Malmesbury Abbey and River Walk
A circular walk around the Wiltshire town of Malmesbury visiting the historic abbey and the River Avon. It's a very attractive town with numerous historic buildings, a photogenic market cross and picturesque river scenes to enjoy.
The walk starts at the 12th century abbey which has a history stretching back to the 7th century. It's one of the premium attractions in the county with stunning architecture and a fascinating history. You can also visit the Abbey House Gardens which cover 5 acres and have some fine topiary.
Head north past the Cloister Gardens and you will soon come to the Tetbury Branch of the River Avon. You can follow a series of nice riverside paths around the town before returning to the centre. Here you will pass the noteworthy Malmesbury Market Cross. The cross was built in the 15th century possibly using stone salvaged from the recently ruined part of the abbey. There's also a number of 16th-century almshouses and the medieval Tower House. It contains a high-roofed main hall where it is said Henry VIII dined after hunting in nearby Bradon Forest.
Malmesbury Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Malmesbury Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Malmesbury OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Malmesbury Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Close to the abbey you'll find the noteworthy Old Bell Hotel. The Grade I listed inn is England’s oldest hotel, dating all the way back to the 13th century. They serve high quality food which you can enjoy in the beautiful garden area if the sun is shining. You can find them on Abbey Row, with a postcode of SN16 0BW for your sat navs.
You are asked to please keep dogs on a short lead in the abbey house gardens. The Old Bell mentioned above is dog friendly in the bar area.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
To extend your walking in the area you could pick up the Palladian Way long distance footpath which runs through the town. If you follow it north it will take you through the countryside to Shipton Wood and Long Newnton. Near here you can visit the Cotswolds town of Tetbury and visit the splendid Westonbirt Arboretum. The arboretum is located just a few miles west of Malmesbury and is a stunning sight in the autumn months.
Heading south along the Palladian Way will take you to Malmesbury Common, Corston and Hullavington.
Also near the town you will find Castle Combe, Cotswold Water Park and the Badminton House and Estate. There's more great walking opportunities to be found here.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Wiltshire Walks page.