Martinsell Hill, Oare

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

Martinsell Hill first came to my attention in November 2018, when a fabulous picture of a dusk sky from the top was posted on twitter by Visit Wiltshire : (click here to view tweet )

It is near the village of Oare in the Pewsey Vale, and rises steeply to a horseshoe shaped plateau where many paths and trails seem to converge. The White Horse trail and the Mid Wilts Way are the most prominent. Like many hills in this area it is steep sided, chalk grassland with strong evidence of Iron Age activity at the top. Although not as prominent as other Wiltshire sites, there is a fort at the summit and the ditches and earthworks can be clearly seen.

I parked on the east side of the hill, near Clench, where there is a good sized car park. The path follows the edge of a wood before rising steeply to the location of the fort. At the summit there is a lone tree covered in ribbons with a memorial stone commemorating some people who must have a connection to this place. The site of the tree resembles the summit of Roundway Down (aka Olivers Castle) near Devizes and the views from up there are spectacular. There is an airfield at Clench Common and the light aircraft were coming in low so I had to carry on along the summit of the hill towards the Giant's Grave to find a safe place to fly my drone.

A small wooded area eventually gave way to an open field with some derelict farm buildings at the centre. Although the ground was grassy it was tricky underfoot as there were thousands of flint stones scattered across the fields.

Just past the Giant's Grave the path starts to descend down to Oare, and in the distance you can make out the Pewsey Downs including Milk Hill and Tan Hill, the first and second highest points in Wiltshire. At 948 feet, Martinsell Hill is the third highest.

The Giant's Grave is a prominent Iron Age fort structure that resembles a neolithic long barrow. It looks astounding from above.

As I finished my walk, the sun was setting and I was able to get some fabulous shots of the Pewsey Vale. It was a magical end to a wonderful afternoon.

Access Information

Martinsell Hill can be assessed via trails from Oare, or there is a car park just south of Clench Common. A good two hour walk will take you right up to the summit and allow you time to explore the plateau at the top, extend your walk along the trails to the Giant's Grave with plenty of time for rest stops to take in the view.

#martinsell #ironage #fort #hillfort #milkhill #pewsey


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