LACOCK TO BOWDEN HILL
General :- WARNING :- At Wp6 you turn right across the canal to reach the first stile alongside it. The Wilts & Berks canal restoration project has recently refilled this section with water. Although they have left an earth dam to make this crossing, after prolonged wet weather it could become impassible. If this happens cross the canal at Wp5 and follow the canal to Wp6.
This 5 1/2 mile route starts and finishes in Lacock village, the location for many films. Lacock Abbey cloisters features in Harry Potter and the village itself was a major set for BBC's Pride & Prejudice more recently it was Cranford. From the road you can clearly see a large bay window in Lacock Abey, this was the subject of the world's first photograph taken by Fox Talbot; there is a m;useum in recognition of his work in a barn alongside the Abbey entrance.
The National Trust owns most of Lacock and it's well worth allowing an hour at the end of the walk to walk around the village to absorb its charm. The diversity of architectural styles make it a perfect place to view changes in house construction throughout the ages.
Once the village is left behind there is a variety of countryside. The old Wilts and Berks canal with its locks are clearly visible and a mixture of woodland and farmland blends in well with the grandeur of Bowden Park estate (although you hardly see the house). Rey Mill was once the home of Camilla Parker Bowles. All in all this walk is a history lesson on foot if you take the trouble to look for the clues.
There are signs saying "beware of the bull" between waypoints 8 and 9; it's illegal to put a bull in a field with a public footpath and I would be very surprised if the farmer did it.
There may be a an illegal fence between the stile after waypoint 10 and waypoint 11. If this prevents you walking across the field walk around the left hand edge. Dont go through the two gates shown on the map.
There is a a steep hill up from the old canal but it's worth the effort. There are three pubs in Lacock; the Bell is outside the village and tends to get less crowded than the others.
How to get there:- Park in Lacock National Trust car park. From the A350 Chippenham to Melksham road take the road to Lacock @ ST9148 6785. At ST9157 6825 Turn right at the crossroads. The carpark is on the right @ ST9179 6823