The Wiltshire Ramblers currently total some 1,300 members divided into 6 groups, one of which is our young persons group for 20 to 40 year olds. Our groups work towards the charitable aims of Ramblers in different ways, but one thing they all do is organise programmes of led walks within Wiltshire and its neighbouring counties, and they will be pleased to welcome you.
With its two World Heritage sites at Stonehenge and Avebury, Wiltshire must surely rate as 'The Ancient Capital of England'. Together with the unitary authority of Swindon, it is a delightful landlocked county, bordering Berkshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Somerset.
Characterised by high downland and wide valleys, most of which are in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty of the North Wessex Downs, and Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs, there are magnificent walking opportunities along our 3,790 mile network of public rights of way and 66,700 acres of access land.
Wiltshire boasts world class gardens, historic houses and a masterly cathedral all set in glorious countryside. Meander along the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal or take a leisurely wander through our market towns. We also have eight white horses carved into the hillsides at Alton Barnes, Broad Town, Cherhill, Devizes, Hackpen, Marlborough, Pewsey and Westbury, all of which are accessible from footpaths.
The Ramblers exists to facilitate, for the benefit of everyone, the enjoyment and discovery that walking outdoors can bring; and to promote respect for the life of the countryside. The association encourages walking; protects rights of way; defends the beauty of the countryside; and has campaigned for many years for the freedom to roam over uncultivated, open country.
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The Paths Improvement Grants Scheme (PIGS) aims to help local people make innovative improvements to countryside access and the rights of way network in their area. The scheme is a partnership between Wiltshire Council's Rights of Way and Countryside section and the Wiltshire and Swindon Countryside Access Forum. Parishes can bid for up to 50% match funding, if their proposal is approved they then undertake the schemes themselves. The scheme is open for bids until Friday 24 May 2013. If you would like any further information about the scheme please contact Mike Crook, Countryside Access and Development Officer, on 01225 713349 or email Mike Crook Information can also be found at http://www.swindonlaf.org.uk
Longleat is a private estate and for many years has had a relaxed attitude to public access. Walkers have become accustomed to this and have planned their walks accordingly.
As from last January, 2012, the following areas are off-limits to walkers - around the House, landscaped gardens, pleasure walk, safari and adventure parks - for reasons of safety, security and to ensure visitors buy a ticket!
Of the total 9,400 acres, the fringes of the Estate (around 8,000 acres) are still available with unlimited access for walkers. This includes Heaven's Gate, Nockatt Coppice CP and Shearwater.
This Restricted Area Map shows the area that is out of bounds to assist walk leaders in their planning.
Alan Roberts (Area Fp Sec)
Are you looking for a way to help the Ramblers?
We are still looking for an Area Secretary. The job takes about one hour per week except when there is a meeting of the area committee; then there is an agenda to send out with reports from the area officers (all done electronically), an evening meeting to attend four times per year and minutes to write and circulate. See the website www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer and look for a job description of area secretary.
Please contact Pat Crabb, area chairman (and acting secretary at present) via email or 01793 740450 if you would like to find out more and perhaps attend an area committee meeting to see what happens.
The Ramblers successfully campaigned for an English Coastal Path, but for some reason the Isle of Wight is excluded from these plans. If you believe the island should have the same right to a coastal path as the rest of England please spend a moment to complete a simple online petition to the Government using the following link.