Join photographers Glyn Coy and Paul Timlett as they work their way around this ancient, historic county and talk about what they have found.
Some of our Favourite Woods
Glyn, Elaine and Paul are back with another episode of the Hidden Wiltshire podcast, and once again have returned to record outside at a mystery location. You’ll have to listen to find out where we were. There are lots of links to things we discussed in this episode in these show notes.
Before we moved onto the main topic we had the usual run down on what we’ve been up to since the last podcast. And there was an awful lot to talk about so some of it was consigned to the cutting room floor!
Glyn led a Wiltshire Museum walk with David Dawson which was timed to enable a visit to Oare House whose gardens were open to the public for the day. They took in some of the scenes for paintings by Eric Ravilious who was invited to stay there in 1932. The walk took in Gopher Wood, one of the most stunning sites for bluebells in the county.
Glyn also ventured north, not to Yorkshire but to Royal Wootton Bassett to deliver his Wiltshire Blind House talk at the library.
Meanwhile Elaine has been as busy as ever and has posted a few new blogs on the website including one based on the border of Hampshire where she followed the Shire Rack footpath and discovered connections with Jack the Ripper! You can read her blog here: The Borderlands, Shire Rack and Jack the Ripper
Elaine also touched the border of Dorset with a soggy but inspiring visit to Mere, a town worthy of an entire blog in itself. You can read about her visit on the Hidden Wiltshire Facebook page.
Glyn also finally wrote up his visit to another Wiltshire town, the beautiful and historic Malmesbury with tales of flying monks and tigers. You will find his blog on the website here Malmesbury - St Aldhelm, King Athelstan and Eilmer the Flying Monk
Paul has only recently returned from his Spring residency in France (complete with wife who broke her ankle there) so had little to share that was Wiltshire related. However, it was interesting to discover that on Wiltshire Day, 5 June, the Thames Path National Trail tweeted a recommendation of Paul’s walk around Inglesham Church and the Thames Path which you will find in his blog on the website here Medieval Inglesham - Three Counties Walk
Long term followers of Hidden Wiltshire may be familiar with the story of Alan Dodson who contacted us after our podcast about Imber, podcast number 2! Alan lived in Warminster for a few years as a child when his father was transferred here in the last war. Alan was trying to locate a cottage he used to visit somewhere on the Imber Range, long since demolished. Some people may be aware of the archaeological dig which is taking place at Imber at the moment led by Operation Nightingale, the veterans’ charity. Paul contacted them about Alan’s story and within a day or so two people both identified a possible location for the cottage. Paul has written to Alan to see if he thinks this is the place.
Finally in our round up we wanted to mention the work of some friends – Hedley Thorne (Hedley Thorne), and Paul and Rebecca Whitewick (Paul and Rebecca Whitewick). They are prolific bloggers, You Tubers and podcasters (Wessex Ways) writing and filming about ancient trails, railways and canals amongst other things, much of it in Wiltshire. We share a common passion about rights of ways and in particular blocked or lost footpaths and bridleways. In the podcast we had an extended chat about this, particularly as both Elaine and Glyn have had walks thwarted by blocked rights of ways recently. We mentioned the tool that has been developed by The Ramblers called Don’t Lose Your Way which seeks to save lost paths before the Government closes the book forever in 2031 on any chance of having them reinstated. You can read about the tool here Don't Lose Your Way.
We then began our discussion of some of our favourite woods in Wiltshire. Elaine chose the much loved Bentley Wood just to the south of Salisbury close to the border with Hampshire, a historic Royal hunting ground mentioned in the Domesday Book
Some of Wiltshire's Nature Reserves
We’re back. After a break of what feels like years, but may only be about five months, we’re reinvigorated and ready to beguile our audience with more Hidden Wiltshire nonsense.
Towards the end of 2022 Glyn and Paul had reached burn out after 41 episodes. We needed a break to think about what to do and where to go next, whilst sticking firmly to Wiltshire. Whilst we were away from the podcast we continued to pepper the Facebook page and website with blogs. But if we’re honest our survival was mainly due to the new member of the Hidden Wiltshire family – Elaine Perkins. Elaine has been posting blogs for some time now and has brought fresh impetus to what we do. But we weren’t going to let her get away with just that!
So, please welcome Elaine to the podcast. This is her first and she took to it like a duck to water.
We had planned to record this episode on location at Morgan’s Hill to the north of Devizes. But with winds of 60mph and heavy rain forecast we decided the top of a hill was not the most sensible place to be! As it was, despite being ensconced in a spare bedroom at home, Paul still sounds like he was recording in a wind tunnel.
As usual we began this episode by looking back at what we’ve been doing since the previous episode. And since that was in November 2022 the answer is - quite a lot. So we had a not so quick run through the blogs. You’ll find links to them below.
Firstly, Elaine revisited Vernditch Chase in an effort to find the mythical Kitt’s Grave (spoiler alert – she failed). Different maps show the grave in different places so is it any wonder it is so difficult to find? Folklore says it is the grave of a young woman who killed herself and, as was the custom, was buried on the parish boundary at a junction of tracks. Others say that it is a prehistoric long barrow, and one person at least claims to have found it in the adjacent wood. Will you find it?
Next Elaine wrote about her visit to Great Durnford and Ogbury Camp, an Iron Age univallate hill fort south west of Amesbury located above the Woodford Valley. The manor of Great Durford has existed since the 11th century and whilst in the village church Elaine believes she may have found evidence of a 16th century murder!
Then Elaine ventured to Clarendon Palace and the forest, which she visited shortly after Storm Eunice. A hunting ground for Saxon and later Norman kings, it would once have formed part of a much larger area of forest but it is now little more than a wood.
Next it was Paul’s turn and in February he returned to Fisherton de la Mare for the first time in nearly 30 years, where he met the current owners of a house he so very nearly bought all those years ago. From here, it was a walk across the flood plain of the Wylye River, along the road then up to the small National Nature Reserve of Wylye Down.
During Valentine’s week Elaine decided on a walk to Lover, Bohemia and Paradise all in one day! Lover is famous for its Valentine’s Day stamps that can be bought and posted from the village for those of a romantic disposition. It transpires that Paradise was misnamed, it being a wood plastered with “Private” signs.
Then Paul (together with his trusted walking buddy Stu) undertook what turned into an epic walk taking in West Lavington, Market Lavington and the Wessex Ridgeway. In heavy snow it felt like an arctic expedition. Plans to visit the churches in both villages were thwarted as they were both locked. Which is a shame as All Saint’s Church in West Lavington contains a stunning engraved window, the work of Simon Whistler nephew of the artist Rex Whistler. It can though be seen from the A360 below as you sit in queues of traffic trying to squeeze through the narrow bends to the south of the village.
Finally, Paul did the relatively short George Herbert Walk in Salisbury, following in the footsteps of poet, rector, writer and musician George Herbert who, in the early 1630s, walked tw
Alton Barnes, Alton Priors, Wansdyke and the Pewsey Vale
This episode is a bit of a special, as most of it was recorded outside over a year ago and it contains a special guest - David Carson MBE.
David's family have farmed the land around Milk Hill for over 100 years, and we recorded a video with him in 2021, where he took us through much of the local history around the villages of Alton Barnes, Alton Priors and the Pewsey Vale. The video can be found on YouTube (link here: Hidden Wiltshire video)
This podcast is the audio from that video, which it was always planned to release as a podcast special at some point !
But we also have an important announcement to make. After 41 episodes and almost two years, the Hidden Wiltshire podcast is coming to a pause. We will still be creating content for the website at www.hiddenwiltshire.com and we have plans to do more video so if you follow the website you can keep up to date with the latest information. We may be back in the future with some podcast specials.
Thanks for listening !
Glyn’s photographs can be seen on his Instagram feed @coy_cloud
He is also very active on Twitter where his username is @Glyndle
Paul’s photography can be found on his website at Paul Timlett Photography and on Instagram at @tragicyclist
Steve Dixon’s sound art can be found on Soundcloud where his username is River and Rail Steve Dixon River and Rail. His photographs can be found on Instagram at @stevedixon_creative and his graphic design business website is at Steve Dixon Creative
And finally you’ll find the Hidden Wiltshire online shop here Hidden Wiltshire Shop
and a link to Glyn’s blog about the latest book and how to purchase a copy here Hidden Wiltshire from near and far
Aldbourne Circular Route and the Abandoned Village of Snap
Back to recording indoors this month, and back to recording from different countries. Whilst Glyn remains in Wiltshire Paul is once again doing battle with French rural internet which seems to be arriving by means of a telephone cable lying in a ditch outside the village. But it’s amazing what Glyn can do with his editing software so the audio was fine.
Bearing in mind Paul has been away for a few weeks and Glyn has been tied up with work, there was a surprising amount to report in terms of activity since last month’s podcast.
Once again Elaine Perkins has been busily producing some terrific blogs and Facebook posts including a little history and fascinating secrets to be found in Fisherton Anger in Salisbury (Facebook post); a blog about The Village of Alderbury on the website (link below); and a blog about The Borbach Chantry also on the website (link below). Elaine seemed to spend a lot of her time trying to link two sections of a right of way interrupted by a river!
Contributors to the Closed Facebook Group will have seen some stunning aerial shots by Hedley Thorne of Hippenscombe and Fosbury Camp, and Wansdyke. The latter was part of a collaboration with You Tubers Paul and Rebecca Whitewick who posted a fascinating video about Open Access areas. You can find a link to the video below.
Facebook Contributor Colin Fry posted some images of Stanley Bridge and nearby Tytherton Lucas which were in the area of Paul’s blog entitled Maud Heath’s Causeway.
Meanwhile Paul has gone all spiritual and posted a couple more blogs featuring churches on his doorstep – the two churches at Orcheston, and St Andrew’s Church, Orcheston. Links to the blogs can be found below. But it wasn’t all about churches. Paul and his walking buddy Stu undertook a long day’s walk from Shrewton to Stapleford and back to search for the end of the River Till where it joins the River Wylye. The walk was particularly long as it involved an hour or so in the pub! A link to this blog can be found below.
To be fair to Glyn he did actually manage to get out and led the final Wiltshire Museum Guided Walk on Fyfield Down taking in the Devil’s Den and the Polissoir Stone.
But before we moved onto this week’s main subject we talked about cats. Large black cats. Whilst reading Robert Macfarlane’s beautiful book The Old Ways – A Journey on Foot, Paul came across Macfarlane’s story about his encounter with what he was certain was a black panther on the Marlborough Downs. There have been many sightings of these big cats in Wiltshire including one by Paul outside Shrewton. So Glyn has decided to start a new thread about black panther sightings on Facebook. Meanwhile there’s a link to Robert Macfarlane’s superb book below.
Finally we got onto the main subject of this episode of the podcast. A walk Paul and Stu did in March 2022 starting from Aldbourne taking in Liddington Castle and the abandoned village of Snap. You can follow the map and walk description in Paul’s blog, linked below. This is a walk rich in history from the Bronze Age right up to World War II. Aldbourne was the base for the US Army’s 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, or Easy Company as they came to be known, and as featured in the film series Band of Brothers. And of course the walk was accompanied by some spectacular wide reaching views of Wiltshire.
In the discussion about the walk Paul mentioned a website containing some great historical facts about the history to be found along the way in this walk. The site in question was actually that for Aldbourne Heritage Centre and we’ve included a link below.
Then on to the wrap up for this episode:
Steve Dixon’s piece leading into our main subject is called “Round the Downs”. As ever the piece in the introduction and at the end of the podcast is entitled “The Holloway”.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the Hidden Wiltshire online shop on the website if you’d lik
Ludgershall Castle and Collingbourne Wood
This could be the last outside recording of the podcast this year, unless of course this crazy weather continues. We found a spectacular location to record with views of a stunning sunset as we chatted. As ever, you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out where we were, a place so hidden even Glyn didn’t know it existed.
During our review of the last month in Wiltshire we talked about the walks and blogs that Glyn, Paul and star contributor Elaine Perkins have posted on the Hidden Wiltshire Facebook pages and website. These include a walk undertaken by Elaine in the Nadder Valley taking in Dinton and Compton Chamberlayne; visits to four churches by Paul in search of historic graffiti – the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary Old Dilton, St Mary’s Maddington, and the churches of St George and St Mary in Orcheston, each fascinating in their own way; two walks by Paul – one along Maud Heath’s Causeway and the other to Marden/Hatfield Henge, the largest henge in the British Isles. And last but not least Glyn’s walk which is the main subject of this month’s podcast. You’ll find links to these blogs below.
We also take the opportunity to name check a few people - Adrian the Brush and Ann who Paul and his walking buddy Stu met at the Moravian Church in East Tytherton; Hidden Wiltshire follower Mark Routledge of Gallybagger Learther in Devizes; and someone who has featured several times in the podcast and in blogs – sculpture, poet, wit and raconteur Mark Whelehan for whom Glyn and Paul were asked to write the blurb for the back of his new book of poems. Mark made an appearance in the Folly Wood blog and Paul’s photograph of him appears on the back of the book.
On the subject of ancient graffiti Tony Hack of the Wiltshire Medieval Graffiti Survey is doing a talk at the Bratton History Association on 18 September 2022. That should be a fascinating talk. You’ll find a link to the WMGS website below where it mentions some of the churches we’ve talked about in our blogs.
Finally in terms of links and mentions, Glyn talked about a book by Robert Twigger called Walking the Great North Line: Up England Another Way about the author’s walk from Stonehenge to Lindisfarne. Except Glyn could remember neither the name of the author nor the book whilst we were recording! You’ll find a link below.
Next we have a chat about our secret location for the recording and you’ll hear how our minds become increasingly blown by the sunset unfolding before our eyes.
So the main topic of this edition of the podcast is a walk Glyn did back in 2019. You’ll find his description, route map and YouTube video including his stunning aerial images on the website using the link below. Ludgershall Castle was the starting place for the walk. Dating back to the late 11th century it became a royal hunting lodge which was popular with Henry III who visited it at least 21 times. Collingbourne Wood is a substantial area of woodland and Glyn had it almost to himself during his first walk there and when he re-visited it recently. By following tracks through the wood you can connect with Chute Causeway at Scots Por from where you can drop into Hippenscombe. This is very much a place for peaceful contemplation and it is unusually under-utilised in comparison to Savernake Forest not so far away.
Then on to the wrap up for this episode:
Steve Dixon’s piece leading into our main subject is called “Canopy”. As ever the piece in the introduction and at the end of the podcast is entitled “The Holloway”. By the way Steve, we’re still waiting for the new pieces you promised!
The next and final Wiltshire Museum walk for 2022 guided by Hidden Wiltshire is a repeat of the popular Devil’s Den walk we did last year. This is a ticket only event and you can get these from the Wiltshire Museum website at Wiltshire Museum Walk
Finally, don’t forget to check out the Hidden Wiltshire online shop on the website if you’d like to hel
Lacock and the Wilts & Berks Canal
We’re making the most of the weather again and recording the podcast outside on location. As before you’ll need to listen to find out where we were.
As ever we start with a chat about what’s been happening in the world of Hidden Wiltshire since the last podcast. And if it weren’t for one or two of our wonderful contributors the answer would be “not much”.
Elaine Perkins has “delivered” once again (this seems to be the word of the month at the moment)! She posted some great photos in the contributors' Facebook Group of a short evening walk she did taking in Old Sarum, Little Durnford and the Avon Trail. Elaine also ventured on an exploration of Amesbury and the surrounding area which we have now posted as a blog on the open Facebook site and the Hidden Wiltshire website. Amesbury may not be hidden but some of what Elaine found certainly was. You’ll find a link to her blog below.
Glyn managed to squeeze in one walk before he went on holiday, based around East and West Knoyle. There’s a link to his blog and photos below. This is a beautiful part of Wiltshire and well worth a visit.
Meanwhile Paul has once again deserted the county and undertaken walks in the New Forest (just over the Wiltshire border in Hampshire) and further afield on the stunning Dorset coast. But we can’t talk about those!
There have been a couple of Wiltshire Museum guided walks since the last podcast. A select few guests accompanied Glyn on a walk in the countryside around Castle Combe, an abbreviated version of the walk Paul did just after lockdown in July 2020. You’ll find a link to Paul’s walk below but Glyn managed to shorten this to a more manageable five miles. We’ve added a map of his walk to Paul’s original blog.
Glyn’s article about Wiltshire’s Blind Houses was featured in the August edition of Wiltshire Life. His original blog can be found below.
Glyn also attracted a lot of attention on Twitter when he posted some aerial photographs of the parched landscape around Rybury Camp in Pewsey Vale. Local farmer (and constructor of long barrows) Tim Daw had noticed some interesting crop marks in his fields and invited Glyn to photograph them with his drone. You can see the photographs on both Hidden Wiltshire Facebook pages and on Glyn’s Twitter feed. There appears to be a previously unknown enclosure and henge in the fields together with multiple possibly Iron Age storage pits. Whilst the hot dry weather creates many problems it does enable the land to reveal many of its hidden secrets.
Finally in our review we wanted to mention a couple of Hidden Wiltshire followers. Firstly Bill Parncutt,who emailed us with some very kind comments about the podcast, and secondly Simon Lovett and his dad John for whom Simon bought a copy of our book as a birthday present. Paul delivered the book personally to John but stupidly didn’t get the name of his lovely wife. But it was great to meet you Mrs Lovett!
Before we moved onto the main subject of the podcast we had a chat about our location for the recording so do have a listen.
The main subject in this episode was the walk Paul and his regular walking buddy Stu did in February 2022 starting in Lacock, their target being the Wilts & Berks Canal. Everyone knows Lacock so we didn’t dwell on that for too long. But the canal is something that many don’t know about. Completed in 1810 the canal stretches for 52 miles and its primary purpose was to carry coal. Ironically its heyday was the 1830s when it was used to carry the raw materials for the construction of the Great Western Railway which was to see its ultimate demise and abandonment in 1914. Then in 1977 a group of volunteers formed to begin the monumental task of restoring its entire length, a task that continues to this day under the auspices of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. If you want to support them in their endeavours, you’ll find a link to their excellent website below.
The rest of the walk takes in a num
Really interesting insights into Wiltshire
I’m enjoying this series immensely - fascinating insights into some of the lesser known areas of this beautiful county.