From the southern edge of the Cotswolds to the northern fringe of the New Forest there is a wealth of outstanding countryside for the walker to enjoy in Wiltshire. There also happens to be an abundance of traditional, old-fashioned teashops nestling in cosy rural locations.
JEAN PATEFIELD has put together an irresistible combination of both in her new book WILTSHIRE TEASHOP WALKS (Countryside Books £7.99). Each of the 20 circular routes chosen for the book has a recommended teashop along the way, the ideal place to assuage an appetite created by an enjoyable walk!
The routes vary in length from 3 to 7 miles and are designed to be within the scope of everybody, including the not-so-young and not-so-fit. There is information on how to get to the start, where to park and notes on interesting places along the way. For greater clarity the route descriptions are divided into numbered paragraphs which correspond with the numbers on the accompanying sketch maps.
The walks are as varied as the scenery. There are rolling hills at Hannington and Highworth; dramatic downland around Bratton; broad fertile valleys such as the Vale of Pewsey at Urchfont; tranquil rivers at Salisbury, Lacock and Malmesbury; ancient woodland such as Savernake forest; charming villages including Great Bedwyn and Highworth; and historic towns such as Devizes and Marlborough.
Along the way there are plenty of interesting places to see, including the atmospheric ruins of Old Wardour Castle; Salisbury cathedral, a masterpiece of early English architecture; the impressive 14th century Tithe Barn near Bradford-on-Avon; Crofton Pumping Station which houses two magnificent, working beam engines; the village of Urchfont with its charming thatched cottages; and the historic town of Malmesbury, with its beautiful abbey.
The recommended teashops can be found in all shapes and sizes too. They include the famous Polly Tearooms in Marlborough which was founded in 1932 by Miss Jean Leith Hay and Miss Janet McCloud, one of the original Suffragettes; The Mad Hatter, a delightful little teashop beside the aqueduct at Avoncliff; and the Caen Hill Café, at the top of Caen Hill Lock Flight on a lovely stretch of the Kennet & Avon canal.
'I hope my readers have as much pleasure as I have had from these walks', says author Jean Patefield. 'I find the charms of the Wiltshire countryside and a refreshing, traditional English tea a delightful and irresistible combination'.
JEAN PATEFIELD is an enthusiastic walker and prolific author. When not enjoying the countryside Jean plays and teaches bridge. She has written many popular walking guides including Thames Valley Teashop Walks, Hampshire and The New Forest Teashop Walks and Waterside Walks in the Chilterns.
WILTSHIRE TEASHOP WALKS by JEAN PATEFIELD is published by Countryside Books at £7.99 and is available from all good booksellers, some local garden centres and attractions and direct from the publishers at www.countrysidebooks.co.uk