Starting at the village of Lacock near Bath and Chippenham, the Bowden Hill walk offers a serene escape to lush meadows, charming canal paths, delightful river views and beautiful scenery. I particularly enjoyed this circular walk for the stunning country scenery and the feeling of total escape. Amid tall grass, captivating woodland and tranquil sheep, everyday worries fade away. This Wiltshire walk is part of the River Avon walk series, exploring one of the key places along the River Avon.
The Bowden Hill walk first explores the quaint village of Lacock and the surrounding verdant fields, before taking you along the peaceful Old Wicks & Berks canal and the meandering River Avon. This circular walk then climbs Bowden Hill and leads you through the Bowden Estate back to Lacock Abbey and the village of Lacock. Throughout this walk, and especially from Bowden Hill, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Wiltshire countryside.
Location: Lacock, Wiltshire
Hike difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 2 ½ to 3 hours
Distance: 5.5 miles (9 km)
Explore the enchanting Lacock village
The Bowden Hill walk starts at the village of Lacock. This picturesque village is a delight to explore. As you wander along the fascinating medieval streets and admire the old-fashioned cottages, you’re transported back in time. The village also houses the captivating Lacock Abbey. The 13th century abbey boasts a striking Gothic cloister as well as a converted Victorian country home. Explore the enthralling landmark with the Lacock Abbey and Village guide by A Dragon’s Escape.
After wandering through the quaint village of Lacock, this country walk leads you over a delightful stream and, leaving the town behind, through verdant fields with lovely views of Bowden Hill and the Wiltshire countryside. As you cross the bridge over the River Avon, you can admire stunning river scenery as well as a charming hamlet with gorgeous thatched cottages.
Stroll along the charming Old Canal
The Bowden Hill walk then guides you along a country path beside the Old Wilks & Berks Canal. Though no longer in use and overgrown with reeds, the Old Canal is a peaceful delight. From there, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Wiltshire country as well as the meandering River Avon.
Please note that you must cross the Old Wilks & Berks Canal at the stone bridge. The canal has been restored further downstream and you can no longer follow the next step of the walk itinerary.
Enjoy beautiful country scenery from Bowden Hill
After crossing several verdant fields housing herds of sheep, this country walk leads you along a tarmac lane up Bowden Hill to farms and farmland. Throughout the climb, the beautiful and far-reaching scenery of the Wiltshire countryside unfolds before your eyes.
The Bowden Hill walk then guides you downhill through more livestock-filled fields and woodland. Along the way, you’ll spot the stately Bowden Park. Built in the 18th century, this country mansion features the typical limestone from Bath. Walking down Bowden Hill, you’ll enjoy further breathtaking views of the country.
This circular walk then reaches a country road that leads you back to the village of Lacock. Walking along the road is the least pleasant part of the walk, especially if the road is busy. On the last stretch, you cross the River Avon and enjoy striking views of Lacock Abbey and the river flowing through the abbey grounds.
Please note that there is no pavement for a section of the walk along the country road.
Suggested changes to the walk itinerary
Find the Bowden Hill walk itinerary on walkweb.org.uk (pdf file). I’d recommend attempting this walk with the clear notes below and a detailed map to minimise the risk of getting lost. You can download my Bowden Hill walk GPX file on my.viewranger.com.
Let me suggest a few changes to the Bowden Hill walk itinerary:
At point 5 of the walk trail, cross the stone bridge and the first stile on your left. Cross the field, keeping the canal to your left, and aim for the stile at the bottom corner of the field next to the canal. Walk through the woodland and at the next stile, you’ve reached point 7.
At point 9, the first intersection doesn’t exist, the road simply continues. Just follow the tarmac road past the first farm (Ash Hill Farm), turn left at the intersection with the country road and walk to the stile before the second farm (Killima Farm).
Bowden Hill walk details
Location: Lacock, Wiltshire
Time: Approximately 2 ½ to 3 hours
Distance: 5.5 miles (9 km)
Ascent: Somewhat steep
Itinerary: Bowden Hill Walk (pdf file)
Trail condition: Good, but the grass and earth trail can get muddy in wet weather
Accessibility: Not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs
Parking: Lacock National Trust car park (pay and display, free for National Trust members), the car park behind the Red Lion or the village streets (free, limited spaces available)
Facilities: Toilets, shops and pubs available in Lacock Village
Notes: Please be mindful of livestock and keep your dogs on a lead
Explore more: Somerset and Wiltshire walks
Somerset and Wiltshire offer many stunning walks with breathtaking scenery of rolling hills, rocky peaks, lush woods and verdant fields. Escape to the beautiful English countryside with the Somerset and Wiltshire walk guides by A Dragon’s Escape.
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Featured image: Walking along the Old Wicks & Berks canal
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