Cley Hill, Warminster
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
A long time ago, the Devil heard that Devizes had converted to Christianity so he filled up a sack of earth from Somerset and set off to find the town, with the intention of burying it. Along the way he met an old man and asked him how far it was to Devizes. The old man recognised the Devil and told him he had been trying to find it since he was a young man, which discouraged Satan so much that he dumped the sack of earth where he stood. Devizes was saved, and Cley Hill was born.
Cley Hill is so prominent, standing proud in the landscape, that it does look like it could just be a giant mound of ancient earth, like Silbury Hill. When seen from the A350 and the A36, it's steep sides rise quickly and it does look magnificent and worthy of a visit. It is also easily walkable from the National Trust car park - it is steep, but you quickly get to the top and have views stretching across to Westbury, Calne and even Roundway Down near Devizes. Look in the other direction and you are taking in Somerset.
The hill itself used to be part of the Longleat estate, but was donated to the National Trust by the Marquess of Bath.
There is evidence of ancient habitation from the top and this was an Iron Age hill fort in its day, like most of the hills in this landscape. On the very top is a bronze age bowl barrow, which can clearly be seen from the A36 as you approach it from the Westbury side. I've heard quite a few local people say that it looks like a nipple on top of a breast !
We came here in the early evening during Spring, and a brisk 30 minute walk took in most of the site and allowed for some time at the top absorb the views. Apparently it is a UFO hot spot so coming up here at dusk might reward you with a view of something more mysterious than the historic landscape this hill sits in.
The car park can be found on the right hand side off the A362 heading towards Corsley. A quick walk up a farm track takes you to the base of the hill and there are multiple routes to the top.