Updated: Jun 3, 2019
I have often driven from Steeple Ashton towards Edington and admired the contours of Edington Hill. Unlike its near neighbour at Bratton which houses the famous Westbury White Horse, the hills above Edington are not as well known or accessible but the steep sides and strip lynchets do make it look imposing above the village.
When you are exploring these hills you are close to the edge of the Salisbury Plain training area where live firing takes place. If you live in these parts you get to know when an exercise is happening as the distant booms of artillery exploding are carried deep into the surrounding towns of Trowbridge, Warminster and Westbury. When I visited, the military were not active despite the red flags flying across the landscape warning of danger, and the sounds of birdsong and gusts of wind were the only things bothering my ears. Edington itself is no stranger to military history, as it is widely believed that the Battle of Ethandun took place here between King Alfred and the Viking Guthrum in May 878, where Alfred prevailed.
I began my journey on foot from the car park at Bratton Camp, where I headed towards the Imber Range path and followed the road towards Reeves Farm. The land to the right as I walked was out of bounds, but I was able to look at the landscape and make out features such as Warden's Down and High Down. Before long the view on my left opened up to take in Edington Hill and Picquet Hill, with the contours of the hills leading down to Luccombe Bottom.
As I neared Reeves Farm, I hit a crossroads where I could go left down Imber Road into Bratton or right to a military control point with signs saying the road to Imber is closed. Just opposite this was a path, that led up a gentle slope to the hill.
At the top of the hill the view was breathtaking. Luccombe Bottom is beautiful, and there was clear line of sight to the village of Bratton at the bottom of the valley and across to Combe Bottom and Bratton Camp in the distance. There was a stone memorial bench at the top of Picquet Hill where I was able to sit and contemplate the view. This is one of the finest vantage points in West Wiltshire.
I descended down into Bratton and made my way to the Church. It is hidden at the top of a deep valley, where the spring water makes its way via a lively stream. Walking through the quiet roads of the village, I really appreciated the beauty and tranquility of this place. Nestled at the foot of steep hills and valleys, it has a character of its own.
After stopping for some time of quiet reflection in the Church, I felt like a pilgrim. Spiritually recharged, I needed the extra energy to make my way up the steep sides of Combe Bottom. It was a gradual, but relentless incline and after some deep breathing I finally emerged back at Bratton Camp.
Before I reached the end I looked back down the hill over Bratton and soaked in the view. The Church tower peeked through the trees looking miniscule when compared to the scale of the magnificent Edington Hill behind it. I knew then that I had experienced a fine walk, and that this place is one of the finest spots in Wiltshire.
If you would like to follow this walk the route is outlined above. The total distance is 5.3 miles.