Amesbury Armistice Trail
BWF PT No 303 - 11km
Walk Organiser. Keith Burningham, Braemar, The Ham, Durrington, Salisbury, SP4 8HW. Tel: 01980 653176.
Walk Fee. £1.00
Start. The History Centre, Church Street, Amesbury, SP4 7EU. (GR 130/152414)
Whilst we walk this area we remember those troops from all over the British Isles, South Africa, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand and Australia who came to Larkhill but never returned to their families.
From the history Centre turn right and cross road at church, turn left into Church Lane at Yewtree House. Straight on through metal gate onto grass track, at the end by double gates turn left. Turn right on road, turn right on pavement passing Meadow Garage. At Police Station bear right then left into South Mill Road. Continue to turn right on footpath ‘Bonnymead’, on narrow path over two bridges and through Kissing Gate. Follow river on right, bear left on path to join vehicular track, bear right on track and continue to pass through metal Kissing Gate.
Q.1 What date was Alan Chalke born?
Straight on to road, turn left uphill past 40 signs. Turn left for West Amesbury, at tablet ‘The Old Dairy’ turn right on footpath. At cottages on right turn left (Public footpath sign), over stile, straight on across field, through hedge to farm track, turn right to road. Turn left on pavement uphill. 20 metres after 3 ¼ sign cross dual carriageway to centre then to farm track opposite sign Kings Barrow Ridge. Through small gate onto grass track. Kings Barrow is on your right, fine view of Stonehenge on left.
If you look at Stonehenge and to the left there was a large aircraft hanger and aerodrome there during the first world war. It was suggested that Stonehenge be taken down as it was a hazard to low flying aircraft.
Q.2 Which Century was the first Duke of Buckingham here?
Follow track round to right and pass through gate, turn left on track and round gate to road. Turn right by bus shelter, keep post box on right. At Danger Beware of Children sign turn left over cattle grid on track between fields.
Looking back to the left are 36 houses built from steel, using a surplus of steel plates after WW1. Amusingly the matter was raised in the House of Commons following concerns that the 36 homes may affect the Souths brick industry!
Straight on at cross tracks.
The tracks are the original railway lines with the railway station on the right.
When you pass through metal gate look to your right, this field was the first military airfield in England. Follow track round to the left and on the left is a memorial to A W Hewetson who died here in July 1913 taking his aviators certificate test. (This is the site of the accident).
Q.3 What rank was A W Hewetson?
As WW1 approached the flying was transferred to Netheravon where the first flying squadron was formed. Larkhill airfield was then used for the building of hundreds of timber framed huts to house more and more troops as they arrived to train for WW1. These huts were capable of housing 34 battalions of men (20000).
Continue to road.
To the left at the end of the camp was a 1200 bed hospital to tend to troops who returned wounded and there was also a horse hospital located nearby.
Turn right staying on wide grass verge to turn right into Wood Road.
Two things you might observe looking across to your left in the distance is Netheravon airfield and also just in Wood Road by the trees on the left is a small concrete wall. This is what remains of the first sheds built to house the aircraft (1909). They were originally called sheds, hangers came later (a French word).
Continue on road.
On the left note the little shed and weigh bridge which was used in 1915 by the engineers who were based opposite and were building the camp.
Q.4 When were the first military air trials?
The two large buildings on the left are some of the original hangers built in 1910 for The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co.
Turn left at the end of the buildings on narrow tarmac lane to road. Turn right, turn left on main road, passing houses on left cont straight on on pavement. Cross over road onto grass verge passing Fargo Close on left. 5 metres after derestriction sign turn right thru small gate (National Trust), continue straight on on path passing The Cuckoo Stone on right. Woodhenge is to your left if you have the time to visit. Follow path to corner of field and gate. Turn left down bank and turn left onto the apple track.
This is the route of the old railway line that connected Amesbury to Larkhill during WW1, bringing the troops in for training. They ate their apples and threw the cores out of the windows, hence it became known as the apple track.
Continue straight on at signpost, turn right and immediately left to road. Cross road to pavement opposite turning right to underpass. Continue on pavement to cross road at traffic lights, turning left to cross next set of traffic lights, straight on. At car park note the seat.
Q.5 Who does the seat honour?
Continue straight on to turn right into Salisbury Street. Turn left at Lloyds Bank back to The History Centre. If you have the time we suggest you visit the History Centre which houses a wealth of information of the local area.
Route updated 1 January 2018
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