Hidden among trees at the base of Luccombe Bottom is a beautiful spring. It gushes free flowing, chalk filtered clear water into an enticing pool, before heading down some water meadows, feeding into the privately owned Luccombe Mill. It then exits the area through Stradbrook, heading through the village of Bratton.
Much of the water is extracted by the local water company, but enough is left over to feed the local stream. The springs in this area have shaped the deep valleys, locally known as bottoms, and have made this part of Wiltshire the most wonderful place to wander.
But such beauty does come at a price. The spring is on private land, owned by Luccombe Mill and while there are rights of way which take you to the spring itself, hot weather can draw in the crowds to this place. Sadly, not everyone arrives and respects the land as there have been problems with littering and people going off the paths to use the woods as a public toilet. When I visited, there was a discarded inflatable lilo in the pool which detracted from the experience of visiting this ancient spring.
If you visit, please respect the land to preserve it for other pilgrims.
Whilst here I also recommend exiting the spring area on to the slopes of Luccombe Bottom itself. There I found a lone sarsen stone in the valley. Known as the "blood stone", legend says that King Alfred's men used it to behead the defeated Vikings of Guthrum after the Battle of Edington in 878 AD. A grisly tale indeed, and as I inspected the rock it did have a red tint in the glow of the afternoon sun. Or maybe it was my vivid imagination?