It's always great fun to travel with friends and the Vale of Pewsey offers plenty for groups to do.
Of course, for anyone planning to travel as a group, it's really important to have the activities organised in advance. Here are 10 ideas for things to do whilst you and your friends or family are in the Vale of Pewsey.
Experience the Vale of Pewsey from horseback
The freedom, the wind in your hair and the peacefulness of being on horseback! Get right up close to the downs with the Pewsey Vale Riding Centre. The Centre can organise group rides for all abilities and take you on treks that avoid roads and take you right along the downs by the Alton White Horse or criss-crossing the Kennet & Avon Canal.
Pewsey Vale Riding Centre
Stanton St Bernard Wiltshire SN8 4LJ
Learn or hone your cooking skills
The Farm Cookery School at Netherstreet has plenty of very varied courses for you to learn new or improve existing cookery skills.
From curries to baking to picnics, Gretchen and her team will show you how to make it.
Demonstrations, guest chefs, take home or eat in - the options are endless for a wonderful day time or evening group activity.
Find out about the power of steam
On the edge of the Kennet & Avon Canal and in the most glorious of settings, you can book group guided tours of the famous Crofton Beam Engines where the Boulton & Watt engine is the oldest working beam engine in the world. Learn about the lives of the people who worked here and marvel at the wonders of Victorian engineering.
If you book here, you may also want to book a group tour of Wilton Windmill which is close by. You could also walk from Crofton Beam Engines to Wilton Windmill which takes about half an hour, possibly a bit less.
Arrange your own bespoke guided tour
This is a great way to explore this part of the world!
Laurence Davies at Oldbury Tours is an expert in guided tours and will create a bespoke tour for you based on your interests - with helpful recommendations along the way.
During the tour, Laurence will keep you updated on what you are looking at and the history of the sites you visit.
Tours can be half day or whole day - the choice is yours!
Learn a craft
Take some time out of your busy schedule to slow down and do some crafting! This isn't just for the ladies - as with cooking, men are just as involved in this sort of activity nowadays and it is an excellent way to find your inner creativity and relax.
Karen at The Craft Studio in the middle of the village of Pewsey can run just about any craft course you might want to do, including needle felting, origami, paper cutting, sewing, hand embroidery, lampshade making, macrame, bath bombs, jewellery and cards. If there's something you'd like to try that's not on the list, then just give Karen a call.
Discover the past
The Pewsey Heritage Centre, itself housed in the old Whatley's Engineering Works, is home to a really interesting collection of items from local rural history.
Find out about how the mechanisation of farming and other technical revolutions affected the local way of life and have a look the mystery items and work out what they were used for.
Groups are always welcome by arrangement and you may even be lucky enough to get one of their walking guided tours of Pewsey village.
Indulge in afternoon tea
And on the banks of the Kennet & Avon Canal, you will find the Honeystreet Mill Cafe which is the perfect setting for enjoying afternoon tea and eating their amazing cakes. The outdoor seating area on the terrace allows you to watch the boats go by on the canal while you dine, relax and chat. A very much slower pace than everyday life!
Breakfast and lunch are also available.
Dogs are welcome.
Feel the exhilaration of Nordic Walking
A perfect activity for any group, Nordic Walking with Ashley from Wessex Nordic Walking mixes exercise, beautiful countryside, amazing views and socialising - sometimes with a drink or tea and cake as well!
Ashley caters for all levels of ability and is able to provide you with the nordic sticks that enable you to get a really good work out. You can book your own group session and either select the area you would like to explore, or leave the route entirely up to Ashley instead. It's alot of fun!
Delve into the life of a 17th Century Merchant
Just north of the Vale of Pewsey is the historic market town of Marlborough. Perfectly restored in the High Street, you will find The Merchant's House which was built by Thomas Bayly - a prosperous silk merchant - after the Great Fire of Marlborough in 1653.
The house is beautiful and full of original features and the guides really bring their way of life to life. Behind the house are the fully restored gardens where you can walk around and enjoy the atmosphere.
Step over the threshold, away from the bustle of the 21st century and into a real haven of history.
You can organise your own group guided tour and afterwards have a browse around the shop for gifts and homewares.
Take time out from the daily grind
Set high above the village of Wilton is Wilton Windmill, built in 1821 and still producing flour today. A group guided tour of the windmill will take you through the history of the mill, why it was built and what the day to day life of a miller, and his wife and children, would have been like. Believe us, you will count your blessings once you've heard the stories! Understand the mechanics of the windmill and how gravity is used in every step of the process. You can also buy Wilton Windmill flour at the shepherd's hut shop and have a cup of tea and cake.
It's a beautiful location with far-reaching views across the downs.
Groups are always welcome by arrangement to suit your itinerary.
If you are visiting Wilton Windmill, then you may also want to organise a group visit to Crofton Beam Engines which is close by. You can also do the lovely walk between Wilton Windmill and Crofton, either via Wilton Water or via the Roman Road - it takes about half an hour.
And of course, in addition to these activities, there is plenty of walking and cycling to be done as well.
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