NORTH WRAXALL to FORD
General:- An easy 4.2 mile circular walk in varied countryside; it passes through traditional water meadows, small wooded areas, and open valleys with good views. Generally flat with an excellent pub at the halfway point. Ideal for a sunny afternoon.
The riverside section between waypoints 10 and 13 is ancient water meadow. Water meadow management was a brilliant irrigation idea developed in the early 1500's. Flat meadows flooded during winter and early spring produced lush grass for hay and grazing. Hay yields improved by 400%; sheep and wool got to market earlier when prices were better. A particular feature of the west country these meadows needed careful water level control to get the best results. Secondary benefits came from nutrients in the mud fertilising the soil.
The Old Coach Road just after waypoint 14 is the route taken by Victorian mail coaches travelling from London to Bristol. If you think it is steep to walk up just imagine how hard the horses would have to work going up and the coachman's skill required to descend on an icy track with no brakes.
How to get there:- A420 Chippenham to Bristol Rd. Park @ ST 8227 7468 in "lay by" on south side of the road close to a turn off to North Wraxall.