WALKS AROUND HULLAVINGTON
Hullavington has many Rights of Way accessible from the village. These provide some some delightful walks and in 1995, John Greenwood and Alan Roberts compiled a small booklet of walks around the village using these public rights of way. The booklet was sold to raise money for the church.
At a recent parish council meeting a question was asked about the whereabouts of a particular footpath, which made me think of this booklet. I was able to find all the walks on the internet and over the next few months they will be appearing in the village Newsletter.
Thanks to John and Alan for their permission to reproduce them, to Margaret Roberts, who typed them originally and to Paul Hadley for adding footnotes to update them. If you are tempted to try some of the walks please remember to take a pair of secateurs with you and cut back any overgrowth as you go, this all helps to keep the footpaths and stiles clear for others.
In the text, the names of fields and roads printed in italics are those given on the 1842 Parish of Hullavington Tithe Map and other contemporary maps, being included for historical interest and to encourage their use.
On the link below, if you search for Hullavington, it will take you to the footpaths, with Rights of Way numbers.
Maggie Bawden Rawsthorne
Walk One – Parsons Walk, Danes Bottom, and Hill Hayes Lane
Distance: 1½ miles
Go down Parsons Walk, which leaves The Street between the Star Inn and the Church almost opposite London House. Through the kissing gate and turn left after crossing the little stream as you enter Court Field and go along the field edge at the back of Parklands. A stile at the end brings you out into Will (or Mill) Lane almost opposite the imposing gate pillars of Oak Tree House. Turn right and follow the lane past the little wood called Priors Corner (flooding here after heavy rain). Ignore the bridleway forking left and continue down the stony track Danes Bottom Lane. Just before you reach the Gauze Brook at Danes Bottom, turn into the field on your right through a gate. The next 400 yards can be very squelchy in places, as you follow the hedge until you emerge in Hill Hayes Lane (sometimes spelt Hillays). Turn right up the lane, past the cottages and as the road turns sharply left go through the little stile by the gateway on your right. Here you will have a fine view of the trout pond, Court Farm, and the Church. Another 250 yards brings you back to the kissing gate, carefully repaired by Bobby Hall a few years ago, and you return via Parsons Walk to your starting point.
Walk Two – Happylands Bridge
Distance: 3 miles
This is a longer version of Walk One, so follow previous instructions but on this occasion at the end of Danes Bottom Lane, in the small thicket on the left, take the stile set in the stone wall. Go forward to cross the Gauze Brook over the stone bridge and with the hedge and small tributary stream on your right, walk uphill for about 200 yards. Turn right over the stile by the gateway into a large triangular field The Four Shells and proceed more steeply uphill keeping to the right-hand hedge. At the top, you enter The Sands field through a gateway. Look for rabbits here – there’s quite a colony and if you’re lucky and quiet you might see a fox. As you cross this field to the pond in the right-hand corner, the small wood on the left is called The Haywards Patch. Divert left for 50 yards to gate to enter next field Townleaze. Following the right-hand hedge, turn right across the railway. Once in the lane turn right and in about a mile you will be back in the village. As you descend the steep hill, note on your left Windmill Brake where pheasants are often bred and the bore hole by the Gauze Brook which keeps the downstream stretches flowing freely when the upper reaches are dry.
Walk Three – Frog Lane, Watery Lane and Newtown
Distance: 1½ miles
Start by the village garage and go along Frog Lane towards the airfield. Just before entering the MOD property take the stile on your left into Frog’s Close and follow the right-hand hedge – more rabbits here – along the back of Mays Farm through May’s Close. Keep to the camp boundary fence over a stile and footbridge, through narrow track for about another 100 yards before emerging over a stile into a large field New Enclosures. Straight on here down the edge of the field with the little stream on your left. The Stile at the far end leads you into an old marshy track Watery Lane and after another 100 yards you climb a stile and emerge onto the main road out of the village. With great regard for road safety, you now turn left and follow the road for about ¼ mile; up Macadam Hill, past the cemetery Little Topsoil and cross the junction going towards Norton. Where the road bends right you will see a stile on your left. Cross the stile and head through the field Deadlands towards Newtown, passing the School field on your left. Turn sharp right past the front of the last cottages in Newtown and follow the little stream through two fields Inhooks into Hill Hayes Lane. Here you can either follow the lane back to The Street, or cross it and go on to enter The Street up Parsons Walk or, if you live in Parklands, go the extra ¼ mile emerging into Will Lane at the end of that estate near Gardners Farm.
Walk Four – Over the Downs to Corston
Distance: 5 Miles
From the village Garage go along Frog Lane and follow the instructions for Walk 3 until you reach the main road out of the village. Turn right and then left to follow the Malmesbury turn for a few yards and, at the first bend of the road, go straight ahead to enter the field Tyning across the stile by the gateway. With the hedge on your left, proceed for ¼ mile until you enter a small patch Chowell just before the track goes under the railway through Chowell Bridge. When you emerge at the other side into Chowell Mead take te stile and the footbridgeon the right by the gateway and turn left. Two stiles are very evident as you cross old pastures The Down into a larger field which you traverse bearing diagonally left to the corner to cross a stile and a footbridge into the next field (both also called The Down). On your roght a few hundred yards away you will see the bid greenhouses of Kingway Nursery. The field route now runds parallel to the A429 and the gentle ridge, known locally as The Downs, offers good views of the surrounding countryside. As you keep the hedge on your left, the path along the next field Sunny Down ends in a small thicket which you pass through, also crossing the Parish Boundary into St. Paul Malmesbury Without, and then gently downhill to a gate into the next field. The path at this stage has a boundary fence on your right as you cross a field about 1¼ mile long. At the end you will see a gate which leads you across a field for about 200 yards, over the stile and into a small hawthorn and hazel copse. Go straight ahead and after 100 yards you will be out of this, cross a stile, descend a grassy slope to the main road. The Radnor Arms is 100 yards on your right. From the Radnor Arms walk 200-300 yards towards Malmesbury, over the bridge, then turn left into Mill Lane. In the next 200-300 yards you will pass some old cottages. Those on your left will include the old mill. Soon you will see the on your left a bridleway which you follow with the Gauze Brook first on your left and then on your right. The bridleway runs lower and parallel to the outward path. Pass through a gate, then follow the left-hand hedge until it becomes a boundary fence. Take the gate in this fence into the adjoining field and cross to the hunting gate at the end which leads into a larger field High Down. At this gate you re-enter Hullavington Parish. As the ground rises, you will see the beginning of the old cart track Down Lane, which will take you back to Cemetery Corner. You then retrace your steps up The Street to your starting point.
Walk Five – To Stock Wood and Return
Distance: 2½ miles
This walk offers views of Gardners Drive and ahead is Stock Wood on the edge of the airfield. In the past, this wood was owned by the Duke of Beaufort and offered a plentiful supply of ash and hazel for the many hurdle makers of Hullavington.
From the village Garage, go along Frog Lane towards the airfield. Just before entering MOD property go into the field called Ryelands over a stile on your right. Keep to the hedge side, in the corner negotiating a stile, footbridge and a stile past a pond. Frogspawn has been found here. As you follow the hedge side two stiles and a footbridge in quick succession take you over a ditch into the next field. By keeping near the hedge on your right you will pass through a gate into a field containing a green barn. Turn left and, with the hedge and deep ditch on your left, proceed towards Stock Wood to cross the stile and the footbridge in the corner of the field. Pass the grass-covered hangar on your left and follow the edge of Stock Wood to the end of the very large field where there is a hunting gate into a small thicket.
Walk six – Circular road walk to Surrendell House
Distance: 4½ miles
This row of three former farm-worker’s cottages was built towards the end of the 19th Century. These have been converted into a house with stables, tennis court and a swimming pool. A traditional single-storey cottage was built nearby. There are several ways of walking there, but just one will be described with some alternative return routes. It is also possible to do a quiet almost-entirely-by-road walk. I will describe this first.
Starting by the bus stop in the middle of the village, cross the road and follow the Hill Hayes Lane far a good mile until it crosses the railway at Happylands bridge becoming Town Leaze Lane. Another half-mile takes you to a T-junction. Here turn left for about 300 yards and at the next junction another left turn brings you into Pig Lane. The only dwelling along this stretch is Farleaze Farm, once the home of the late Colonel Whitbread, brewer and race-horse owner, who rode in the Grand National twice in the 1020’s. The railway is crossed again soon after the Farleaze entrqance and two barns are passed before the road expires for about ¼ mile as Surrendell is approached and you notice a small pond on your left. Continue on the same line through Cow Leaze. As you arrice at Surrendell House the road begins again. You will soon descend to cross the Gauze Brook which at this point is usually dry from April until October and climb a short hill where the map shows athe past existence of a quarry on your left. ¼ mile later you will take the left turn into Vlow Lane which brings you gently downhill back into the village past Gardners Farm.
Walk Seven – Across the fields to Surrendell House
Distance: 3 miles
Go down Parsons Walk. At the end of the lane go straight ahead and across Court Field keeping to the right of the electricity pole this is gently uphill for most of the way. After crossing the stile go down the field and out of the gate at the bottom left corner. On the right the stile set in the stone wall in the small thicket then takes you to the bridge over Gauze Brook (*fn1.) Bearing diagonally left with the hedge and tributary stream on your right you go through four field gates as you climb steadily through Larks Leaze. Primroses grow on the banks of the ditch in early Spring and sloes are often abundant in Autumn hereabouts. In the fourth field Hedgemoor take your line between the skimpy hedge on your left and the rough, tussocky, marshy patch on your right. Snipe, woodcock and mallard often feed here. At the far end of this large field take the stile and turn left into the next field Cow Leaze with Surrendell Farm 300 yards on your right and you will see Surrendell House ahead. Turn left through the gateway, where a signpost reads “Danes Bottom ¾ mile”, cross the field Davies Dean and go through the gateway to the next field Dean Mead. Here pick up the course of the Gauze Brook on your rightand arrive at the stone bridge in Danes Bottom. Turn right and cross the stile set in the stone wall to reach the track Deans Bottom Lane which takes you back to the village via Priors Corner and Parklands. For an interesting view on clear days (when the hedge is trimmed) pause by the large ash tree in the left-hand hedge 100 yards beyond Priors Corner and look east into the far distance where the Cherhill White Horse and monument can be seen. Alternatively, you can either follow the road back from the House (already described in Walk Six) or take the bridleway which begins on your left, about 250 yards from the House. The entrance is not obvious (*fn2) but after 20 yards up a steepish bank you will find a small hunting gate and if the way ahead is not clear take a straight line towards Priors Corner, an obvious patch of woodland ¾ mile ahead, past the filled-in quarry through Wainslinch, Nadhooks and Oaehedge. The last 300 yards comprise a cart-track Oarhedge Lane which brings you to the Corner. Originally Oarhedge Lane (*fn3) was double-hedged most of the way to Pig Lane; it being the route walked by the children who lived at Surrendell when they came to the village school; but in muddy weather Vlow Lane was used. Each of these routes takes about the same time.
*fn1 The landscape here has changed from arable to livestock. But the route is now more obvious if less natural.
*fn2 There is now a bridle way sign
*fn3 Oarhedge Lane was probably created (c1670) so that the farms at Surrendell could bring their tithes to Hullavington. Although today it stops well short of Pig Lane, in former times it would probably have followed the course of the bridle way to Pig Lane.
Walk Eight – Bradfield Wood and Malmesbury Common
Distance: 4 miles
Bradfield Wood lies about 2 miles north of the village and is worth a visit in early Spring. On a chilly, windy April day drifts of bluebells scented the air and wood anemones and primroses provided varied colours. The walk can be shortened if you take the car to the Station drive and start there. Hardier souls will go down Parsons Walk near “The Star” turn right and follow the field paths vehind Court Farm Lake, Latimer Gardens, Newtown and the school playing field before meeting the Norton road, going under the railway and passing the little Brookside estate. Turn right almost immediately after crossing the Gauze Brook (you see the footpath sign) and take the stile to the rear of the Bradfield cottages (now a large bungalow) car park and then the stile in the barbed wire fence. For the first 1/4 mile or so the trail runs parallel to the brook at the distance of about 100 yards. You can’t miss, especially in Spring, the noisy rookery which occupies the line of trees on your right. Where this large field Cowleaze ends, you take the stile and bridge, bend left across Wheel Mead and soon cross a drainage ditch. Here you go diagonally right to the far corner of another big field Lower East Field, about 600 yards ahead. The path is not evident when crops are growing but there is a stile at the corner which will only become visible a few paces before you get there. Turn right to the gateway at the end of this field East Slade, then left and a small footbridge takes you over the ditch and a gate leads into the further field.
The next part of the walk is very pleasant as you follow the hedge slightly uphill and proceed in the field along the edge of the Wood, which provides welcome shelter from prevailing westerly winds. Through a stile and you meet the byway track from Foxley to Corston on the edge of Malmesbury common. Here turn left and in a few yards you will see the track into Bradfield Wood. Like all woodland paths it will be muddy in wet weather. It’s peaceful in the Wood and the track is well defined. Once again in the open field East Slade go straight ahead for 200 yards, cross the drainage ditch (there is a bridge) go through the gateway and follow the right-hand hedge. At the next ditch you are less than 100 yards from the outward path and may wish to re-join it, or you can take the cart track through several gateways to enter the large field Cowleaze again. There is no possibility of losing your right of the yellow bungalow. From here retrace your steps to the village.
June Badeni’s book “Wiltshire Forefathers” contains some interesting historical matter on Bradfield Manor. It was originally a French Monastery but was confiscated by Henry VII (not the VIII) sbout 1450 and its whole estate given to Eton which Henry VI founded at the time
Walk Nine – Norton, Maidford, Gorsey Leaze and Corston*fn1
Distance: 7.5miles (This walk offers good views of the countryside north of the village.)
Go through Belfry Drive opposite the Garage into Hill Hayes Lane. In less than 100 yards turn sharp right into the field Inhooks and follow the path and little stream behind Latimer Gardens and Newtown. As you reach Newtown, it is best to cross the stream on your right by the bridge and then follow the path at the edge of the field with the houses if Newtown immediately on your right. When the path intersects the access drive, look left and you will see a gate. There is a stile to its left. Go over the stile into a narrow field (once a water meadow) follow the barbed wire fence on your left to a stile. The route then crosses a stream. When there are crops in the field it is easy to see the path as the farmer is particularly good a t keeping footpaths clearly marked, but if it is winter or the field sown to pasture. Look for a pylon directly ahead and head towards it. When you get to the pylon or just beyond it, you will see the sewage works in the distance to the right. Now head downhill towards the left boundary of the sewage farm, continue on to Gauze Brook and the wooden bridge. After about 30 yards you will see a foot tunnel on your right taking you beneath the railway which emerges at the back of Bradfield Farm into West Field*fn2. Your path for the next ¾ mile runs parallel to the Hullavington-Norton road at about ¼ mile distance *fn3.
Continue with the hedge bordering an old orchard on your right to the stile in the corner of the field. Cross into Far West Field and straight on, keeping the hedge on your right until this hedge on your right breaks to the right. Now go straight ahead following the hedge on your left. You will see a small narrow field Little Baileys on your left which you pass by. Ahead of you is a large field. Stop here and look more or less straight ahead where you should be able to see a gap in the hedge which contains a stile. Head for this stile, which is the parish boundary. Once over the stile, follow the hedge on the right and at the last corner of the third field on the right (counting from the stile) gain access through tow wired up gates*fn4. This is just before conifer spinney. Cross this field diagonally to your right to a gate which brings you out on the road near Norton opposite West Lodge. *fn5. Here you must turn right heading back towards the village for ¼ mile before turning into a field gate on your left towards Maidford Clump, an old plantation used, I should guess, for rearing pheasants. Detour to the right of the Clump as it is rather overgrown.
The next part of this ramble is particularly delightful. Head diagonally left across pleasant parkland, to the hedge opposite. You will see the old house of Maidford to your left as you cross this old parkland. Head diagonally left for the hedge opposite where you will find a stile and footpath marker *fn6. Go over the stile and head diagonally right across the field keeping the woodland (Maidford Brake) to your right. You will see a house straight ahead (Gorsey Leaze) head towards it. Pass through a gate into another field keeping the boundary hedge of Gorsey Leaze to your right. Go through another gate that brings you out onto a wide byway. The map shows that at this point you are exactly due north of Hullavington. You have now completed half the walk. At Gorsey Leaze turn right along the byway track and see the extensive fields and lanes of Malmesbury Common on your left. On a clear day, you will see the spire of Malmesbury Bell Tower two miles away. This byway eventually goes to Corston. You follow it for about a mile and a half. You’ll soon go past the head of Bradfield Wood on the right where the byway makes a sharp left. Stay on the byway until it comes to a road. At this point there is a stile in the hedge on your right just before a gated drive way. Take the stile into the field and keeping the hedge on your immediate left follow it across the field to a stile in the hedge opposite where you will join a metalled track. Go left along this track until you reach Corston. This is a longish walk and you may wish to stop at the Radnor Arms. To return to Hullavington, use the description given for the Corston Walk Four.
*fn1 In the original walks guide this route did not extend to Corston. I have changed it to provide a longer walk with a mid-way hostelry for refreshment. Also, although a delightful route, the original is difficult to navigate and needs a lot of maintenance work to make it comfortably passable. Once this is sorted out the walk description will be reinstated.
*fn2 There has been a change here in that a wooden fence has been erected to section off part of the field. There is a stile to get you over the fence.
*fn3 Just follow the hedge keeping it on your right.
*fn4 There in now a stile to get you through the hedge and no need to use the barbed wire gates.
*fn5 This is wrong. The FP does go diagonally across the field, but not to the gate by West Lodge. It goes further down to where the Hullavington/Norton Road crosses the brook over a bridge. There is a stile here to get you from the field and onto the road.
*fn6 The OS map (explorer 168) shows the footpath as going diagonally across the field to the boundary garden fence of the house called Maidford, then turning and making a 90-degree dogleg to the right until it strikes the stile/gate in the hedge. It is much easier to head directly across to the stile and avoiding the dogleg. From a past conversation with the owner of Maidford they prefer that we do just this as it protects their privacy.
Walk Ten – Surrendell and Dunley Wood
Distance: 5 miles
This walk explores the interesting and varied countryside to the west of the village. A number of routes have already been described to reach Surrendell House. The quickest is probably the bridleway Oarhedge Lane which begins by the copse called Priors Corner. (See Walk Seven.)
From Surrendell cottages, go over the cattle grid and follow the track to Surrendell Farm. In the field on the left just after the grid observe an ancient Standing Stone under a hawthorn bush, known locally as “The Roman’s Grave”; lore and legend maintain that it should never be ploughed up. This ceased to be a working farmhouse in the early 1960’s when John and Dorothy Rawlins moved into Mays Farm in the village, having been there since just after the Second World War. John farmed the land at Surrendell for several years whilst the house stood empty. Since 1970 it has been occupied and restored. You can read a little of the history of Surrendell in June Badeni’s “Wiltshire Forefathers”; there was almost certainly a scattering of cottages there 150 years ago.
Follow the wide track up to the gates of Surrendell Farm. Just before these gates there is a gate on your left that leads into a pasture Cow ground. Go through it and walk along the farm house garden boundary keeping it on your right until you pass through another gate. There are some good views here down into the valley cut over the centuries by the Gauze Brook. Once through this gate head towards the metalled track and follow it to the end *fn1 where it joins with a tarmac drive heading left. Follow the drive left past the converted barn and the large house (once was 2 farm cottages) on your left.
Take the bridleway to the left. Along the edge of The Forty Acres and enter Dunley Wood about 400 yards ahead. The old cart track is clearly defined here with steep gradients.
Note the attractive old bridge as you cross the upper reaches of the Gauze Brook which runs through the wood, though it’s usually dry for half the year. The wood is a haven for rabbits, foxes and badgers, as well as pheasants and many different kinds of birds. If you’re lucky you might see a roe deer.
The track leaves the wood, becoming double hedged and eventually joins the bridleway and access road to Roberts Berry Farm (formerly Clapcote) turn left towards Roberts Berry Farm following the bridleway. Fading daffodils and flowering cherries line the road in late April. Follow the bridleway to the farm, it goes between the farm buildings with the old farm house on your right. At the end of the track, you’ll see a modern dwelling on the right and a gate straight ahead, go through it into the field and look for another gate about 20 yards on the right which takes you into a small field. Head diagonally left to the visible stile at the top of this field and cross into the next field. From here the actual footpath goes diagonally left for about 200 yards to the gate (but it is often easier to walk around the edge of the field keeping the hedges on your right) that leads on to Pig Lane where you re-enter Hullavington Parish.
You now have a choice. By road, you turn left and then right in about ¼ mile to follow the winding Vlow Lane for ¾ mile back to the village via Gardners Farm. Otherwise, you cross the road into Mr Hawker’s fields and by a series of zigzagging paths around Hullavington Field shown on the map but to tedious to describe, you should emerge from Water Furrows onto the Grittleton road. Turn left and it is ¼ mile back to the village.
Fn1 The old OS maps show the footpath as going diagonally left across the fields to a gap between the 2 cottages. This footpath has now been officially re-routed to that described in route description above.