In part 5 in our series, we explore the Broad Town Wiltshire White Horse. Situated on a steep bank, the best views are from the grounds of the village church. However, it’s also a pleasant dog friendly afternoon walk if you fancy getting closer to the horse and seeing the beautiful views from the top.
Where did we go:
We visited the Broad Town Wiltshire White Horse, which is situated 4 miles outside Royal Wootton Bassett.
When did we go:
We visited on a sunny sunday morning in late September. Autumn has arrived so our walk was a little chilly in the shade as we climbed the hill towards the horse. The ground was still dry, with trees full of acorn & conker seeds and the leaves were starting to crisp and fall.
We came across a hedgerow with the last offerings of summer fruit, Blackberries and Sloe Berries. We couldn’t resist picking some of the Sloes to take home and make Sloe Gin. Winter’s on its way and Sloe Gin is perfect way to warm up again after a winter walk.
How did we get there:
From Junction 16, head towards Royal Wootton Bassett. Head along Marlborough Road and then follow on to Broad Town Road. As you drive through Broad Town village, stop at the church for good views of the horse.
Head a little further up the hill and there’s a lay-by on the left just before the entrance to Chapel Lane. Park here if you want to follow our walk to the Broad Town White Horse.
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Why go here:
Most of the white horses are chalk hill carvings, and the chalk downs of central Wiltshire made an ideal location to create them. It is thought they were carved by local villagers for either religious or ritual purposes or as an emblem of the local people, high on a hill for all to see.
More recently, horses have been cut across Britain to mark coronations and to mark the start of a new millennium. The Wiltshire White horses are maintained by local volunteers, who cut back weeds and overgrown patches and re-chalk the figures every few of years.
Cut into a steep slope, the Broad Town Wiltshire White Horse is about half a mile north east of the village. The horse is 26 metres in height, and stands on land behind a farm at the end of Chapel Lane. It is believed that this particular Wiltshire white horse was cut in 1864 by William Simmonds, who held the farm at the time.
Restored in 1991, the Broad Town white horse is now in the hands of volunteers of the Broad Town White Horse Restoration Society. Thanks to local volunteers who continue to regularly scour the horse, it remains visible for people to enjoy from miles around.
Our Walk to the horse:
- Walk down Chapel Lane, past the beautiful thatch cottage with the gorgeous dog thatch finial on the roof. (Finials are a traditional English straw sculpture on top of Thatch Cottages – Google Thatch Finial images for lots of amazing examples). At the end of the lane there’s a footpath straight ahead of you between two bungalows.
2. Follow the footpath around to the left. If you have your doggie with you then watch out for the cattle grid a little further round. There’s a gate to the side of the grid to safely walk them through.
3. Continue to walk down the footpath and you’ll see the Broad Town Wiltshire White Horse ahead of you on the hill.
4. As you approach the end of the footpath you’ll see a farm. Put your doggie back on lead at this point as there may be cattle in the field coming up.
5. As you continue to walk down the footpath, keep the farm buildings on your right. Go through the gate on your left into the field at the very end of the footpath. It’s marked with a yellow footpath trail sign on the gatepost.
6. Once through the gate, follow the right hand edge of the field (alongside the farm wall). Behind the farm house you will find a gate and stile. Go over the gate / stile (be careful as the stile is quite wobbly, we climbed over the gate and sent the dogs underneath). The white horse is ahead of you but not very visible from here. Turn left once over the gate and follow the trail.
7. As you climb the hill following the trail, you will see a large tree on your right. The trail winds around this tree and doubles back on itself as you continue to climb up towards the horse.
8. Make sure to stop along this section of the trail as there are beautiful views looking out across the Wiltshire countryside above Broad Town village.
9. Finally, as you come across the Wiltshire White Horse information board stop here. The Broad Town Wiltshire white horse is directly above you.
- Whitewhitehorses.org.uk for more info about the Broad Town Wiltshire White Horse and all of the Wiltshire White Horses.
- White Horse Trail for serious walkers there’s a 90 mile hike to visit ALL Wiltshire horses.
We hope that you enjoyed our review of the Broad Town Wiltshire White Horse. Have you seen our other White Horse articles?
We’re now more than half way through our Wiltshire White Horse series. We have three more horses to find. We’ll add them to our Out and About section soon.
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