Cley Hill, Corsley, Warminster, Wiltshire
You can’t miss Cley Hill if you’re driving along the A36 as nothing else in this neck of the woods rises so steeply out of the flat fields. It used to be part of the Longleat estate but was given to the National Trust by the 6th Marquess of Bath in 1954, so they look after it now. These chalk downlands are rich in flora and fauna and Cley Hill has its archaeological appeal too, as there is evidence of an Iron Age fort, two bowl barrows and medieval lynchets here. What’s best are the spectacular views; Wiltshire in one direction, Somerset in the other, just glorious, glorious fields and hills that roll on and on forever. Another lure is the enormity of the night sky from here, so it’s a good place to come if you like stargazing – or UFO spotting!
Don’t be put off by the steepness – it’s short and steep so it shouldn’t take you much more than ten minutes to walk up to the summit. There’s a very small car park roughly quarter of a mile from the bottom of the hill – just be aware that there may be cattle grazing so you should keep your dogs on leads.
The West Country abounds with legend and there’s one attached to Cley Hill. What they say is that the devil was walking this way from Somerset, carrying a big sack of earth, with which he was planning to bury Devizes as he’d heard that the townsfolk had converted to Christianity. He’d walked a long way, so he stopped to ask an old man how far it was to the town; wisely, the old man replied that he’d been walking since he was a young man and still not reached Devizes. The devil abandoned his plan and dropped the sack of earth – and that, they say, is how Cley Hill was formed.
T: 01672 539920 All information correct at the time of writing