Chippenham, Wiltshire

By Theresa Hopwood

I have done several Treasure Trails in the past and know how good they are at helping you to discover new places. So this time I decided to use it to find hidden treasures in a town I know very well, Chippenham.

In the day-to-day rush it is easy to dash through town looking mainly at the pavement or in shop windows, solving the clues on a Treasure Trail makes you look around and notice things you would never normally see. Additionally, they include interesting facts along the way to add even more to your knowledge of the place.

Lovers Walk, Chippenham

As I embarked on the trail in Chippenham I immediately became more aware of the impact of the River Avon which flows through the centre of the town, and stopped to watch the impressive waterfall created by the weir. 

Calf, Borough Parade

Heading into Borough Parade, one of the newest parts of town, I took the time to appreciate some of the independent shops there, including a great toy shop, boutique and gift shop. I passed by The Neeld, and my attention was caught by posters advertising some of the forthcoming acts, note to myself, buy tickets!

Entering the High Street, and looking up I was reminded  that many of the buildings are built from the same honey-coloured stone that you find in Bath, and have some intricate carvings and interesting inscriptions that I had walked past so many times.

Chippenham was the original terminus of Brunel’s Great Western Railway and the trail took me down to the impressive arches that now carry high speed trains from London to Bristol and beyond. These days a steam train going through is a rare and treasured event, but I could imagine the sight, sound and smell of them passing through regularly, and the impact that must have had on the town.

River Avon, Chippenham

The trail then took me into Monkton Park, a thriving open space beside the river with a children’s play area, Pitch and Putt and even Footgolf. Crossing the river at a quiet spot revealed small private landing stages with rowing boats and even a deck chair to sit and enjoy the wildlife on the river. There are plenty of seats along the riverbank where the public can enjoy the same tranquil views too.

Heading back into town via, St Mary’s Street, which Sir John Betjamin is once said to have referred to as the “the most perfect unselfconscious bit of English country townscape one could hope to find”. This street, away from the bustle of the town centre, is full of varied architecture illustrating Chippenham’s historic past, and is in the shadow of St Andrew’s church, with parts dating back to 1120, an impressive building, well worth a look inside.

Passing back past the historic Yelde Hall, and through the Market Place to the Heritage Centre where I solved another clue, and took time out to call in and check out their latest exhibition and remind myself of the fascinating permanent collections, including those celebrating the town’s ties with King Alfred.

The Angel Hotel, Chippenham

Nearing the end of the trail I treated myself to a coffee in the Angel Hotel, a 17th century coaching inn, and another reminder of Chippenham’s important role historically as a staging post on 'The Great West Way'. As I enjoyed my coffee in the warmth of the hotel lounge, I congratulated myself on completing the trail, and discovering so much about my home town.


Market Town

Looking to visit the amazing town of Chippenham?...If so, click here to get the latest Chippenham tourist information direct from the official Wiltshire tourism site!

Treasure Trails
Outdoor Activity/Pursuit Centre
Treasure Trails

Treasure Trails are the fun and hugely popular way to explore villages, towns and cities. Solve the intriguing clues which can be found on buildings, statues and monuments, revealing fascinating history and beautiful scenery.



Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply