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Blog (Nature) - Visit Wiltshire

Cranborne Chase AONB

Wiltshire’s ‘Outstanding’ places

You might not be aware but there are three designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wiltshire. These will be celebrated as part of a national ‘Outstanding’ Week taking place from 16-24 September so we thought we’d share with you twelve reasons why you should make a visit to one or more of our AONBs (The Cotswolds, North Wessex Downs and Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs).

Stars

Top spots for stargazing in Wiltshire

On a clear evening, there’s nothing better than a spot of stargazing. Wiltshire being a predominantly rural county lends itself to stargazing with the advantage of less light pollution than more urban areas.

Wildflowers

A tour of the wildflower meadows at Clattinger Farm

Clattinger Farm forms part of the Lower Moor Farm complex of nature reserves owned and managed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. 

I joined the Trust for one of their guided walks, highlighting the Snakeshead Fritillaries which dominate some of the meadows here in April. Many people flock to nearby Cricklade to see these delicate flowers but Clattinger Farm is another fine example of wildflower meadows.

Iford Manor

A spring visit to The Peto Garden

I always love visiting Iford Manor’s Peto Garden, it’s a great place to enjoy some tranquillity and every time I make the descent into the village down the narrow country lane I am in awe of the views.

Pewsey Vale Riding

A ride across the Pewsey Vale

We arrived at the Pewsey Vale Riding Centre on Sunday morning just before 10am, as the three of us Justine, Angela and I, had been booked in for a two hour hack across the beautiful Pewsey Vale in Wiltshire as a birthday treat for me! All of us can ride but we had not been out for a hack for a while so we were a little out of practice.

Lamb

12 photos to show why you should visit Wiltshire this spring

Oh how we love spring, it’s so beautiful to see the blossoms appearing on the trees, the daffodils popping out along the verges and the bluebells begin to emerge in our woodlands.
We’ve put together a selection of some of our favourite spring photos that we have here at VisitWiltshire, we hope you enjoy them!

Snowdrops

A shower of snowdrops at Lydiard Park

Towards the end of January I made a trip to the tranquil setting of Lydiard Park. The morning had been cold and blustery but luckily by the time I pulled up at the car park the weather was beginning to turn for the better. I’d heard that some of the snowdrops were already making an appearance here so I went for a bit of an investigation.

Spring Flowers

Fast forward into February: 17 ways to beat the winter blues

If, like me, the start of the year has left you feeling all a bit ‘January-ish’, it helps to have something to look forward to. So here are 17 great ideas for things to see and do around Wiltshire that are sure to brighten up the first few months of 2017.

The Old Mill, Salisbury

A winter’s walk in Salisbury

Last Saturday was exactly the kind of winter’s day I like best – cold and crisp but with plenty of sunshine. Perfect walking weather. This route is one of my favourites as it starts and finishes in the city centre and includes some of Salisbury’s best-loved views.

Trowbridge

Trowbridge arts, parks and villages

Wiltshire’s county town of Trowbridge has a rich textile history from its days when the woollen cloth industry thrived. I went for an explore of some of the town and the surrounding areas to capture some photos and to visit areas that I hadn’t visited before.

Melksham, Wiltshire

Blooming Melksham – a colourful visit

During the recent heatwave that we’ve been experiencing I made a visit to the Wiltshire town of Melksham for an explore around with Terri Welch, Melksham’s Mayor.

As I parked up in the town I immediately noticed the colourful bunting decorating the streets and planters adorned with flowers. The bunting is up for this Saturday’s annual carnival, a popular event in the town centre.

Salisbury Cathedral Tower

A Tower Tour with the RSPB

The nature of my role means I’ve lucky enough to have gone up the tower of Salisbury Cathedral several times whether escorting press or even taking up VIPs in the sense of Paddington Bear and Shaun the Sheep! This time however, I was going to do a tower tour with a difference.

Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury

100,000 reasons to visit Malmesbury

A strange title for this blog perhaps? Of course anyone who’s visited Malmesbury before will know there are lots of reasons to visit this pretty hilltop town. So what’s with the 300,000? Well, I took a guided tour around Abbey House Gardens yesterday with the owner, Barbara who informed me that there are around 100,000 tulips within the gardens here!

Iford Manor - The Peto Garden

Iford Manor – An amateur photographer’s playground!

Having recently participated in a photographic course I have been keen to find the time to try out my new skills, and move the dial on my camera from the “auto” setting! My daughter is slightly more advanced than me so was the perfect companion for an afternoon playing with cameras.

Bluebells, West Woods

Top places for spring colours in Wiltshire

Isn’t it lovely to see the buds appearing on the shrubs and trees after the winter? It’s got us thinking about some of the wonderful places across Wiltshire where you can enjoy spring colours over the following months. Here are some of the top places we think you’ll love…

Stars

‘Star gazing’ on Cranborne Chase

So for the start of this week the weather would have been perfect for a spot a star gazing, with clear skies and crisp evenings I had my fingers crossed that my night of star gazing in the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) would be like this too! Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans… I headed to the Larmer Tree gardens in the pouring rain, dressed up in my waterproofs hoping that the weather would make a turn for the better.

Salisbury Plain Safaris

Discovering Salisbury Plain

Salisbury Plain sits in the heart of our county and is a little known area despite it being around the same size as the Isle of Wight. On a Monday in December, we joined Salisbury Plain Safaris for a trip to this mystery land…

Snakeshead Fritillary, Cricklade

Cricklade and the Snakeshead Fritillary

Cricklade North Meadow (a National Nature Reserve protected by Natural England) is an ancient flood plain on the banks of the upper Thames, which is renowned as one of the best examples of a lowland hay meadow in Europe. Before the days of intensive farming, many British meadows used to be covered in wild flowers. Today Cricklade is a living example of how the meadow used to look with its lush carpet of meadow flowers.

West Woods

Top places to spot Bluebells in Wiltshire

It’s not long until bluebell season will be upon us once again in Wiltshire. Usually flowering in late April and into May, seeing the carpets of blue flowers is one of my favourite times of year. I have so far seen a couple of lone bluebells bravely conquering the still very fresh mornings however I’m looking forward to the bigger displays which will be here before we know it!

Stourhead

Spring into Stourhead

During a lovely weekend across the county, I decided to make the most of it and take my Mum out for the day to the National Trust’s Stourhead gardens, in the south west of Wiltshire.

We’ve been to Stourhead many times throughout the years and it never fails to disappoint. For me, it doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit as there’s always something different to see and a different vista that you might not have seen before.

Snowdrops

Top places for snowdrops in Wiltshire

During February and March you can often find parts of the Wiltshire landscape dotted in snowdrops – always a sign to me that spring is on its way shortly!

We’ve put together some top places that you can usually spot these pretty flowers.

Stourhead

Stourhead – garden for all seasons

Whether in the depths of winter or the early days of spring, Stourhead is a gem of a garden and each time I visit there’s a completely different feel to the garden. This time, my trip was part of a VisitWiltshire partners’ familiarisation visit during the autumn with added bonus of a guided tour by Stourhead’s Head Gardener, Alan Power.

Larmer Tree Gardens

An autumn visit to Larmer Tree

In the heart of the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty half way between Salisbury and Blandford Forum lies the Larmer Tree Gardens.

Autumn colours in Wiltshire

Top places for autumn colours in Wiltshire

One of the National Trust’s most iconic gardens, Stourhead truly comes to life during autumn with a rich array of colours from its vibrant reds through to rusty oranges. Pick a day with bright blue skies and you’ll find many a photographer or artist here capturing their perfect moment.