Amesbury is a little Wiltshire town. It lies on the River Avon, eight miles north of Salisbury, at a point where the main road from London to Exeter bridges the river. The chalk downlands of Salisbury Plain surround the town, pocked with the remains of earlier civilizations like Neolific & Bronze Age people. Until the current century Amesbury relied largely on farming, but now its inhabitants of some 6000 people looks mostly to the neighboring defense establishments or to Salisbury for employment. The center of the town & its medieval abbey church stay, though the ' great access road' which once formed the High street has been channeled into a modern by-pass. The abbey mansion, the abbey was began in 979, is now a convalescence home, the 18th century buildings of the town centre are mixed with modern shops, & housing estates have crept onto the common fields. Amesbury may not amaze the casual visitor, or even the resident, with a sense of history in the way that Salisbury (an altogether younger place) does, but there is ample in Amesbury's past that deserves to be remembered.
Today's guests are following a tradition that goes back into ancient times. As well as helping the needs of the people of Salisbury Plain, the town has habitually served as a resting place for travelers, at one time on foot, horseback & mail coach, but now by car, bus and bicycle. Amesbury today offers visitors a range of useful services, a array of places to eat & good quality accommodation.
Sometimes called something else, & you can probably imagine what that is. The Bustard is in a remote location on Salisbury Plain, The Bustard Inn gives guests the best of numerous worlds - great walking & wide-open spaces, access to some of the most historic sights in the country, & a lovely escape from the bustle of city life. charmingly & modest, it is in the outstanding care of Roy Harris, who earlier ran it for seven years. When he left, the spirit of the place seemed to leave with him, but when he returned with Sharon Maton in September 2003 the old spark came alive again & it’s very special appeal was restored. Sharon, a skilled chef, is queen of the kitchen, making splendid dishes every session except Sunday evening.
The inn takes its name from the bird which has just been reintroduced on the Plain after a long absence of about 175 years.
An adult bird can weigh up to 44 pounds (20 kilometres) & on standard stands as tall as a Roe deer, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
I have dedicated another chapter to this wonderful bird, who will now be seen by future generations of people to come.
The inn is on Salisbury Plain in the Bustard Hamlet 2 miles north of Shrewton off the A360.
It's fun to view the landscape while driving around. We spotted this unusual sight - at least for us. A lot of cows were all lined up in a row going to their barn for milking. They really looked funny that way instead of their usual lying in the field or standing up eating.
The market town of Wilton is a small Saxon settlement nr Salisbury. It’s famed for its carpet making factory which has been around for years, making carpets for grand houses & The Royal family. You can have tours round the factory & its part of Wilton shopping village. There are many shops in Wilton including: Reeve The Bakers, Antiques place, Burnbake Trust which has arts & Crafts by prisoners, a butchers, Post Office, Greyhound Pub, 3 bells pub & many more. There is a library in South St Wilton, although it’s not very big. Wilton House where the Queen’s Cousin the Marques of Pembroke lives, is part of Wilton. There is a high wall surrounding the house & a garden centre nearby with café & gift shop. There is an interesting Italianate church to visit but it is in runs, some of the stones & graves still exist. Wilton is horsy country with Grovely Stables just up the road nr Grovely Woods, & The RDA (Riding for The Disabled).
The River Wyle & Nadder forms part of Wilton. Here you can feed the ducks in the summer, & watch people playing bowls on the green. The hotel here is called The Pembroke Arms & sometimes holds physic fairs & other conventions.
This small village is about 2 miles from Wilton, & is situated in a quiet location on the junction of the A30 and the B3089. The River Nadder runs through farmland here, & there is also the Barford Inn. Also here is the Countryside Unit at Dairy Lane, which is owned by Alabre Christian Care centre's. It was once part of a farm, but was turned into a place of training for homeless & disadvantaged people.
Here they can teach you woodwork, arts & Crafts, argiculture & many other skills. Barford has some pretty countryside, there is a farm shop here which is called Black & white, there is only one garage here which is Texaco which has a small shop. There is a small church here & a war memorial. barford is the ideal place to explore a Wiltshire Village.
What can I say about this small Wiltshire village. It's about five miles from Salisbury, has many farms including our farm at Chillhampton which has been in the family since the 1850's. Two other villages Stoford & Wishford are connected to South Newton, & the River Nadder runs through the centre.
The Black Swan pub is near South Newton, it's faced upon the main road. It has a car park & gardens out the back, there is one bar & has many fuctions taking place including skittles nights. Over the road across the bridge is a lane leading towards Grovely & Wilton
The last time I came here was in July, the whole place was packed with tourists. There is stories that Stonehenge was built by the druids for sacrificial ceremonies. It was in medival times that Stonehenge started to have an appeal on the people, & not just another pile of rocks. It's £5 for adults & £2 for children to get in. Then you go down a small subway like tunnal, the authorities are thinking of making a bigger tunnal; but the fire service people aren't very happy about this idea.
Facilities available are:
Tearooms or Restaurant
Suitable for people with disabilties
Male/Female Toilets ( made for wheelchairs in big toilet block at far end of carpark.
Guidebooks (in all langauges)
This is a small village which has Saxon roots, the village is on the site of a Roman settlement. Variouse flints & tools have been discovered there, which can be seen in Salisbury Museum. There is a pub at Alderbury called The Green Dragon & has featured in Charles Dickens book " Martin Chuzzlewit" under the name "The Blue dragon". The author stayed there while collecting information for his book.
The Green Dragon has a beer garden & bar, its very popular in the summer. Nearbye are local tennis courts, a lot of new houses have been built in the area: Whaddon Village is now forming part of Alderbury but once used to be a seperate village.
In Alderbury there is a post office, garage, Hospital for horses & many other things. There is also cycle routes in the area, althrough the hill to Alderbury is tiring.
Silbury Hill is very close to Avebury and Stonehenge.. another reminder of how long man has inhabited this part of England. Originally, begun in 2400 B.C. - yes, it's that old - Silbury Hill sits quietly near a car park one can pull into. I advise reading the website below for interesting archeological and historical facts about this mound.
Pewsey is in the county of Wiltshire in the southern part of England. While mainly a quiet village of about 5000 residents, Pewsey has in current years become a pleasing place to live by those looking to travel to London, as it gives quick a quick route to Paddington station by train. Pewsey village boasts the "Oldest Carnival in Wiltshire", generally held yearly for two weeks in late September culminating in a colourful & wacky procession by local people of floats, bands, performers & people in all manner of fancy-dress! Crowds stand at the roadside chucking pennies at the float’s, the road (River Street) is usually cut off stopping any traffic from coming along; it must be a bugger to clear up the rubbish afterwards.
Pewsey was once owned by the Saxon king, King Alfred, the crossroads of Pewsey is still home to a statue of him. Around the village you will find attractive thatched cottages, a 700 year old church, Kennet & Avon Canal access, & lots of pubs with a mixture of entertainment like karaoke, darts, pub quizzes & pool. The pubs are called The Royal Oak & the Greyhound. The Q8 Garage on Swan Corner has a car wash service. You can save money on both your car wash & your petrol by downloading an online coupon on the net. There’s a library in Pewsey in Aston Close, a church, Heritage Centre, & many other thing's of interest.
Grovely Wood is a big region of woods that is now owned by the Forestry Commission ''Grovely Grovely & all Grovely" is the cry of local people from Great Wishford as they use their ancient right to collect firewood from the nearby woods. Festivities are held early on Oak Apple Day - May 29th - & the villagers restate the ancient law with celebrating & dancing at Salisbury Cathedral. The former Royal Forest is peppered with earthworks, ancient paths & a Roman road, which brough lead from the Mendips & formed part of the network of Roman roads that met at Old Sarum.
There’s Grovely riding stables just under the bridge. Grovely isn’t very big it’s not far from the town of Wilton, there’s a post office & a few thatched cottages. Just up the road further along is Great Wishford, which I will explain later. Heading to wards Shaftsbury is the village of Barford St Martin which I will do something on. Grovely woods are famed for its carpets of bluebells during the Spring & Summer. With prehistoric oak woodlands the woods contain a better than average selection of woodland birds including nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, woodcock Scolopax rusticola & nightingales Luscinia megarhynchos. Legend & folklore thrive in these south Wiltshire woodlands.
In more recent times, Grovely Woods was used during the 2nd World war, If you look hard enough, you can still find some old air raid shelters.
Most people connect the village with Oak Apple Day on May 29th, when the villagers get up in the early hours to gather oak boughs from nearby woods. The event marks an ancient decree that lets people to get wood from Grovely Woods; the day includes a trip to Salisbury, dancing in the Cathedral Close, & brass band music back in the village. Knights passed through the village many years ago to hunt in the forests close by, & a thousand years ago, Great Wishford was in the hands of the Abbess of Wilton. Apparently in the Doomsday Book, the village at that time was no more than a hamlet called Wicheford. Old maps of the area divulge even more about Great Wishford's past - with the location of the notorious Powten Stone, with its paranormal connections. What happened to the stone itself? Some villagers say they have remote memories of its location but its never been found. There’s a pub at Wishford called the Royal Oak Inn, but none of the room are en-suit so I have been told. The river Avon runs through Great Wishford.
Barford St.Martin is a little, village in South Wiltshire sited 2 miles from Wilton, the ancient capital of Wessex & some 13 miles from Shaftsbury. It is on the junction of the A30 & the B3089. The river Nadder runs through the village & Barford is known as one of the Nadder valley villages. Its history can be traced back to the 11th Century & there was mention to Barford in the Domesday Book compiled in 1085/1086. There’s 467 adult people & has a school, church, pub called The Barford Inn, & a petrol station. It also has a farm shop & a small landscape gardening company. Much of the adjacent farm land is owned by the Wilton Estate. Barford has an active Parish Council who is determined to improve services & the look of the village. The school is run by a Board of Governors & has 40 pupils. St Martin's Church is overseen by a Parochial Church Council & the vicar is responsible for three other parishes close by.
Recollections of the 1940s stress the lack of noise in Barford St. Martin & highlight the largest change to the village in the last 60 years: private transport - concurrently resuscitating & choking the village with its traffic. Barford's farms in the 1960s were still run by families: the Whatleys at Primrose Farm; the Hibberts at Church Farm; & the Coombes, with Jack at North End Farm & Geoffrey at Manor Farm. Chickens & ducks wandered about at leisure & donkeys & foals would be walked, untethered, from their paddock in Mount Lane to the meadows off the Shaftsbury Road. The village still retained its complement of shops & Reeves made fresh bread on site. Milk was delivered locally straight from the farm. The church, with its newly built Rectory, remained a strong & vital influence; it had a choir of 14 boys, a Sunday School & bell ringers for all occasions.
Just down the hill from Salisbury district hospital are two small villages called Odstock & Nunton. You can get to the village of Downton this way by bike by cycling through the village of Bodenham & along a cycle track which passes a river. It's quite pleasant, but please watch out as some cars come along this narrow streatch.
There’s also a pub here in Odstock called the Yew Tree Inn, there used to be a peacock here which used to enjoy chips but I haven’t seen him lately; perhaps he became a specialty!
The pub in Nunton is called The Radnor Arms, Lord Radnor lives in the area. There’s a bus service for Nunton & Odstock, but I have cycled up the hill to Salisbury, & it’s a KILLER!
In 1939 New Hall at Bodenham was requisitioned by the Army & in 1944 General Dwight Eisenhower slept there prior to the Normandy Landings on D-day. After the war Lord Radnor purchased New Hall to save it from becoming a Lunatic Asylum. From 1947 New Hall was used as a training school for nurses. It is now a Private Hospital.
Capio New Hall Hospital is the favored Hospital used by BUPA & PPP Healthcare for their members in the Salisbury area. They are also recognized by all other major health insurance companies. They have close relationships with the Ministry of Defense, the Police Force & the National Health Service. In 2004, Capio Healthcare was chosen as the chosen company to work with the National Health Service to help reduce their waiting lists. At Capio New Hall Hospital, it is their aim to deliver high quality, cost effective healthcare services to all of their patients.
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