Wiltshire Walks

228-231 TUTORS: 228, 229: Jennifer Lane (Marlborough College); 230, 231: Sean Dempster

During the week, you will enjoy five different walks across the beautiful Wiltshire countryside around Marlborough. From the chalk grassland of the highest parts of the Wiltshire Downs to the lush valley of the River Kennet and through the ancient oak forest of Savernake, the scenery is varied and stunning. Along the way, you will pass a number of ancient sites and paths, such as Avebury, Silbury Hill and the Ridgeway. This course will enable you to meet new friends, improve your fitness by walking five miles each day.

Course Notes

The aim of this course is to enjoy on foot the beautiful countryside around Marlborough, meet new friends and, hopefully, return home a little fitter than you were at the start of the week. Each walk is about five miles long and takes about three hours to complete. During the week we shall explore the highest parts of the Marlborough Downs, the Pewsey Vale, the valley of the river Kennet and local beech and oak forests.

We start the walks at 9.00 am and return to the College by 12.30 pm.

Footwear, Clothing and Equipment

Suitable footwear is very important - paths can be muddy and slippery so I recommend lightweight, waterproof, walking boots. Please do not buy new footwear just before the week of walking, do it well in advance and make sure your boots are well worn in.

Other clothing will be determined by the weather but a lightweight waterproof is essential. I would not recommend shorts as there are nettles and it is easy to get scratched on brambles. Lightweight, fast-drying trousers are an advantage, especially if we have to walk through long grass.

A pair of lightweight binoculars (8x40 for example) will add to your enjoyment of the walks, especially if we are lucky enough to see red kites, buzzards, kestrels, hobbies and other birds.

A small rucksack will be useful to carry personal kit and the water bottle, which I will provide on the first day. Every day I will supply a snack and a small carton of juice for each person.


Do a little preparation for the walks. It is one thing to do the occasional walk of nearly five miles on level ground; it is quite another thing to walk five miles each day through the countryside.

Maps and Guides

If you wish to follow our route on a map, the Explorer 157 map (2.5 miles to the inch) is excellent.

I shall provide some information about each walk, much of which is gathered from "The Marlborough Downs” by Kenneth Watts.

You may wish to pack a wildlife guide for identifying plants and animals. I can recommend "Complete British Wildlife” by Paul Sterry or the "Collins Complete Guide to British Wildlife” by Arlott, Fitter and Fitter.

I look forward to meeting you this summer.

Course Tutors

Sean Dempster

About Sean

Sean taught Biology at Marlborough College for 23 years. He was Head of Department for 9 years and a House Master for 12 years. Before Marlborough, he managed a fisheries project on Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.

Jennifer Lane

Marlborough College

About Jennifer

Jennifer has taught Physics at Marlborough College for 11 years and has been a Resident House Tutor for all of this time. She loves hiking in the local countryside and has completed many long distance multi-day walks.

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Summer School Dates for 2024

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM