This rural walk is just over 3 miles and takes you through some beautiful countryside, including open fields, wooded tracks, a tree-lined avenue and the manor grounds of Little Durnford, where camels roam free.
The Woodfords - Upper, Lower and Middle - are some of the loveliest villages surrounding Salisbury, with thatched cottages lining narrow roads, rolling hills, plenty of woodland and the River Avon weaving its way though them.
The name Woodford comes from the old English 'Wuduforda' which means 'ford by a wood'. Once the location for a palace of the Bishops of Salisbury, where Charles II hid in 1651 after his defeat by Cromwell (and hence its location as part of the Monarch's Way), and also for a World War II convalescent hopsital, the villages are now where the well-heeled of Salisbury live on the outskirts of the city.
This lovely walk is about 3.5 miles, with narrow paths in a few places and you will definitely need walking boots if the ground is wet. It is not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
Directions for the Woodford Camel Walk
The walk starts and ends at the Wheatsheaf Inn in Lower Woodford (what3words: frocks.gearbox.grub). You can catch a bus there from the centre of Salisbury which takes 12 minutes, or cycle there in 22 minutes. Alternatively if you are driving, the Wheatsheaf has a large car park, but you should ask their permission to leave your car there.
1. Leave the pub car park and turn left, walking up the road. You will pass some lovely country homes, and may even see a few scarecrows decorating the front gardens if you visit in September or early October.
2. On the right hand side of the road, near the public noticeboard, you turn right (what3words: picnic.scribbled.stared). It looks like you are entering a private property but you should see a public footpath sign and rest assured, you are allowed to walk there. Pass in front of the house bearing left, and you will see a narrow footpath going into woods.
Follow the footpath over the River Avon - it is a really pretty spot and worth savouring.
Keep following the footpath through a wooded area, which then becomes a hedge lined path. Keep going until you reach a road.
3. At the road (what3words: olive.highbrow.initial) turn left onto the road, then take the first right - it is only about 40 metres. You will see farm buildings ahead of you, but find the narrow path on your right and head down there. (what3 words: social.stammer.inquest). This is part of the Monarch's Way.
Follow the path; it is a tree lined route which takes you past some lovely views over the fields.
4. You will reach a signpost in the woods (what3words: serve.custodian.tender) which has arrows pointing both ways. Follow the one pointing right, which should have a Monarch's Way sticker on it.
5. Not much further on, you will come to a signpost with signs pointing in every direction. (what3words: ethic.joked.sank). Follow the one pointing right, which is also signposted Pewsey Avon Trail.
Keep following the path which will soon emerge from woodland into an open field. The footpath is clearly marked running down the middle of the field. Keep going until you reach a rather lovely thatched cottage emerging from the woods on your right.
There is a crossroads just after the cottage. Turn right.
6. You are now on The Avenue, a beautiful tree-lined straight track surrounded by fields. Walk to the end of it.
7. At the end of the Avenue is a crossroads. Go straight over. You will see a wooden gate which looks like private property.(what3words: manhole.fencing.cupboards) It is also a public footpath, so press the button and the gate will open.
The path takes you through the grounds of Little Durnford Manor, a 17th century, Grade I listed house owned by the Earl of Chichester. On your left are paddocks with camels, alpacas, goats, horses and other assorted livestock. You can admire them from afar; do not leave the path, as that is the only bit which is for the public.
The path bears toward the right - just keep following it, past some beautiful lawns and cedar trees, where you may spot the odd free roaming camel. Therese is Lady Chichester's camel and wanders at will around the grounds, often coming quite close to visitors. She is rather majestic with her wobbly humps, which apparently fall over if she doesn't eat enough carrots.
Keep following the path out of the estate and over the river.
8. Turn right just before a stone bridge, (what3words: entitles.hormones.agrees), down a short bank, and head through a gate. Follow the path in a straight line to what3words: shop.sneezing.trip. Turn left over a wooden footbridge, cross a stile, bear right and cross two more stiles.
In a straight line with the fence to your left and the river to your right, cross the field. As you are approaching the end of the field, you will see a gate and a stile on your left. Go over the stile and follow the wooded track to your right. (what3words: rumbles.campfires.mock).
Follow the track until you reach the main road.
Cross the road and although it can be hard to spot, there will be a narrow opening in the trees on the other side, with a public footpath sign. Go through the gap into the field. Turn
right and walk in a straight line through some fields with lovely views.
At what3words: sectors.eminent.sourcing, the path goes through one of the fields. Follow the path until you come to another field with trees on your right and pony paddocks on your left. Follow the path in a straight line through more fields - there are gates and footpath signs to show you were to go.
The final field you come to has a farm on your left. The footpath continues straight on to the road. The farmer has put two small paddocks with animals in at the end of the footpath, and you will be doubtful if you are allowed to walk through them, but rest assured you are - it is a public footpath.
Turn right onto the road, right again at the bottom of the hill, and follow the road until you are back at The Wheatsheaf. It's a lovely pub and a good place for a meal or snack after your walk.
Read our Salisbury City Guide for full information on further walks, sporting activities, places to visit, kids activities and where to stay, shop and eat locally.