This circular walk takes in the small Wiltshire villages of Sutton Veny and Tytherington, doing a circular loop which takes you high up onto some of Wiltshire's finest downs, with outstanding views of the local area.
It is best to start the route from Sutton Veny, as there is plenty of parking space along the road outside the Church. There is a small car park by the village hall too. The Church is well worth spending some time at, and I wrote about it earlier in 2020. It has a lot of war graves, many of them Australian soldiers who died during the Spanish Flu pandemic after the First World War.
From the Church head North West up the main road, until you see a left turning. Follow this road, and it starts to take you uphill quite quickly. The hills around here are steep, but mercifully not too high, so any lung busting delivers quick rewards when the summit is reached and you can admire the views. Looking at the Ordnance Survey map, you are heading up to Haycombe Hill Farm, but before you get there you will see some fine views open up to your left.
Once past the farm you will join a track which heads towards Parsonage Down Farm. On the right, if you pause to look at the view you can make out some other local landmarks we have covered elsewhere on this site. On the other side of the valley you may see the Beech Clump on Summerslade Down. Just beyond that (and out of sight) is an impressive stone circle erected on the down in the 1990's for a festival. Not many people know about it as it is not marked on the map, but you can find more information on this here.
Looking to the right of the Beech Clump you will see another valley, giving rise to a range of hills in the far distance. This is Cold Kitchen Hill and if you are keen eyed, you might be able to spot the long barrow near the summit.
Continue along the track, and looking straight ahead and to the left will reveal a vast forest on the top of a ridge. This is the Great Ridge, which contains one of Wiltshire's largest forested areas. A Roman Road runs right through the middle of this wood, exiting near Pertwood and heading over towards Kingston Deverill. Many believe that it intersects with another Roman Road on the Kingston Deverill ford.
At the end of this track you will hit a crossroads. Here you will turn left and head towards Littlecombe Bottom, following this track all the way down to Tytherington. As you descend you can look across to the ridge in the distance and see the ancient Iron Age hillforts near Warminster. Scratchbury Camp is particularly prominent from here, and you can clearly make out the ramparts gouged out of the hillside.
When back to the main road, it is worth taking a quick walk into Tytherington to see the Church of St James. It is extremely old, and takes a prominent position in the village. The sign outside provides a lot of historical information.
From here you can head back to Sutton Veny - either along the main road ( but be vigilant about traffic ) or there is a right of way across the fields which lead you to the ruins of St Leonard's Church. The Church was abandoned in the mid 1800's due to subsidence, but in the grounds of the Church graveyard you will find an original mort safe. These were designed to protect newly dug graves from body snatchers !