Old Sarum adventure

Maybe not as much of an adventure as some but I have sort of got used to titling my walks this way.

Some time ago I had downloaded a pdf of a BBC ‘Norman walk’, being the only one within easy reach, and so I printed this out and took it, an Ordnance Survey extract map I had printed out and my trusty Silva compass, all of which I used,Map etc.and took the X7 bus to Salisbury.

As soon as we got into Wiltshire we passed through a village decorated with dummies dressed up in all sorts of amusing poses. It was very hard to get any photos from the bus so I was pleased to at least get this one.Dressed dummyI hadn’t checked to see if I could get a bus to Old Sarum (which you can) and had decided to walk. So in the end I chose to start with points 5 and 4 on the BBC map as they could be on the way and then move on to the start of the walk.

This however was not such a good idea as you can’t always find things if you aren’t following  instructions!

I turned off by this lovely thatched cottage,Thatched cottagelooking for ‘The Parliament Tree’ or at least the plaque where it once stood and proceeded up a woodland path.Turned down pathafter a bit it narrowed.Path narrowsHere is a view through the right hand side at one point.Path side viewso you can see the open ground and houses beyond.

Of course I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the wild rose that leaned across to the path.Wild roseThe weather forecast had been for sun early and then cloud but as you can see the sun was almost too bright for photographs and it turned out a warm sunny day. The sort of weather you expect in June!

I couldn’t work out where I could expect to see the plaque I mentioned so I proceeded on to Old Sarum.

As instructed I climbed onto the inner rampart and walked along it.Inner rampartYou can see what a beautiful day it was.

I reached the site of the original cathedral and came across this.Undercroft?I wasn’t sure what it was, an undercroft perhaps.

Here you can see the layout of the cathedral as not much is left standing.Old cathedral layoutThere were lots of small pits in the ground,Rabbit made holes?A sign of rabbits I thought!

I proceeded round the outer part of the ditch that surrounded the royal castle.

It was hard to get a photograph that gave an idea of it’s depth but I think the shadow of the trees help here.DitchNow the BBC walk didn’t involve any expense but I decided that I would pay and visit the inner castle part of the site for two reasons.

The first because on my previous visit with a friend, we had walked there along the river, a very pretty walk, but by the time we arrived she said she was tired and was worried if we would get back in time for something she had to do, so we didn’t stay very long.

The second reason was because on that visit I had seen that they sold some attractive silver rings.

Here is the bridge over the ditch that leads to the royal castle ruins.Entrance bridgeNow I bought the ring to the left in the picture below in St David’s when I was twenty-two and I wore it most of the time until a few years ago when my knuckles got too big. I wanted to get another silver ring, maybe a celtic cut-out design but not one with a break in the pattern where it was joined in a circle.

When I had been here before they had such a ring but I didn’t have time to look at it and wasn’t sure if I could really afford it. This time they didn’t have the same ring but I found this one (on the right). It was about two third the width of the ring I had seen and about two thirds the price, both of which were a good idea so I bought it. It was just the right size so obviously this was meant to be!Silver ringsI don’t want to bore you but I will share a few of the photographs I took round the castle area.

There is the well and believe it or not people had slipped coins down the side. Don’t know if anyone could collect them up.Well

Here is a long view of the main ruins.Long view of Old Sarum ruinsand this is the banked chalk path that runs along the edge (just at the top of the steps you can see in the photo above).Chalk pathFrom here I took a distant view of Salisbury cathedral using the maximum digital zoom of my camera which obviously doesn’t give you the best picture but gave me more than I could see with my eyes!Salisbury cathedralI walked along the path as far as the most solid of the flint walls. Obviously, originally these would have been faced with smooth stone.

I couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the flints.Wall flintsI thought this was a bit like an animal face.Interesting flintI also found there were plants growing in the walls.Plant in wallFrom here I could get another view of the layout of the old cathedral.Cathedral layout from castleI decided to make another try at finding the Parliament Elm plaque by following the given instructions.

I almost missed the sign that said “Stratford sub-Castle 1/2 mile.”Almost hidden signBut found the first gate First gateand saw a rabbit! unfortunately he saw me first but here is proof!Rabbit droppingsand then the second gate,Second gateand finally the plaque.Parliment elm plaqueI decided not to try to find points 6 and 7 of the planned walk as the walk did seem to be mainly an exercise in imagination and so I then went back the way I came photographing the flowers in a couple of gardens as I went.

Two sorts of poppies: ordinary and californian plus some wheat!PoppiesThen one of my favourites ever since I grew them as a child: Love-in-the-mist.Love-in-the-mistSince I now knew where I was and was no longer afraid of getting lost I decided to finish the day by walking along the river Avon.River Avonand took a last view of Salisbury cathedral.Cathedral spire from riverI got to the bus stop just as the last bus of the day to Southampton was leaving! I hadn’t realised that the later buses only went halfway, so I was lucky. Must plan better next time.

I hope you enjoy joining me on my walk. I realise that writing and sharing these posts is almost as good as being able to have company on the walk itself.

27 thoughts on “Old Sarum adventure

  1. I loved coming on the walk with you. I loved our visit to Salisbury earlier in the year but will didn’t have the time to explore as much as you did on your walk. Glad you caught your bus.


  2. What a splendid walk! I have enjoyed this walk SO much, I have read it 3 times now and enjoyed all the twists, turns and details. A place I will definitely have to visit one day. I absolutely agree with your last sentence about having the company of our fellow bloggers along with us on our walks. I hope you are happy for me to link this in with my Wednesday Walk-Along this week. I so enjoyed walking along with you!


      1. Yes, it does take time to put the posts together doesn’t it, but so worth it in this case. And I use my blog as a sort of diary I can go back and refer to as well, which I find useful – do you?


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