Wiltshire is a county that is rich in the monuments of prehistoric man; it also boasts one of the highest concentrations of historic houses and gardens in the country, which makes it a great place for the tourist. It’s also a perfect choice for walkers, cyclists and lovers of nature, with wide open spaces, woodland and downland and a number of chalk streams that are home to a huge variety of wetland wildlife.
The industrial heritage is also strong, taking in Brunel’s Great Western Railway and the railway town of Swindon, brewing at Devizes and carpet-making at Wilton. And the county has many surprises, from the white horses carved in hillsides and the mysterious crop circles, to the ancient hill forts and the greatest mystery of them all, the stone circles of Stonehenge – how did those stones get from the Marlborough Downs and the mountains of Pembrokeshire and what was their use?
The jewel in the crown of Wiltshire is the city of Salisbury, at the confluence of the rivers Avon, Wylye, Bourne and Nadder, with its glorious cathedral, a masterpiece of the Early English style, and many other fine buildings. The cathedral for the episcopal see stood originally at nearby Old Sarum, a flourishing town in medieval days that lost its status when a 12th-century bishop moved flock, stock and barrel down the hill to the more amenable surroundings of Salisbury and began to build anew cathedral. Atmospheric ruins are all that remain of Old Sarum.
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