The countryside around Marlborough is among some of the loveliest in the whole of England. The Marlborough Downs form part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an ancient chalk downland steeped in mysticism. This is the land of ley-lines and white horses, ancient burial mounds, stone circles and at harvest time the crop circles which have defeated the sceptics who have tried to prove they are man-made.
Perhaps the most famous site around Marlborough is the Avebury Stone Circle, a awe inspiring pre-historic World Heritage Site thought to be over 4000 years old and considered a Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape of the highest importance. The experience of wandering around Avebury knocks spots off its nearby, more famous cousin, Stonehenge, because you can wander freely among the stones at a fraction of the price without the crowds. Also, Avebury, uniquely, has a village built within the circle itself and for some of us the appreciation of pre-historic landscapes comes so much easier with a pie and a pint to hand.
There are some fabulous walks around Avebury, with other monuments such as the West Kennet Long Barrow within easy walking distance. Also close-by, just one mile west of West Kennett along the A4 is Silbury Hill, another deeply mysterious monument whose purpose and significance are unknown. Built around 2400 years ago, Silbury Hill is Europe's largest man-made mound, on a scale similar to the Egyptian pyramids.
Very close to Marlborough lies the glorious Savernake Forest, 2750 acres of old woodland, most of which is designated as a Special Site of Scientific Interest. Mostly composed of oak, sweet chestnut and beech, the forest offers some spectacular walks and in most places dogs are welcome.
In a county steeped in chalk horses, Marlborough of course, has its very own White Horse. Not easily visible, the Marlborough Horse is the smallest in Wiltshire and the best place to view it is from a footpath which runs from Preshute House to the A345, about 500 metres from Marlborough College. The Marlborough White Horse is a good option when you want to stay close to town.
Also close to town is the beautiful Vale of Pewsey which divides the Marlborough Downs and Salisbury Plain, centred around the delightful small town of Pewsey.
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