th Jun 2024  |  1.5 miles  |  4.00pm  |  Free

Join Community Ranger Sian for a short walk and fun facts about the trees in Savernake Forest. The walk itself will be 1.5 miles and the trail will be flat and pram-friendly, with plenty of stops for little legs to catch up, and some great nature-based activities.

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Forestry and veteran trees of Savernake Forest

Thursday 6th Jun 2024  |  2 miles  |  6.00pm  |  Free

Join Forestry England to explore the wonderful woodlands of Savernake! This guided walk takes you behind the scenes to learn about how the forest’s unique landscapes and habitats are being looked after, and introduces you to Savernake’s important role in producing sustainable timber.

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Image credits (in order of walk date): Cocklebury Farm; Susie Brew/Pewsey Vale Tourism Partnership; Rebecca Davies; RAF Welford Museum; Creative Commons; Action for River Kennet; Jacky Akam; Jacky Akam; Jacky Akam; Mark Clinch; Charmaine Hoey; Dan Bashford/Historic England; Jemima Sellwood; Judy Hible; Katherine Cook; Claire Selman; Dave Olinski; Sarah Ahmed; Heather Lilley/Forestry England; Jacky Akam; Jackie Browne; Henry Oliver; Henry Oliver; Youth Adventure Trust; Judy Haynes; Richard Gearey; Ann Shepley; Ann Shepley; Philippa Sanders.