Skip to content
Calstone and Cherhill Downs
Calstone and Cherhill Downs | © National Trust

Calstone and Cherhill Downs trail

This circular walk takes you through the ancient landscapes of Oldbury Castle and the Wansdyke with views from the top of Cherhill. Look out for displays of wild flowers and butterflies in late spring, and marsh fritillary and Adonis blue butterflies in early June.

Total steps: 21

Total steps: 21

Start point

Smallgrain picnic area, grid ref: SU 01938 67117

Step 1

In the furthest corner of the picnic area there are a small set of steps. Head up the steps, past a large tree with a picnic table underneath on your right. Head down another set of steps onto a byway. Turn right onto the byway and head up the hill.

Step 2

Ignore the two gates either side of the track and carry straight on along the byway, eventually passing through a small wooded area.

Step 3

Just past the wood, you will see a stile on your left, signposted as a public footpath. Climb over and continue straight down the hill following the track.

Step 4

At the bottom of the hill, with a small wood in front of you, the track bears round to the left and then to the right, continuing down the hill with the woods on your right.

Step 5

Turn right onto a grassy path and through a small gate to the right of a larger gate signposted as a public footpath. 20yd further on go through the large metal gate on your left, also signposted as a public footpath. Follow the field edge to the right until you reach a wooden gate. Go through this gate into the church car park; the church will be on your right, turn left and head down the lane.

Step 6

Once you reach the road (signposted as a no through road), turn right and walk down the road, until you reach South Farm. The road then turns into a track just past the farm and almost immediately forks.

Step 7

Take the left-hand fork, signposted as a bridleway and follow the path downhill through the woods. Cross the bridge, taking the muddy path that branches right uphill. This path can be very slippery after rain. The path then bears round to the left.

Step 8

At the T-junction turn left and follow the track with a large lake to your left. The track eventually forks right, then bends round to the right.

Step 9

As the path starts to bend sharply to the left, you'll reach a large open area, look to your right for a bridleway marker. Following the bridleway marker turn right up a narrow path between two hedges.

Step 10

Pass through the gate at the end of the path and turn right, continuing uphill towards the Lansdowne Monument ahead. When you reach a pair of large gates pass through the right-hand metal bridle gate and carry on. When you reach the pair of derelict barns on either side of the track continue straight on uphill, following the footpath sign.

Step 11

At the end of the path turn right, then left, through the gate onto Cherhill Down. Follow the track ahead, keeping the fence to your left. The track will head right away from the fence, passing to the left of a copse of trees. You will see the Cherhill white horse in front of you and the Lansdowne Monument on your right. Keep following the track as it heads towards the monument.

Step 12

Just before the hill rises, you'll get to a junction of paths and tracks. Turn left through the wooden gate signposted as a bridleway. Then immediately turn right and head towards the gate and interpretation panel. Go through the gate just beyond the interpretation panel and continue uphill with the fence on your right until you reach the Lansdowne Monument.

Step 13

The track passes to the right of the monument and then forks. Take the left-hand path, following the grassy track through the centre of Oldbury Castle hillfort. The monument should now be directly behind you with the ramparts of the fort curving round on either side.

Step 14

Pass through the inner and outer ditches of the fort following the chalky track as it bends to the right. At the T-junction, turn right following the White Horse Trail sign. Go through the bridle gate ahead and carry on down the hill following the track. Pass through a second gate, signposted as White Horse Trail and continue downhill.

Step 15

On the field boundary in front of you, you will see a byway signpost. Pass through the metal gate next to the post and onto the byway. Carry straight on over the byway and carry on along the track with a copse on your right-hand side.

Step 16

When you reach the T-junction with the A361 in front of you, turn right onto the byway. Carry straight on through the first crossroads, with the Private Farm Road sign on the right and carry straight on up the hill when the main track appears to bear round to the left. At the top of the hill the track then starts to curve round to the left with trees on the right-hand side.

Step 17

Just before a metal gate on your left the track splits, take the right-hand fork, which dips down into a heavily rutted area. At the bottom of the dip, turn right taking a narrow overgrown path into the trees until your reach a metal gate signposted White Horse Trail. This turning is very obscure and hard to find. If you pass the gate on your left on the main track you have missed it and will need to double back.

Step 18

Go through the gate and follow a narrow path through, over and along a series of banks and ditches until you dip down into a final ditch and pass through a metal gate signposted Wansdyke Path. The path climbs back onto the right-hand bank and carries on towards the masts of the wireless station you can see ahead. The largest bank should now be on your left.

Step 19

Dip down into the ditch and through a gate signposted Mid Wilts Way. Head back up onto the right-hand bank and walk along the edge of the ditch with the wireless station on your right. Carry straight on at the crossroads and when you reach the end of the field drop down into the ditch and through the gate signposted Wansdyke Path and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve.

Step 20

Climb back up onto the right-hand bank and follow the grassy chalk path as it winds its way through the reserve, roughly following the line of the ditch and bank with the fence on your left. Ignore any paths branching off to the left or the right.

Step 21

Almost at the end of the reserve you will see a wooden kissing gate on your right. Head down the slope, through the gate and turn left onto the byway. When the path starts heading downhill through a wooded area, take the steps on the left-hand side, signposted Wansdyke Path and follow the path back to the car park.

End point

Smallgrain picnic area, grid ref: SU 01938 67117

Trail map

Calstone and Cherhill Downs trail map
Calstone and Cherhill Downs trail map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

You made it

Share your experience

More near here

The stone circle in autumn evening sunshine at Avebury, Wiltshire

Avebury Ridgeway walk 

Starting at the heart of the World Heritage Site, this walk takes you through the remains of the largest stone circle in the world and along ancient roads into rolling chalk downland.

DistanceMiles: 5 (km: 8)
The rolling hills of the Coombes at Hinton Parva, Wiltshire

The Coombes Hinton Parva trail 

Enjoy a long walk following parts of the Ridgeway National Trail and taking in the undulating scenery and chalk grassland wildlife of the Coombes.

DistanceMiles: 7 (km: 11.2)

Get in touch

South of Cherhill village, Near Calne, Wiltshire

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

A person walking along the South West Coast Path at East Soar, South Devon


Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

Visitors walking along the henge bank at Avebury, Wiltshire

Walking in Wiltshire 

From walking in the footsteps of King Alfred to exploring the county's mysterious ancient monuments, these are some of the best walks in Wiltshire.

Image shows the coombes at Calstone and Cherhill Downs in the late evening sun in autumn, with an almost-bare tree in the foreground and golden countryside beyond

Exploring Calstone and Cherhill Downs 

Cherhill Down can be identified by the chalk white horse and the Lansdowne Monument. Calstone Down is tucked behind, a perfect habitat for birds, insects and flowers.

A visitor carrying a backpack and walking along a footpath at Divis and the Black Mountain with stone walls either side, the countryside visible in the background.

Follow the Countryside Code 

Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.