Saturday Walkers Club

Pewsey Circular via Avebury Walk

Long walk over Wiltshire downs to Avebury World Heritage Site

Length 36.3 km (22.6 mi), of which 6.5 km (4.1 mi) on tarmac or concrete.
Cumulative ascent/descent: 666m. For an alternative ending in Avebury and a shorter walk, see the Walk Options below
Toughness 10 out of 10
OS Map Landranger Map: 173 (Swindon & Devizes); Explorer Map: 157 (Marlborough & Savernake Forest)
Walk Notes

This is a strenuous excursion into the heart of Neolithic Wiltshire, a mysterious landscape full of pre-historic earthworks, standing stones, sarsen fields and hillforts as well as barrows – burial mounds of kings and warriors. The route passes through or past four of the most important prehistoric sites in Britain: Fyfield Down Sarsen Stones Field, Avebury Standing Stones and Bank & Ditch Earthworks, Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow (two other sites, The Sanctuary and Windmill Hill, can be explored on extensions).
You walk out of the beautiful Vale of Pewsey over the southerly ridge of the Marlborough Downs, from where there are stunning far views over this land of wave-like hills, with its scarps, ridges and valleys, before heading through West Woods, England’s best bluebell wood (source: Forestry Commission), to Fyfield Down and Avebury.
Later the walk leads along the Wansdyke, a 5th century earth bank and deep ditch. It was built by the beleaguered Romano-British Celts as a fortification to stem the Saxon advance. From there it is just a short walk to Wiltshire’s highest peak (Milk Hill) with its stunning Down.
After a scenic descent into the Vale of Pewsey an undemanding stretch along the Kennet & Avon Canal leads back to Pewsey.

There are four different options to finish the walk in Avebury, with a rating of between 5/10 and 10/10.


Pewsey Station is on the Berkshire and Hampshire line, served by Intercity trains between London and the West Country, albeit with very few direct trains. Journey times are between 56 and 86 minutes Monday to Saturday and between 66 and 83 minutes on Sunday. It is also just outside the Network South East Area, necessitating split journey tickets if using the Network Railcard.
On Saturdays take the train closest to 8.30 hours for the full walk, the train closest to 10.30 is an option for the short walks. On Sundays take the train closest to 10.00 hours, but as no reasonable late return train exists, realistically only the short walks ending in Avebury can be walked. The same is true on weekdays due to the lack of a reasonably early outbound train.

Walk Options

Bus 49 Trowbridge - Swindon means you can finish in Avebury (runs roughly hourly Mon-Sun; costs only £2.80, but requires a separate train ticket Swindon – Reading):

  • Pewsey to Avebury is 18.1 km long with 352m height gain and rated 5/10;
  • Pewsey to Avebury plus the Windmill Hill loop is 23.5 km long with 405m height gain and rated 6/10;
  • Pewsey to West Kennett Long Barrow and back to Avebury via The Sanctuary is 27.1 km long with 526m height gain and rated 8/10;
  • Pewsey to West Kennett Long Barrow and back to Avebury via The Sanctuary plus the Windmill Hill loop is 32.4 km long with 578m height gain and rated 10/10.
  • B&Bs in or near Avebury

    Avebury Lodge High Street, Avebury (01672 539 023)
    Dorwyn Manor Swindon Road, Avebury (01672 539 098)
    The Haven 13 Truesloe Cottages, Avebury Truesloe (01672 539 846)
    Avebury Life 5 Truesloe Cottages, Avebury Truesloe (01672 539 644)
    The Old Forge East Kennet (01672 861 686)

    Lunch and Tea

    The Who’d A Thought It Lockeridge, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 4EL (01672 861 255). The Who’d A Thought It is located 9.7 km (6.0 mi) into the walk. Open Tue-Fri 12.00-15.00 and 18.00-23.30, Sat 12.00-23.30 and Sun 12.00-22.30. Food served Tue-Fri 12.00-15.00 and 18.00-21.00, Sat 12.00-21.00 and Sun 12.00-16.00. It is a traditional English village pub.
    The Red Lion High Street, Avebury, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1RF (01672 539 266). The Red Lion is located 18.1 km (10.7 mi) into the walk. Open all day every day. Food served all day except 16.00-17.00 on weekends and 15.00-17.00 on weekdays. The Red Lion was first licensed in 1802 and is nowadays managed by The Old English Inns-chain. It is famous for its 86ft deep well inside the pub which dates back to the 1600's. The Well Room is named after Alexander Keiller who excavated the ancient stone circle surrounding the pub.

    For all other options please consult page 2 of the pdf.


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    Out: (not a train station)

    Back: (not a train station)

    By Car

    Start: SN9 5ER | Directions


    Start walking Large print Using GPS data

    National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



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    Walk Directions  

    Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

    This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from