About the challenge
Join us for this 26 mile trek in beautful southern Wiltshire raising funds for Alzheimer's.
Our route starts to the north of Salisbury, and we walk past the magnificent 13th-century cathedral, home of the tallest spire in the UK. We continue over water-meadows, high ridges and quiet woodland, our paths following medieval trading routes much of the time. At our furthest point we enjoy fabulous views of Stonehenge, before circling south and tackling the undulating chalk ridges and quiet valleys back to Old Sarum.
This is a tough event over the rolling downs and steep valleys that lie between Salisbury and Stonehenge. At 26 miles, it provides an enormous challenge for walkers and a huge sense of achievement!
We meet early for registration and a briefing, and set off! Our challenging day starts at the foot of Old Sarum, an impressive Iron Age hillfort to the north of Salisbury. Dating back to at least 400BC, it is the original site of Salisbury and an impressive and apt place to start this demanding trekathon which takes us through such historic landscapes.
We can see Salisbury Cathedral ahead of us – at 404ft, the spire is the highest in the UK – and we head towards it on a well-used footpath. We can appreciate Salisbury’s medieval buildings in relative early morning peace before the shoppers descend, before passing the impressive cathedral - a main focus of the 2015 celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. A long drag then takes us uphill onto an old ridge commanding great views over the surrounding farmland; we follow this ridge for some miles before dropping down steeply to ancient woodland, where a Roman Road cuts through the beech and oak trees; there are tales of ghostly Roman soldiers seen here!
More steep dips and climbs follow as we cross the chalk valleys, then come to more gently rolling farmland dotted with earthworks and burial mounds. There is very little flat on this route, but the steepest hills are behind us! It’s not long before we enjoy the views across to Stonehenge and the flat backdrop of Salisbury Plain. Then heading south, we cross the River Avon and walk roughly parallel to it through farmland and small villages, enjoying the views of a very traditional rural England. A gradual uphill track then brings us back through farmland; we can see the distinctive steep circular banks of Old Sarum ahead of us, and we walk round part of the outer ring back to our start point, our tired legs spurred on by the elation at our huge achievement!
There will be refreshments at the end and plenty of room to rest and relax before saying our farewells and heading home.
Total distance: 26 miles
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
- Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and support staff throughout to manage the event safely and enjoyably.
- Marshalling stops with water and snacks
- Packed lunch
- Personal insurance (optional)
- any parking fees or transport costs
- accommodation if required
We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate.
Pre-trip administration is all done with your safety in mind.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Preparing for the challenge
Walking Information and Training
This is not a competitive event! You can go at your own pace, but if we are concerned about you being able to finish the distance safely, we will recommend you stop early.
There will be full support throughout the challenge with marshals and water stops along the route.
This is a long and tough one-day walk and it is consequently vital that you train sufficiently for it. The more training that you do the more you will enjoy the experience!
We trek mainly on grass or gravel paths but there are some small tarmac lanes, and road crossings. Some sections may be muddy. There are steep inclines both up and down but the majority is over rolling downs.
Groups may set off at staggered intervals (depending on numbers) but you can go at your own pace. The 26-mile walk should take approximately 8-9 hours for fit and strong walkers; others should allow longer. It may take some walkers up to 12 hours.
Average summer temperatures for Salisbury range from 9-24°C. It will hopefully be warm and sunny, but be prepared for any weather!
This is a tough event. You will need appropriate, good quality footwear and clothing for hot, cool or wet conditions; you will get very tired as the day progresses and having the right kit can make all the difference with coping well.
Clothing & Equipment
We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice. Each person should bring a small daypack to carry lunch, camera, waterproofs, sun cream, a warm fleece and any other items needed during the day.