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About the County of Wiltshire
(For a list of all the prime country estate properties sold in
Wiltshire recently, scroll down to the bottom of this page)
Devizes, Seend, Melksham, Swindon, Salisbury, Warminster, Salisbury
Plain, Burbage, Pewsey, Marlborough, Wroughton, Highworth, Chippenham,
Lacock, Urchfont, Bradford on Avon, Shrewton, Wilton and the Tisbury
area of Wiltshire.
The large county of Wiltshire divides into two distinct areas
north and south with the vast military training
area of Salisbury Plain in the centre.
North Wiltshire is dominated by downland from
the M4 to Salisbury Plain. This area is very rural with villages
situated in the valleys and Marlborough as an attractive market
town. The Vale of Pewsey is particularly popular with buyers due
to its beauty and good train links.
There are mainline stations into London Paddington at Pewsey (approximately
60 minutes), Swindon (approximately 60 minutes), Bath (approximately
90 minutes) and Chippenham (approximately 75 minutes). The M4
motorway runs through north Wiltshire and offers accessibility
to London in less than 2 hours.
South Wiltshire is a small but very popular
area which is bordered to the north by the Plain, to the east
by Salisbury itself and running southwestwards towards Shaftesbury,
Blandford Forum and the Dorset border.
The landscape changes dramatically to the south
of the Plain with pretty wooded chalk stream valleys and stone
villages. The main valleys running through south Wiltshire are
the Woodford Valley to the north of Salisbury, the Wylye Valley
running to the north-west, the Nadder Valley running due west
and the Chalke Valley which provides dramatic scenery as it runs
south-westwards into Cranborne Chase.
South Wiltshire is a great draw for second homeowners,
being just on the fringe of reasonable commuting distance from
London. It is also popular with those who are able to work from
home for part of the week, and the good schools in Salisbury and
around Shaftesbury have led to an influx of those moving full
time to the area.
There are mainline stations into London Waterloo
at Salisbury (approximately 90 minutes) and Tisbury (approximately
110 minutes). The majority of the A303, which joins the M3 west
of Basingstoke, is dual carriageway and it is possible to reach
central London from south Wiltshire by car in under 2 hours.
Despite its great landed estates, which include Wilton and Longleat,
Wiltshire still has a proliferation of good family houses, although
demand sometimes exceeds supply. Many of the county's manor houses,
farmhouses and rectories are pre-Victorian.
It is only this century that Wiltshire's popularity
has surged. This is largely thanks to good communications to London,
although the county's appealing landscapes have played a part.
Wiltshire remains predominantly rural, and Swindon is its only
major town. Agriculture is still important, but new, high-tech
industries are now springing up along the M4 corridor.
The county's wide, open spaces, such as Salisbury
Plain - the largest expanse of chalk grassland in England - contrast
with secluded river valleys; to the north-west of the county are
hills overlaid with clay.
Wiltshire also is rich in prehistoric sites,
from Avebury and Silbury Hill in the north to Stonehenge in the
Ease of access to London means that house prices
are buoyant. The most popular areas are those where road and rail
links to the capital are good, such as close to the M4 in the
north and A303 in the south.
Wiltshire's villages and isolated houses tend
to be prettier than its towns, where prices are lower.
Swindon, Salisbury, Calne, Chippenham, Devizes,
Trowbridge, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Warminster and Westbury.
Train: Paddington to Swindon 55min; Paddington
to Chippenham, 1hr 10min; Waterloo to Salisbury 1hr 20min.
Car: Swindon is 76 miles from central London
and Chippenham 93 miles, via the M4. Salisbury is 85 miles, via
the M3 and A30.
St Mary's School, Calne (01249 815899). Girls
only, age range 11-18. Day and boarding. www.stmaryscalne.wilts.sch.uk/
Dauntsey's School, West Lavington (01380 812446). Co-educational,
age range 11-18. Day and boarding. www.dauntseys.wilts.sch.uk/
Marlborough College (01672 892200). Co-educational, age range
11-18. Boarding. www.marlboroughcollege.org/
The Godolphin School, Salisbury (01722 333059). Girls only, age
range 7-18. Day and boarding. www.godolphin.org/
Salisbury Cathedral School (01722 322652). Co-educational, age
range 3-13. Day and boarding. www.salisburycathedralschool.com/
Stonar School, Melksham (01225 702309). Girls only, age range
4-18. Day and boarding. www.stonar.wilts.sch.uk/
Warminster School (01985 213038). Co-educational, age range 4-18.
Day and boarding. www.warminsterschool.org.uk/
Golfcourses: Marlborough (01672 512147); North
Wiltshire, Bishops' Cannings (01380 860257); Salisbury and South
Wiltshire, Netherhampton (01722 742645).
Hunts: the Wilton, the South and West Wiltshire,
the Avon Vale and the Tedworth.
Fishing: rivers Kennet, Avon, Wylye and Nadder.
THE BEST WILTSHIRE COUNTRY HOUSES FOR
SALE IN 2004
(A breakdown of what was for sale & purchase prices)
Pythouse, Tisbury (Grade II* house, 95 acres): £7m
Eastcourt Estate, Malmesbury (Grade II* Cotswold House, 172 acres):
South Wraxall Manor, Bradford-on-Avon (historic manor, 252 acres):
Cowick Farm, Calne (6 bed period house, 483 acres): £3.25m
Corton Manor, Hilmarton (Grade II Manor, 397 acres): £2.7m
Manr House, Kington Langley ('perfect village house', 4.95 acres):
Country Life - June 2005
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