Malmesbury Abbey and River Walk
A circular walk around the Wiltshire town of Malmesbury visiting the historic abbey and the River Avon.
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.
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.