Photogenic Landscapes and Historic Sites in Wiltshire




Old Sarum Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn Stonehenge Malmesbury Abbey
Wiltshire extends 50 miles north to south and 35 miles west to east, adjoining Gloucestershire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset and Somerset. All the county has similar landscapes, of fields and woods; generally quite hilly, and split by several wide valleys, but with no particularly high land or overly dramatic natural features. Contained within are about half of the North Wessex Downs (the remainder is in Berkshire), a small part of the New Forest in the south, a narrow section of the Cotswolds in the north, most of Cranborne Chase and nearly all of Salisbury Plain. The latter two are extensive chalk plateaus - this rock underlies well over half of the county, part of a great exposure that stretches eastwards towards Dover, and is responsible for nearly all of Wiltshire's high ground. A number of slopes have been cut to create white chalk figures such as the horses at Chervil, Marlborough and Westbury. The county town of Wiltshire is Trowbridge; other major places include Swindon, Salisbury, Chippenham, Melksham and Devizes.

Wiltshire contains a reasonable variety of ancient places, spanning several millennia, though these are fewer in number than some adjacent counties, and is especially well known for its prehistoric and Neolithic sites. Most famous are Stonehenge and Avebury but there are dozens of lesser locations including burial mounds, ditches, hill forts, standing stones and pathways. The country has one cathedral (Salisbury), three ruined castles (Ludgershall, Old Sarum and Old Wardour), a dozen or more major stately homes - Longleat and Stourhead are the most visited - and a large number of old churches, though no ruined abbeys.


Castles



Ludgershall Castle
Ludgershall Castle
Tower remains and low wall remnants from a small, 12th century castle frequented by Henry III

Rating: ★★
Old Sarum
Old Sarum
Remains of an Iron Age fort, a Norman castle and an abbey; the original settlement of Salisbury

Rating: ★★

Old Wardour Castle - substantial ruins of a fortified house, with an unusual, French-style, hexagonal layout; built at the end of the 14th century


Cathedral and Churches



Malmesbury Abbey
Malmesbury Abbey
Parish church occupying part of an older, much larger building, the remainder of which was destroyed in the 1500s

Rating: ★★
St Mary's Church, Wilton
St Mary's Church, Wilton
Victorian chapel occupying the chancel of a medieval church, adjacent to the ruins of the original nave

Rating: ★★
Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral
One of the largest and most beautiful religious buildings of England, with the tallest spire in the country. Most of the cathedral was constructed in the 13th century

Rating: ★★★

Prehistoric Sites



Avebury World Heritage Site
Avebury World Heritage Site
Varied collection of ancient monuments including a burial chamber, the highest artificial hill in Europe (Silbury), a stone avenue, and the world's largest stone circle

Rating: ★★★
Stonehenge
Stonehenge
A World Heritage Site and Britain's most famous prehistoric monument, on undulating, grassy land of the Salisbury Plain

Rating: ★★★

Other Historic Buildings



Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn
Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn
Perfectly preserved 14th century barn with buttressed stone walls and an intricately constructed timber roof

Rating: ★★
Chisbury Chapel
Chisbury Chapel
Small 13th century church, later used as a barn but retaining some original features

Rating: ★★

Lacock Abbey - 13th century monastery, later convered to a mansion, retaining many original features



Map of Featured Wiltshire Locations