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Aerial view of earthworks in the landscape at Whitesheet Hill, Wiltshire
Aerial view of the earthworks at Whitesheet Hill | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Stourhead Whitesheet Hill walk

Take in the panoramic views over Stourhead estate and surrounding countryside on this walk up Whitesheet Hill. With a Neolithic enclosure, Bronze Age barrows and an Iron Age hillfort to the south, the site is of considerable archaeological interest. The downlands are a rich habitat for wildflowers, including several species of orchid, butterflies such as chalkhill blues, and birds including golden plover in winter.

Starting position

If starting your walk from Whitesheet Hill car park, please begin from the middle of step 2.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

Stourhead visitor reception, grid ref: ST778340

Step 1

From the main car park, go through visitor reception. Follow the zig-zag path, go over the bridge into the walled garden and follow signs to Stourhead House. Join the main driveway towards the house and go through the metal kissing gate diagonally to the right. Following the waymarkers, head for the stile on the right of Drove Lodge. Go over the stile and through the woodland path to the main road. Carefully turn left along the road towards Drove Lodge.

Step 2

Being mindful of traffic, cross the road and go through the gate opposite Drove Lodge. Go along the 18th-century drove track lined with beech trees and follow the path to the top of the hill into Beech Clump. Continue straight ahead to Whitesheet Hill car park. In the car park go over the furthest stile by the National Trust sign and ascend. Please keep to the main path as the area is a sensitive butterfly habitat. Continue through a disused chalk quarry and make your way to the top. From here head for the hillfort, which is to the right of the radio mast, along the escarpment edge.

Step 3

From the hillfort return along the fence, passing the reservoir and radio mast on your right. Keeping the fence on your right, take time to admire the views of the estate, with King Alfred’s Tower on the skyline. Go over the stile by the information panel and onto the byway, where you turn left. Walk down the hill, passing the 18th-century milestone on your right and back to Whitesheet Hill car park.

Step 4

Retrace your steps back to the Beech Clump and continue downhill for approximately 300yd (270m). Go over the stile and then turn left through a gate in to a field, opposite Jimmy’s Pits. This area is specifically managed for tree sparrows. Walk along the edge of the field towards the farm buildings. On reaching Search Farmhouse, turn right onto the track.

Step 5

Continue along the track, then carefully cross the main road on to Stourton High Street. Going straight ahead follow this road back to the main visitor car park.

End point

Stourhead visitor reception, grid ref: ST778340

Trail map

Stourhead Whitesheet Hill walk map
Stourhead Whitesheet Hill walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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near Mere, Wiltshire, BA12 6QD

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