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A wildflower meadow with lots of purple and yellow flowers surrounding King Alfred's Tower at Stourhead
King Alfred's Tower provides an imperious backdrop to this wildflower meadow | © National Trust Images/Tamsin Holmes

Alfred's Tower walk at Stourhead

This is a circular walk of historic interest which takes you up through beautiful woodlands to Alfred’s Tower and returns through Park Hill Camp Iron Age hillfort and Turner’s Paddock. Alfred’s Tower is a 160ft (49m) high folly, designed by Henry Flitcroft for Henry Hoare II in 1772. It is believed to mark the site where King Alfred the Great rallied his troops in 878. The tower commemorates the accession of George III to the throne in 1760 and the end of the Seven Years War.

Alfred’s Tower car park start point

If you're starting your walk from Alfred’s Tower car park, please head to the tower and start from point 4.

Total steps: 7

Total steps: 7

Start point

Stourhead visitor reception, near Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6QD. Grid ref: ST778340. You can start the walk from Alfred’s Tower car park (grid ref grid reference ST749354): please head to the tower and start from point 4.

Step 1

From the main car park, go through visitor reception. Take the zig-zag path down to the Spread Eagle Inn. Walk through the car park and courtyard. Watching out for traffic, turn left here and walk down the road, passing St Peter’s Church on your left. Continue along the road until just beyond the Rock Arch, where you turn right.

Step 2

Continue walking with Turner’s Paddock lake and the waterwheel on your left. Keep following the track beside the cattle grid, past Beech Cottage on your right and over a stile. Go a little further on the main track and where it forks, take the right-hand track and go through the gate. Follow the track along the top of the field. The ruins of Tucking Mill and cottages are on your left.

Step 3

Go over the stile at the gate and through the mixed conifer woods, keeping on the main track and going straight ahead at any junctions. After a steep ascent of around one mile, the track will come out on to part of the 18th-century Terrace Ride. Turn left here and walk for around ½ mile until you reach Alfred’s Tower.

Step 4

On leaving the Tower, retrace your steps along the Terrace ride (following the blue waymarkers) to where the woodland area on your right ends. Turn right, down the forestry track on the edge of the woodland, keeping the field on your left.

Step 5

Keep following the main track as it bears 90 degrees to the right. Walk along the Broad Ride through the woodland. After around ½ mile (800m) you will reach Park Hill Camp Iron Age hillfort. Go straight through the hillfort. (If sheep are grazing, dog walkers will need to follow a clearly marked small diversion.) After exiting the hillfort by the information panel, keep on the main track for another ½ mile (800m) then follow it round to the right. Descend the hill and go through the gate into Turner’s Paddock.

Step 6

Continue along the track, bearing left where you rejoin the main track. Go through the gate beside the cattle grid, passing Turner’s Paddock lake and the waterwheel on your right. As you reach the road, turn left, going under the Rock Arch. Being mindful of traffic, continue along the road passing St Peter’s Church on your right. At the Spread Eagle Inn, turn right and go through the courtyard and car park and follow the footpath that zig-zags up the hill to visitor reception and the car park.

Step 7

If you are starting your walk from Alfred’s Tower car park, please head to the tower and start from point 4.

End point

Stourhead visitor reception, near Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6QD. Grid ref: ST778340.

Trail map

Stourhead King Alfred's walk map
Stourhead King Alfred's walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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