22185
England
A Walking Exploration of England’s Ancient Footpaths
Walking the verdant fields, forests and foothills of England is a tradition as ancient as the paths themselves. Come walk through history on this quintessentially English adventure.
Rating (4.14)
Program No. 22185RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
4,629
Flights start at
800
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14 days
13 nights
26 meals
12 B 7 L 7 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Salisbury.
D
Red Lion Hotel

Lunch: Excluded.

Afternoon: At leisure until a welcome meeting and orientation in the hotel before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Salisbury Cathedral, Old Sarum
Salisbury.
B,L,D
Red Lion Hotel

Activity note: 4 mile hike. Negligible ascent

Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel. Your choice of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, baked beans, mushrooms, cereals, toast, yoghurt, pastries, juice, tea and coffee.

Morning: A walking tour of Salisbury and the Cathedral with a local expert guide. Salisbury Cathedral is one of the finest medieval buildings in Europe and after the tower of Lincoln Cathedral burned down in the 14th century, it held the distinction of being the tallest building in Britain until the last century. It holds one of the original copies of Magna Carta.

Lunch: Taken in the Red Lion Hotel.

Afternoon: A walk out to Old Sarum Castle and back 3 miles Site visit at Old Sarum, with castle guide. Old Sarum Castle was a Bronze Age and Iron Age hillfort, utilised by the Romans and then subsequently the seat of the Earls of Wessex and the site of the original Salisbury Cathedral. After the Norman Conquest Old Sarum became a significant Norman ‘keep’ with great symbolic significance (it was the castle of the defeated Harold). It was the site of the unveiling of the Domesday Book (another piece of Norman symbolism and propaganda). Interesting myths and legends are attached to Old Sarum. Historical periods covered: Iron Age, Bronze Age, the Romans, the Anglo Saxon and Medieval.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Maiden Castle, Stratton to Cerne Abbas
Salisbury.
B,L
Red Lion Hotel

Activity note: 7.5 mile hike. Grassy terrain. Height gained 400 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Motor coach to Maiden Castle (hillfort) near Dorchester. A walk around the grassy ramparts of this huge Bronze Age hillfort (1.5 miles) with a local expert. Maiden Castle is Britain’s largest ancient hill fort, impressive enough on its own, but has a deeper tale to tell. Within the safety of its earth banks and palisades was a town (huge by the standards of the day). We investigate the surprising reasons for the collapse of this community and the subsequent Iron Age and Roman occupations of the site.

Lunch: Packed lunch.

Afternoon: The motor coach takes us to the village of Stratton. Walk from Stratton to Cerne Abbas 6 miles. A steady climb (never too steep) takes us through an Iron Age ‘bank and ditch’ system to reach a broad grassy ridge with far reaching views across the rolling green hills of Dorset.With plenty of visible history in the landscape you will learn about varying land use through the ages. The grassland here has never been subjected to agro chemicals, so the flora is outstanding. Our walk ends in the medieval village of Cerne Abbas famous for its distinctive and cheeky hill carving. Historical periods covered: Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Medieval. Other learning: flora, fauna, ecology, landscape protection.

Dinner: Excluded so that you can experience some of the city's pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Avebury UNESCO World Heritage Site
Salisbury.
B,L,D
Red Lion Hotel

Activity note: 5.8 mile hike. Height gained 500 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Motorcoach from Salisbury to Knapp Hill (40 minutes) A walk from Knapp Hill to Avebury 5.7 miles. We walk from Knapp Hill car park in the lovely Vale of Pewsey , over ‘Adam’s Grave’ (a green hill with great views and Bronze Age burial mounds) to reach the Wansdyke (a forty mile long earthwork). From the Wansdyke our walk takes us to the magnificent Neolithic chambered tomb of West Kennett Long Barrow. From the barrow we cross the A4 (originally a Roman road) to reach the ancient and mysterious Silbury Hill. From Silbury it is a short step to reach the famous Avebury Stone Circle.

Lunch: Packed lunch.

Afternoon: The afternoon will be spent exploring the Avebury World Heritage Site. In addition to the stones themselves there is an excellent interpretive centre, a museum of archaeology and, from a more recent period, a medieval manor house and church. The oldest remains around Avebury date back to 11,500 BC, so this is truly a walk through an ancient landscape. Historical periods covered: Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Medieval. Other learning: flora, fauna, protecting our visible history. Continue on to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes where we will have a private viewing of the galleries. For the first time for many years some of the “crown jewels” of Stonehenge can be viewed in state of the art exhibition cases. It includes the largest collection of Early Bronze Age gold ever put on public display in England. David Dawson, Director of Wiltshire Museum said: “Devizes is mid-way between two of the world’s most important ancient monuments – the great prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. Visiting the Wiltshire Museum completes the experience of seeing these two iconic sites.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Woodhenge to Stonehenge, Winchester Cathedral
Salisbury.
B
Red Lion Hotel

Activity note: 3.5 mile hike. Height gained 300 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Motor coach to Woodhenge near Durrington (20 minutes) Walk from Woodhenge to Stonehenge 3 miles Our walk takes us from the site of Woodhenge , through Durrington Walls (earthworks of Neolithic settlement) and across the rolling green landscape to ‘The Avenue’, the processional route for Bronze Age pilgrims approaching Stonehenge. Durrington Walls was a substantial Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement which has been extensively researched by archaeologists in recent years.

Lunch: Excluded at Stonehenge so that you can explore yourselves.

Afternoon: Motor coach to Winchester (45 minutes). Visit Winchester Cathedral (Guided Tour). Free time around Winchester and the Cathedral precincts. Winchester is one of the former capitals of Anglo-Saxon Wessex and has strong associations with King Alfred the Great. The Cathedral houses the graves of a number of Anglo-Saxon and early Norman kings and other historically significant figures, plus the remains of St Swithun. By complete contrast the crypt houses an Antony Gormley sculpture. The influence of the Bishop of Winchester during medieval times cannot be overstressed; the London boroughs south of the Thames, such as Southwark, belonged to the Bishops of Winchester (as did most of the inns and bawdy houses!). Historical periods covered: Neolithic, Bronze Age, Dark Ages, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval

Dinner: Excluded in Salisbury.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Ridgeway National Trail, Iron Age Uffington Castle
Salisbury.
B,L
Red Lion Hotel

Activity note: 6.6 miles hike. Height gained 600 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Motor coach to Idstone in Oxfordshire (I hour 15 minutes). Walk from Idstone to Kingston Lisle along the Ridgeway National Trail 6 miles. Idstone is an attractive village nestling in the folds of the Oxfordshire Downs. Our walk takes us along the Great Ridgeway, the oldest route in continuous use in Europe. The ridge crest along the chalk downs of southern England provided a safe dry route with good visibility for travellers and traders from the Stone Age onwards. This is a walk through the earliest settled landscape in Britain. Iconic prehistoric sites abound on this walk (such as Wayland’s Smithy, the Uffington White Horse, Dragon Hill). The walk finishes near the Blowing Stone , a holed stone with which King Alfred reputedly summoned the local populus to fight and defeat the Danes at the Battle of Ashdown. Historical periods covered: Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval

Lunch: We will eat our packed lunch on the grassy ramparts of Iron Age Uffington Castle, looking down on Dragon Hill (where, legend has it, St George slew the dragon).

Afternoon: Return to Salisbury for some free time.

Dinner: Excluded in Salisbury.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Glastonbury Abbey, Wells Cathedral
Bath.
B,D
Francis Hotel Bath

Activity note: 400 feet ascent.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Transfer day. Motor coach transfer to the Francis Hotel in Bath with field trips to Glastonbury Abbey and Wells enroute. We visit the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, one of the cradles of early Christianity (why is it a ruin? The Abbott defied Henry VIII). There is time to explore the town and the option of walking to the summit of Glastonbury Tor, a 400 feet climb rewarded with a stunning all round view over the ancient county of Somerset. The earliest Christian settlement at Glastonbury was established by Joseph of Arimathea (the uncle of Jesus Christ) early AD. At the time Britain was a Roman colony and the Roman Empire had not yet converted to Christianity. Before the Somerset Levels were drained by the monasteries (in order to increase grazing land), Glastonbury was one of a number of islands in a wetland. Glastonbury was the Isle of Avalon (an actual place, not a myth). It was on neighbouring Athelney that Alfred the Great famously’ burned the cakes’ whilst disguised as a beggar in an attempt to escape the Danes.

Lunch: Excluded in Glastonbury.

Afternoon: Afternoon visit to the tiny ‘city’ of Wells. Wells has a stunningly beautiful cathedral and a medieval Bishop’s Palace, surrounded by a moat (where the swans ring a bell to be fed!). Wells Cathedral was built with the purpose of luring the Bishop of Bath and Wells away from Bath Abbey. This was achieved by building a palace that no Bishop could possibly refuse! Historical periods covered: Romano British, Dark Age, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval.

Dinner: After check-in take dinner in the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Roman Bath, Bath Abbey
Bath.
B
Francis Hotel Bath

Activity note: 2 mile walk in town, some cobblestones.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: A morning expert led exploration of the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey.

Lunch: Excluded so that you can discover some of the many eateries in central Bath.

Afternoon: Free time in Bath, with the option of a 2 mile guided town trail (level walking on pavement (some cobblestones).

Dinner: Excluded.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Cotswold Way National Trail
Bath.
B,L
Francis Hotel Bath

Activity note: 6.6 mile hike. Height gained 600 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Field Trip; Motor coach to Nympsfield near Stroud in the southern Cotswolds. Walk to Owlpen Manor 6 miles. Our walk takes us from Nympsfield Long Barrow to Coley Peak Long Barrow and then follows the Cotswold Way National Trail past the ancient monument of Hetty Pegler’s Tump before reaching the Iron Age hill fort of Uley Bury.

Lunch: Packed lunch to eat on the walk.

Afternoon: Historic periods covered: Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval. Motor coach return to Bath.

Dinner: Excluded.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Wessex Ridgeway
Bath.
B,L,D
Francis Hotel Bath

Activity note: 6.5 mike hike. Height gained 500 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Field Trip; motor coach to Sack Hill near Warminster (30 minutes). Walk from Sack Hill to Knook along the Wessex Ridgeway 6.5 miles. Our walk takes us from Sack Hill across the Iron Age hill forts of Battlesbury and Scratchbury and past the Bronze Age burial mounds on Middle Hill and the Neolithic flint quarry and Bronze Age mounds on Cotley Hill. Walking on flower meadows all the way.

Lunch: Taken in the historic Angel Inn, Heytesbury.

Afternoon: Continue our walk along the banks of the idyllic River Wylye to the medieval village of Knook to meet our transport back to Bath. Historic periods covered: Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Castel Combe, Cotswold Way to Bath
Bath.
B,L,D
Francis Hotel Bath

Activity note: 6 mike hike. Height gained 600 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Field Trip; Motor coach to Castle Combe (35 minutes). Morning visit to Castle Combe. Time to explore and photograph this attractive village. Motor Coach to Cold Ashton (20 minutes) Walk from Cold Ashton back to Bath along the Cotswold Way 6 miles Castle Combe is said by many to be the prettiest village in the Cotswolds. Much of the village is medieval including the old market cross.

Lunch: Buffet lunch at the Castle Inn, Castle Combe.

Afternoon: Motor coach to Cold Ashton (20 minutes). Walk back into Bath along the Cotswold Way. The walk from Cold Ashton to Bath along the Cotswold Way National Trail passes through an idyllic green, undulating landscape which brings us to Lansdowne (scene of a famous battle during the English Civil War). From Lansdowne we follow the route along the escarpment passing the Bronze Age remains at Kelston Round Hill and Penlea Hill. From Penlea Hill the path descends gradually to Bath through Royal Victoria Park. A great walk to round off the trip. Historic periods covered: Medieval, Bronze Age, Anglo-Saxon, Iron Age, Early Modern.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Dyrham Park
London Heathrow Airport
B,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Transfer day; Bath to Heathrow. A leisurely start to the day. Visit Dyrham Park (NT) in the morning. 20 minute coach journey.

Lunch: Excluded at Dyrham. There is a tea room for light lunches and snacks.

Afternoon: Mid afternoon transfer by coach for the Heathrow hotel. (I hour 30 minutes including a comfort stop). Check-in.

Dinner: Farewell dinner in the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Transfer by hotel shuttle bus to Heathrow terminals. Your group leader will give you the fare for the shuttle.






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