The Vale of Pewsey sits within the North Wessex Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and also the Great West Way, England’s new touring route between London and Bristol. Each September, the village of Pewsey, located within the heart of the Vale of Pewsey, plays host to Wiltshire’s oldest carnival, first established in 1898.
On Saturday 21 September the Pewsey Carnival came to a close in spectacular fashion, with the Illuminated Procession, which featured a variety of floats that set off at 7.30pm from The Carnival Field, travelling around Pewsey. Street entertainment and fairground rides also entertained the thousands of spectators who turned out to watch, and participate in, the annual event. For more information, visit: www.pewsey-carnival.org.uk
HISTORY OF PEWSEY
Archaeological digs around the village of Pewsey indicate that there has been a settlement here since the 6th century, but it was the opening of the Kennet & Avon Canal in 1810, and the railway in 1862, which transformed Pewsey into a bustling community.
Pewsey is a hotspot for crop circle enthusiasts and has recently become the new home of the Crop Circle Centre & Exhibition, based in Honeystreet Village adjacent to the Honeystreet Mill Café.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE
With lush meadows and a wharf on the Kennet & Avon Canal, the Vale of Pewsey makes a great base for walking, cycling and riding.
Take in the White Horse carvings in Pewsey and Alton Barnes, with paragliding, walking, riding, canoeing and barge trips along the way.
WHERE TO EAT AND SHOP
The Bruce Arms is a CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) heritage pub set in the beautiful Vale of Pewsey. There is a selection of places to eat in Pewsey. The Red Lion Freehouse has a Michelin-starred restaurant near to Pewsey. The Three Tuns Freehouse at Great Bedwyn offers superb homemade food, real ale and a carefully selected wine list.
WHERE TO STAY
Willowbank Lodges are luxurious one- and two-bedroom log cabins set in a hamlet in the Vale of Pewsey next to the canal. Huntlys Farmhouse is an 18th century thatched farmhouse offering comfortable, warm accommodation with open fires in winter. Troutbeck Guest House has five rooms opposite The Red Lion Freehouse offering uninterrupted countryside views. The White House B&B is 17th century thatched farmhouse close to the banks of the Avon. The Woodbridge Inn is a traditional Wiltshire coaching inn, set within acres of beautiful countryside.
Or if you prefer sleeping under the stars, why not stay with Rushall Organics Glamping, offering a range of shepherd’s huts that can sleep up to four people or Totteridge Farm Campsite, the adult-only, dog-friendly site which has sweeping views over Martinsell Hill?
With mainline railway stations at Pewsey and Great Bedwyn, offering services from London and the West Country, the Vale of Pewsey is closer than you think and provides the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Views of the Vale start from the eastern county border, and the Vale stretches as far as Devizes in the west, bordered by hills and down land to north and south. Its life blood is the Kennet & Avon Canal linking attractions such as Wilton Windmill and Crofton Beam Engines, the village of Pewsey and its wharf. Visit All Saints’ Church, Alton Priors where a mysterious trap door conceals a buried Sarsen stone, a special sandstone native to Wiltshire believed to have spiritual properties.