Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Wiltshire has a lot of woodland sites that are worth visiting, from the enormous Savernake Forest down to small pockets of ancient woodland like Clanger Wood. Currently managed by the magnificent Woodland Trust, it has provenance back to the 1080s when the Domesday book chronicled the fact that woodland existed on this site. Admittedly it was part of the much larger Forest of Selwood but this pocket of wood is one of the few remnants of Selwood that remain with us today.
It is a popular wood with locals, but it is still large and remote enough to find plenty of peace and quiet. On the few occasions I have been there I have encountered the odd dog walker but much of my walk was solitary.
There is a wide avenue down the middle which leads from the car park, right through to the far end of the wood, where you will find open fields and (on a clear day) some fine views of the Westbury White Horse. But there are also plenty of tributary paths on the left and right which take you deep into the forested areas and allow you to wander for an hour or two and explore. The wood is large, but not quite large enough to get lost in.
As you head up into the wood, it starts to rise up a steep but relatively gentle slope which adds to the variety of your walk.
In April and May, bluebells come to life. In fact the Woodland Trust lists Clanger Wood as one of the top 10 bluebell woods in England. Then, as the wood moves into summer butterflies start to appear with over 35 different species making their home here. It really is a wildlife haven, and as you move into the woods away from the busy A350 the traffic noise subsides and you can find the peace that comes from bathing in these wooded locations. The only noise is from the wind and the birds.
Like most woods in England, it can get very muddy. I've been in the summer months and found it mostly dry, but a visit in June 2018 was very wet and wellingtons were essential for the tributary paths.
There is a good size car park, which is accessible from the A350 between Westbury and Yarnbrook. It can get busy at weekends in the car park, so I would recommend visiting during the week or on an early summers evening.
Information on Clanger Wood can also be found here: Woodland Trust