The Marlborough Downs Trail is a circular 7.5 mile circular series of 37 caches, 23 caches were added in July to the existing series that was placed in August 2009.
I completed the original trail in 2009 so today I returned to find the 23 new caches added this summer. The suggested start point is from the big car park at Barbury Castle, but it’s possible start the series at various other parking spots along the trail, I started from just outside Ogbourne St George.
Route is can be completed on foot or bike and about 75% of the series is along byways so it may be possible to go part way by 4×4. From Ogbourne St George I headed south along the byway towards Ogbourne St Andrew, this section was pretty much flat and easy going.
From Ogbourne St George the trail turned north west and and then began to gently climb up on to the Marlborough Downs heading towards Barbury Castle a long a 2 mile straight section of chalky track. Considering how glorious the weather was I was surprised how few people were out today, last time I walked the trail it was much busier.
Once at the top of the downs you will see the large gallops which run parallel to the track. There are also some good views along this section of the byway.
The second half of the walk started just a short distance from Barbury Castle and took me along a section of the Ridgeway, the chalky track turned into a grass one from this point. There were lot of sheep grazing and the cache description suggests that cattle may be present at times too.
The Ridgeway to me across the top of Smeathe’s Ridge where there were some fantastic views to both to the north and to the south. Being so high up it was a little breezy but at least it kept me cool. Eventually the trail descended back to the village of Ogbourne St. George and the end of the trail.
This is a very enjoyable series with a backdrop of great landscape. The walk is generally dog friendly, by that I mean no cows or stiles, you will find sheep grazing however. At 7.5 miles it is starting to get into the longer trail territory so may be a little far for younger caches.
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