#1 of 1 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Berkshire

Best trails in North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

1,132 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Berkshire? AllTrails has 100 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Just looking to take a quick stroll? We've got 49 easy trails in North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ranging from 2.1 to 32.8 km and from 41 to 290 meters above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty takes the form of a horseshoe and is part of the Southern England Chalk Formation. The highest points in the area are Walbury Hill which stands at 297 m (974 ft) and the Milk Hill-Tan Hill plateau, at 295 m (968 ft) above sea level. Horse Racing is very popular in this area and the park is home to many racing stables. Visitors can enjoy paths for hiking, walking, cycling and horseback riding.

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Map of trails in North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Park information
Area:
173,000 hectares
Park hours
Monday
All day
Tuesday
All day
Wednesday
All day
Thursday
All day
Friday
All day
Saturday
All day
Sunday
All day
Contact
+44 1488 685440
Helpful links
Top trails (100)
#1 - Thames Path National Trail: Goring to Shillingford
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 15.4 km • Est. 4 h 30 m
This walk starts at a significant point in the course of the River Thames, the Goring Gap, dividing the Chilterns to the north and the Berkshire Downs to the south. As if to mark this, there's a magnificent lock at the start, which can be viewed from above using the bridge across the river. From there, the walk heads towards the town of Wallingford via a short diversion away from the river, after which you cross over the water at a weir with white water hurtling beneath your feet. The route ends at Shillingford, with its impressive bridge, at a hotel, where you can take tea to celebrate your achievement, or something stronger if required! This is a linear walk covering around ten miles, with places to park a car at either end. Allow the best part of a day to complete, especially if you are shuffling cars. Apart from the single detour, which is largely on pavement, the walk follows the course of the river and the Thames Path National Trail, and as such is easy to follow and is relatively easy. There are a couple of watering holes along the way, but a picnic or Thermos might be a good idea.Show more
#2 - Ashmansworth, Pilot Hill and Faccombe Circular
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 9.5 km • Est. 3 h 1 m
A fairly challenging circular walk through the chalk hills of the Hampshire Downs taking in the villages of Ashmansworth and Faccombe. The route follows ancient lanes and tracks through the rolling hills of farmland and woodland and crosses Pilot Hill, the highest point in Hampshire. The walk is really all about the spectacular expansive views which reach far to the north over Berkshire and Oxfordshire and south across the heart of Hampshire. The walk includes many climbs and descents throughout, a couple of which are quite steep. For the most part the walk follows ancient tracks but there are a couple of sections along quiet country lanes so take care of traffic at these points. Some of the chalk paths can become muddy and slippery when wet. You will need to negotiate two stiles; these are quite low but enclosed with wire fencing so dogs would need to hop over or be lifted. Most of the surrounding farmland is arable but you will cross one sheep pasture and there are other grazing sections to the sides of the tracks enclosed with electric fencing so take care with children and dogs. Allow 3 hours. Show more
#3 - The Ridgeway
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 136.5 km • Est. Multi-day
This is the oldest long distance pathway in Britain. People have been traversing this route for thousands of years. In the mid-1900s, the British government decided to make it an official walking path. The path is opened to bicyclists and horseback riders as well. The path passes numerous historic sites including churches, castles, and manors. The path itself includes bridle paths, dirt roads, and some sections of paved roads. A majority of the route is closed to motorized vehicles.Show more
#4 - Donnington Castle and Snelsmore Common Walk
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 5.8 km • Est. 1 h 43 m
This is a circular walk including the remains of Donnington Castle, woodland and the easy tranquil paths of Snelsmore Common. There are no stiles on this walk and although there are a couple of fairly steep inclines the walk is suitable for all ages. Please note however it would be tricky to navigate some of the woodland with a pushchair. Snelsmore Common houses grazing cattle and ponies, although these tend to be around the edges of the common, so please be careful with dogs as you enter the common. Show more
#5 - Vale of Pewsey and the Giant's Grave
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 7.9 km • Est. 2 h 48 m
This circular walk begins at Pewsey Wharf in Wiltshire. This particularly rewarding walk begins with a peaceful stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal, before climbing gradually and then more steeply to reach Oare Hill within the Marlborough Downs. Here you will find the Giant's Grave, an ancient burial long barrow with a charming local legend. The views are spectacular so try to time your walk for a clear day. The return leg descends through arable fields to rejoin the canal for the final stretch. The walk includes one gradual and then fairly stiff climb to the summit of Oare Hill and then the equivalent descent. Whilst most of the towpath is surfaced, the rest of the paths are all unmade and some sections (particularly towards the end) can be very deep with mud after rain and in winter so good waterproof boots are a must. The top of the ridge is very exposed so make sure you have appropriate clothing. There are two gates plus four stiles on route (all of which have areas of open fence alongside which most dogs should be able to negotiate). The fields are all arable so you are unlikely to come across livestock. There is a cafe in the car park at the start of the walk. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours. Show more
#6 - Avebury's World Heritage Trail
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 9.0 km • Est. 2 h 55 m
This loop begins from the pre-historically important village of Avebury in Wiltshire. The area is heavily populated with prehistoric sites which appear on the World Heritage List and you will be able to see many of these up close and also have chance to explore a couple: the Avebury Stone Circles and the West Kennet Long Barrow. The walk has several steady but long climbs and descents and the paths, whilst good for most of the year, can be quite muddy after wet weather and in winter. There are several gates plus five stiles (all with open fencing making them easy for most dogs) and some of the fields are likely to be holding sheep and/or cattle. Approximate time 2.5 to 3 hours. Show more
#7 - Ramsbury and Littlecote House
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 7.7 km • Est. 2 h 13 m
This is a circular walk from the gorgeous village of Ramsbury in Wiltshire. The route crosses the River Kennet before joining the peaceful woodland tracks and field edge tracks that guide you around the rolling countryside surrounding Littlecote Park. Along the way you will have chance to see the impressive Littlecote House, a Tudor mansion with a fascinating history, and also visit the extraordinary Roman mosaic within the grounds. The walk follows unmade tracks and concrete tracks throughout, all of which are a generous width. The surfaces are firm in the drier months but the chalk can be muddy and slippery in the winter and after rain. Aside from one climb near the start of the walk, the gradients are fairly gentle throughout. There is no livestock on route, but there are plenty of game birds around so take care with dogs. There are no gates, steps or stiles on route. The climb and walk length will probably prevent taking a pushchair on the route, but in the drier months it should be possible to take a rugged disability buggy around the walk. Allow 2.5 hours. Show more
#8 - Wayland's Smithy and Uffington White Horse
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 5.8 km • Est. 1 h 47 m
A circular walk near Ashbury in Oxfordshire which provides the opportunity to see a number of ancient sites and monuments along the way including a chalk white horse and an ancient burial chamber. With much of the route following an obvious chalk lane, the walk is relatively easy to navigate. The remainder of the walk crosses fields of grazing sheep so could be muddy after wet weather. There are no stiles and just a gradual climb to the highest point on White Horse hill which provides fabulous views of the surrounding area.Show more
#9 - West Wood's Circular
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 4.8 km • Est. 1 h 13 m
This is one of many route options in the gorgeous West Woods. The trails are shared by bikes, walkers, and horses alike. There are so many trails to explore in the area to either lengthen or shorten your journey.Show more
#10 - Great Bedwyn and Wilton Windmill Walk
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 8.9 km • Est. 2 h 33 m
A circular walk from the village of Great Bedwyn in Wiltshire. The walk has a lovely mix of things to see including a few glimpses of industrial heritage. Visitors will get a chance to enjoy a long stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal along with the old Crofton Pumping Station and Wilton Windmill, the only remaining working windmill in Wessex. On the return stretch visitors will pass through woodlands and fields before getting a chance to explore Great Bedwyn itself. The walk has only a few steady ascents and descents and there are no stiles, just a few easy to use gates and one squeeze gap. The majority of the route is along earth and stone tracks, towpaths and paths all of which will be muddy after wet weather. There is one small stretch of road walking and you will also need to cross the railway tracks towards the end of the walk so take care here with children and dogs. Check the opening times of the windmill and pumping station if you want to see inside these attractions. Approximate time to complete is 2 to 2.5 hours. Show more
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