Perfect Picnics in the Vale of Pewsey

The Pewsey Vale has some of the finest countryside in England and with the rolling downs and sweeping valleys, the Vale provides plenty of opportunities for a picnic, particularly one with a view.

We asked some local Pewsey Vale enthusiasts for their views on where to go and these are some of their suggestions:

Martinsell Hill

The peace and quiet, the views, the ancient fort – a picnic paradise.  The hill is on a working farm and so do be careful of any livestock that might be there – they are generally fairly ambivalent about walkers and visitors, but do make sure you are safe.

Our contributor, Dave B, thoroughly recommends Martinsell – ‘There can be nothing finer than Martinsell Hill.  I would politely suggest that the walk around the top of Martinsell (itself an Iron Age hillfort) must be one of the finest in Wiltshire.’


Wilton Windmill

Set high above the village of Wilton, Wilton Windmill has the most fantastic views. 

The grounds are open all year round and there are picnic tables you can use or of course you can have a picnic blanket on the grass.  Plenty of space for playing games!

Susie says, 'It's ideal for families with children or those with dogs as the site is very secure with a fence all the way round.  And the views are just breathtaking.'

Woodborough Hill

Local Dave V recommends Woodborough Hill which can be reached via a number of different footpaths.  Being close to the Kennet & Avon Canal, you could combine a walk to Woodborough Hill with a walk along the canal. 

And why not visit Swanborough Tump whilst you are in the area?

Jones's Mill Nature Reserve

Recommended by local resident, Jane, this very special nature reserve on the edge of Pewsey is a delight to visit and is also a popular place for a peaceful picnic.  

Jones's Mill is owned by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

Knap Hill

Just east of the Alton White Horse in an expansive downland setting, Knap Hill is topped with a Neolithic camp.  You can park in the Pewsey Downs car park.

And it’s an area that is very special to Jackie who lives in the Pewsey Vale.  ‘As a family we love walking up to the White horse area above Alton Barnes – it is so peaceful and has fantastic views. Further to the west, the field has wonderful small humps which are very soft so great for sitting down on to admire the scenery.  I would recommend walking for a mile away from the car park for maximum tranquillity.  We always take freshly baked buns up there early on the first morning of the school summer holiday and have a special family breakfast picnic to celebrate the start of the long break.’

Gopher Wood

A recommendation from Dawn who lives very close by, is to go to the top of Huish Hill via the permissive footpath by Gopher Wood, an old oak woodland.  The views are spectacular.


And finally, some great advice from Jane who says ‘There are some lovely spots by the Kennet & Avon Canal. It’s really hard to be specific - it's all about exploring.  If we are walking and have food with us, we stop when we are hungry, so the picnic spot is often decided by our stomachs!’

So that’s the where to eat, but what about the what to eat?

Jane and Nick, over at Gastro Nicks in Collingbourne Ducis are fully set up to provide all the necessary picnic ingredients – including the picnic basket if you would like one! Fresh artisan breads, cheeses, chutneys, olives and a wide range of charcuterie.  There are some new Bruschetta mixes and a selection of savouries like the sausage rolls, scotch eggs and savoury tarts (subject to availability).  Obviously you will need wine and they have an extensive range of still, sparkling or Bellini to choose from.

To organise your hamper, visit Jane and Nick at their shop in Collingbourne Ducis, or give them a call on 01264 852701 and then collect.

Marshalls Bakery in Pewsey have a fantastic range of bread, cakes and pastries - ideal for any picnic! 

For some very special picnic ingredients, why not visit JW Fine Foods in Woodborough?  Fantastic hand-smoked salmon and other delicacies are just the right ingredients for a picnic.

Wherever you go, please remember the Countryside Code – Respect, Protect and Enjoy

Respect other people:

  • consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
  • leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available

Protect the natural environment:

  • leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home
  • keep dogs under effective control

Enjoy the outdoors:

  • plan ahead and be prepared
  • follow advice and local signs