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Great Stones Way

Great Stones WayThis long distance path through the Wiltshire Downs from Barbury Castle (south of Swindon) to Old Sarum (north of Salisbury) is a history trail to top all history trails. The Great Stones Way opened in 2014 and in 36 miles passes England's most important prehistoric sites, including Avebury and Stonehenge.

The route strides across downs with wide ranging views and meanders beside the tranquil River Avon, taking in picture-perfect villages, churches and cosy pubs. it's perfect for an energetic long weekend or a leisurely week, with good transport links at either end. The guidebook by Steve Davison describes the route in six stages as follows:

Stage 1 Coate Water to Barbury Castle - the official start – 7 miles
Stage 2 Barbury Castle to Overton Hill – 6.5 miles
Stage 3 Overton Hill to Casterley Camp – 11.75 miles
Stage 4 Casterley Camp to Netheravon  - 5.25 miles
Stage 5 Netheravon to Great Durnford  - 8.75 miles
Stage 6 Great Durnford to Old Sarum (or Salisbury) – 4.25 or 6.5 miles

Originally the route ran from Barbury Castle to Old Sarum, thus linking two historical sites. Now, however, for the convenience of accessing the start, the route begins at Coate Water in Swindon. The finish has also been extended to take in Salisbury's magnificent medieval cathedral.

There is also an alternative extension via Avebury to visit the Avebury Ring Stone Circle. Here the path links with the Ridgeway National Trail. A diversion to visit Stonehenge is also to be recommended. Including the extensions, the route covers up to 53 miles in total.

Great Stones Way Route Map

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Start: Swindon

Grid Ref: SU 177827

End: Salisbury

Grid Ref: SU 142296

Distance: 85 km

Walking Time: 5 days

Counties Traversed
Wiltshire

Explorer™ Maps
130, 157, 169

Great Stones Way Guidebook

To purchase the guidebook from our bookshop please click on the image above