Longbridge Deverill is somewhat spoiled by the passing traffic on the A350 but look around and there is much to catch the eye.
Pevsner was taken with Longbridge House – now a nursing home, as well as the Thynne Almshouses and the adjoining church dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. Today's visitor will no doubt find the George Inn equally appealing, especially if blessed with a bright autumnal day when the garden alongside a tributary stream of the Wylye will prove hard to resist. Away from the village, the walk explores Southleigh Woods, once part of the much larger Selwood Forest. Along with Larch and Grand Fir, Norway Spruce and Western Red Cedar, look out for the rather grand Wellingtonias with their spongy red bark. Mature specimens can reach a height of some 250 feet.
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 2 hours.
Start: Layby in Longbridge Deverill (GR 868409).
Maps: OS Landranger 183 or OS Explorer 143.
Getting there: Follow the A36 to a point south of Warminster before taking the A350 towards Shaftesbury. In just under two miles, park in a lay-by on the left in the centre of Longbridge Deverill, just before a crossroads and a garage.
1. Walk towards the garage and turn left into Sand Street signposted to Sutton Veny. In 350 yards, at a minor crossroads, turn left to follow a road up past a number of properties. Follow what becomes a track across open countryside to reach a gate and open field in 600 yards. Enter this field and bear half right across to a gate to the right of a Wessex Waterboard installation called Sand Hill Reservoir and enter Southleigh Wood. In 50 yards, turn right at a crossroads and follow a woodland path for ¼ mile to a junction. Turn left and follow a path in a northerly direction through the woodland. In ½ mile, immediately before some timber stacks on the left, turn left at a crossroads – 100 yards ahead is a barrier and a road at the end of the woodland.
2. Turn left at this crossroads and, having passed an aerial mast, continue to a junction with a major track. Cross over and follow a less well-defined path downhill to a junction on the edge of Southleigh Wood. Turn left and follow a path that bears left in ¾ mile to reach a crossroads. Turn right to the gate at the exit from the woodland by that Wessex Waterboard Installation. Bear right across the field to a gate and follow the road back towards Longbridge Deverill. Just before reaching Sand Street, turn sharply right by Sand Hill Cottage and follow a back lane – it becomes a track – down to a handgate in 350 yards. Cross a field to another gate, turn right and follow a path that crosses the River Wylye to reach the A350, the village church along the cul de sac lane to the right. Follow the pavement alongside the main road to the left back to the lay-by.