THE latest route in our regular series supplied by Swindon Ramblers takes in the Medieval villages of Shap and Upham.

It offers good tracks, extensive views and a sense of isolation amid beautiful surroundings.

Distance: A choice of 3.5 or 6 miles

OS Maps: Explorer 157, Landranger 174

Start: If arriving by car, turn off the B4192 Swindon to Aldbourne Road on to the road to Upper Upham. Follow the road beyond the semicircle of houses on the left and park as considerately as possible near the cylindrical storage tank at reference SU225772.

There is unfortunately no suitable bus service.

Walkers should bring their own refreshments, as none are available along the route.


1 At the end of the concrete path, and with a barn on the right, continue forward on the track across the valley bottom and up to the hedgerow on the skyline.

2 As the Ridgeway long distance path joins from the right, continue for 20 metres and turn left, still on the Ridgeway. Continue until a track crosses the Ridgeway, with a concrete tank and a radio mast visible on the right. Turn left.

3 Follow this track and, as it turns right, go forward and then through a gate by a wide metal farm gate. Follow a grassy path which bears left towards the valley, then forks right and goes through a gateway to a byway which goes downhill between trees. It eventually turns left, then right, and comes to a track junction at a field corner.

4 If the shorter version of the walk is preferred, turn left at this point and climb to the tarmac road. Turn left again to return to the starting point.

For the longer version, carry straight on and pass along the deeply rutted track through the valley. Just after the wood it is possible to walk at the foot of High Clear Dow - by going through a small wooden gate on the left - and then join the track once more near an information board. Continue almost to the main road and then make a sharp left turn at a path junction.

5 Follow this path through a gate near the remains of a barn. Keep the hedge on the left until the path veers right to pass close to a clump of trees over a long barrow. Go through the gateway and then pass another clump of trees at the top of a rise. Pass beneath power cables and through the next gate. Veer slightly left across a large pasture to reach the gate to a fenced strip of land. At the end of this is the road. Turn left to return to the starting point.

The Swindon and North East Wiltshire Ramblers Group host their annual summer picnic walk at Stanton Park on Saturday, August 17, from 2pm.

Members and non-members alike are welcome to come along to enjoy the fun, which will include a gentle walk.

Spokesman Grahame Lee said: “The four-mile walk starts at 2pm from the Great Barn and will visit all parts of the beautiful Stanton Park and surrounding area.

“Following the walk, at around 4pm we return to the Great Barn area for the picnic.

“All you will need is sturdy footwear, suitable clothing for the weather, and water for the walk.

“For the picnic bring a chair and some food to share. Come and join us - and we look forward to seeing you there.”

The picnic will be able to go ahead whatever the weather, as the ramblers group has booked the Great Barn in case it is necessary to retreat indoors.

Although perhaps not as well known as certain other parks, Stanton Park is among the most beautiful, and has as its centrepiece a large lake.

A nature reserve, it has remnants of ancient woodland, wildflower meadows, hedges and wetlands, and is home to many species of mammals, birds, insects and amphibians.