A Warminster Walk Away from the Mud

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By Victoriaco | Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 12:06

After all the feasting the New Year brings a cry for some exercise. Warminster is surrounded by a wealth of countryside crisscrossed by an excellent network of rights of way - but recent rainfall has meant many are currently deep in mud.

Here is a walk which avoids the puddles and where wellies are not needed.  It follows a tarmac surface all the way so children can enjoy riding their new bikes and, being mostly on the level, it is easy to push a buggy or a wheelchair.

This circuit, which is less than two miles, takes in one of Longleat's lesser known treasures.  It begins in the village of Horningsham, enters the estate via the long exit drive and returns through an aboretum known as the Pleasure Walk.

It is an easy route to follow.  From the Bath Arms walk down the hill to the lodge and continue down the drive towards what has been described as the best example of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain, Longleat House. Turn left here and then left again to enter the woods beside a cottage. Take another left turn to go through a gate into the Pleasure Walk which spreads over 20 acres to the south west of the House and is part of Capability Brown's landscaping.

The track wanders through a woodland of mature specialist trees underplanted with shrubs and bulbs which in spring will bring bright patches of colour.  At this time of the year tones are of muted greens and browns but leafless trees allow good views across the lake. 

Alongside the path a collection of sculptures add interest and there are attractive summer houses to shelter from any unexpected shower.  The path ends at a wooden gate which opens onto the road just beside the Horningsham Lodge. 

Warminster locals are lucky to be able to enjoy Longleat's splendour without having to travel long distances.  Thanks to the Estate's generosity walkers can explore its stately surroundings with no financial outlay - definitely a post-Christmas bonus!

This walk is on private land but entrance on foot to the Pleasure Walk is free.  There is a charge for vehicles entering Longleat Park. 

Sheep and cattle graze freely on the estate and walkers are asked to

make sure dogs are kept under control at all times. The estate asks

that they are put on the lead in the Pleasure Walk.

See Gallery "The Pleasure Walk at Longleat" for more photos.

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