I visited the Devenish on a hot, humid summer day and appreciated the ample shade provided by the trees and the grassy, steep hills to lounge on while taking in the view of the Woodford Valley below. We walked past a family with young children and a dog who cheerfully commented that this is no better place to be on a hot summer day and I wholeheartedly agree.
Sites like The Devenish embody the very reason why I embarked on this Hidden Wiltshire journey. It may not be well known but it is very worthy of a visit as places like this enrich the soul and leave you feeling recharged.
The walk from the car park takes you into well established woodland and before long you start to climb a very steep hill which is traversed by a series of wooden steps.
At the top, you hit a woodland plateau which can be explored by following the paths and tracks. Following a site map will enable you to go on a circular walk culminating in the chalk grasslands and meadows, which are on steep hills. The views from here are excellent, allowing full view of the valley below.
We happily took a good two hours exploring this place which involved a happy 9 year old making use of a rope swing in the shade and a good few minutes sitting and taking in the view. This has become a place I will always come back to.
The site takes its name from the Devenish family, one of whom (Dorothy Bradshaw and son Peter) gifted the site to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
There is a small car park at the reserve entrance but it is also possible to hike there from the centre of Salisbury as it is not far from Old Sarum. For more details of how to find it and to download a map of the reserve you can go here: The Devenish
During my visit I was able to find a good vantage point at the top of the grass hill to get some aerial photos and video. This clip is a good way to take in the whole site: