Salisbury lies in the valley of the Hampshire Avon, and this chalk river, along with its tributaries – The Nadder, Ebble, Wylye, and Bourne – is what helps to give this ‘City in the Countryside’ its character.
A walk through Queen Elizabeth Gardens and along the Town Path down through the Water Meadows to Harnham is a must if you want to get an even better overall feel for this beguiling city.
This is another short, comfortable walk and suitable for anyone and everyone including families with pushchairs – just watch out for cyclists along the Town Path though.
Start your walk at Crane Bridge in Crane St and walk alongside the river down to where the Avon and Nadder meet. Then follow the Nadder around through the park until you come to a footbridge. Walk over the bridge and keep left until you come to the start of the Town Path.
The path cuts through the Water Meadows which are jointly owned by the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury Cathedral and the Harnham Water Meadows Trust. These meadows are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and are managed by the Trust with drainage and irrigation ditches. Walking along here will give you the same views as John Constable had when he painted his famous picture of the Cathedral in 1831.
At the end of the footpath is the Old Mill Hotel, a charming 15thc Grade I listed building with a lovely riverside beer garden, and a perfect way to finish discovering Salisbury’s Water Meadows.
It’s possible to make it a round trip, but personally I think it’s best to walk back along the Town Path. The alternative involves a walk along the A3094.
A steady stroll should take you no more than 3 hours – half an hour each way with 2 hours in the Old Mill!