Podcast 14 : Wiltshire Clumps

Something a bit different in this episode. Instead of talking about a particular walk we focus on something that is classic Wiltshire. Something that we’ve all seen right across the county. The ubiquitous Wiltshire Clump.

But to begin with we do our usual round up of the last two weeks in Wiltshire. We briefly mentioned the last joint walk that we ran with Wiltshire Museum on Adam’s Grave and Milk Hill. The walk was superbly led by David Carson whose family has farmed these lands since the 1880s.

In a neat segue from the Wiltshire Museum walk, Paul (henceforth to be known as Flower Boy) spent a couple of afternoons grovelling on his hands and knees on Milk Hill searching in vain for the rare and elusive Early Gentian. Despite having a 10 digit grid reference he never found them, although he was literally falling over the orchids there were so many. It’s been an incredible year for wild orchids and they’re far from finished. Whilst we’ve not seen so many poppies after 2020’s bumper crop, our chalk downland orchids have more than made up for it.

Meanwhile Glyn has walked the Coffin Trail between West Ashton and Steeple Ashton. He’s already posted a brief description with some stunning photographs on the Hidden Wiltshire Facebook pages but he’s going to write this up as a blog on the website.

Glyn also shared the fact that he’s got another blog brewing about the farmland and gallops around Beckhampton which he photographed for the local farmer. Again he’s already shared some beautiful photographs of this area, including a number of aerial shots. This location is turning into a firm favourite of Glyn’s with its huge views and sense of remoteness.

Finally in this section Paul once again shamelessly plugs the photography exhibition he and Steve Dixon are staging together with another Wiltshire photographer, Alan Cowley, as part of the Marlborough Opens Studios Art Trail. This takes place from 11:00 to 17:00 on the first four weekends in July although Steve, Paul and Alan’s gallery will only be open for the first three weekends. See the link to the Marlborough Open Studios website below for full details and directions. Our gallery is Studio 12.

Then onto this episode’s main feature – an exploration of our favourite Wiltshire Clumps, the mostly beech tree copses found in prominent positions right across our landscape. Glyn, Paul and Hidden Wiltshire stalwart Steve Dewey collaborated on a blog for the website with lots of photographs of various clumps in all sorts of weather. And as a special feature Glyn and Paul recorded on location one evening at Furze Knoll. We’ve always found this to be a creepy location and our evening session did nothing to dispel that feeling! But we also got a great view from the Knoll of Oliver’s Castle which, although not the classic copse of trees, stands out for miles around nonetheless.

Other favourites include Glyn’s much loved Tinhead with its long barrow, Paul’s favourite - the little known and slightly hidden clump on Copehill Down on Salisbury Plain, and Steve’s regular haunt - Charlton Clumps near Upavon. Amongst others we talk about the remote and lonely clump on Summerslade Down (mentioned in several previous podcasts) and, of course, the one that so many admire from afar – Woodborough Hill.

We finish with the usual housekeeping. Reminder about the Hidden Wiltshire Online shop (link below) and the offer to listeners of the podcast from Lowa Boots UK. You’ll need to listen to the podcast for details of how you can save 20% on their walking boots and shoes. Now we’re all venturing out more you definitely need a good pair of boots, and Glyn and Paul can both vouch for the quality of Lowa.

The next walk in conjunction with Wiltshire Museum is to Box on 11 July 2021. Tickets are nearly all gone.

The music and sounds in the podcast are provided by the multi-talented Steve Dixon. The piece in the Introduction is entitled “The Holloway”, whilst the piece introducing us to the walk is a new one entitled “Sitar Slink”.

And finally be sure to listen to the next podcast, number 15, when we will have a special guest!


For more information about Marlborough Open Studios 2021 the relevant page on Paul’s website is here Paul Timlett Exhibitions, or you can go direct to the Marlborough Open Studios website here Marlborough Open Studios

You can find the guys’ blog about Wiltshire Clumps here Hidden Wiltshire Blogs - Wiltshire Clumps

Glyn’s photographs can be seen on his Instagram feed @coy_cloud

Paul’s website can be found on his website at Paul Timlett Photography and on Instagram at @tragicyclist

Steve Dixon’s sound art can be found on Soundcloud where his username is River and Rail Steve Dixon River and Rail. His photographs can be found on Instagram at @stevedixon_creative and his graphic design business website is at Steve Dixon Creative

Hidden Wiltshire Walks in Conjunction with Wiltshire Museum Wiltshire Museum Walks

The Hidden Wiltshire shop Hidden Wiltshire Shop

And finally you can find Lowa Boots UK at Lowa Boots UK