Black Dog Woods, Chapmanslade, Warminster, Wiltshire

Just outside the village of Chapmanslade in Wiltshire are Black Dog Woods, mostly used by dog walkers and hikers on a longer route. The trail around the woods is only 1.8km so it’s okay if you want to stretch your legs or if the kids need to let off a bit of steam, but it’s not exactly what you’d call exercise. If you’re quiet enough you might see the usual woodland wildlife – deer, badgers, squirrels and that, and you could get the young ‘uns involved by showing them how to identify trees and plants. In the spring the floor is carpeted with bluebells which is always a nice sight.
Why Black Dog Woods? Well, there are lots of associations with black dogs all over the West Country, but in this case there’s a very macabre tale attached. Legend has it that in times of yore, a farmer’s young daughter who lived in the parish had two gentlemen wishing to marry her; they sought to settle their claim by fighting a duel – one man was shot dead instantly and his black dog then savaged the other man and killed him. The young girl was so distraught at losing both her suitors this way that she took her own life and was buried at a crossroads, known locally as ‘Dead Maid’s. The dog, they say, to this day, still haunts the woods, its eyes glowing red and fiery, big as saucers. Makes you shudder.

All information correct at the time of writing

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