Clarendon Way

This page describes the Clarendon Way.

The Clarendon broadly follows the medieval route between the cathedral cities of Winchester and Salisbury.

Crossing the River Test: - the Clarendon Way crosses the Test at Houghton.

Description of the path

The Romans built a road between Venta Belgarum [Winchester] and [Old Sarum]. Old Sarum had been an Iron Age fort and Romans made it a transport hub and garrison town. A millennium later in the early 13thC Salisbury was developed on the marshlands where several rivers meet.

The Clarendon Way follows old the Roman Road, often directly or within a kilometre, out of Winchester and in two stages as far as Middle Winterslow. Thereafter the path heads to Salisbury along an undulating chalk ridge where it is forested.

Before it reaches Salisbury the path passes by Clarendon Palace. The palace must be the best kept secret place in Wessex. A former hunting lodge the palace was developed by Henry II & III.

The 45.0km route also takes in the two cathedral cities of Winchester and Salisbury as well as Clarendon Palace, Pitton, West Wintserslow, Middle Winterslow, Broughton, Houghton, Kings Somborne from where it climbs to Beacon Hill and Farley Mount, Crab Wood to the outskirts of Winchester: Oliver’s Battery and St Cross.

Clarendon Way Stats

1. Overall

Topic Info comment
Terminus Salisbury Cathedral
Terminus Winchester Cathedral
Total Distance 45.0
Lowest point 28 [m amsl] at St Cross
Highest point 174 [m amsl] at Farley Mount

2. Stages Completed

The stages below are stages completed to date and follow a west to east direction. The distance is taken from GPS data.

Stage Distance Terrain
Salsbury-Clarendon Palace 4.8km moderate
Clarendon Palace - Middle Winterslow 7.2km moderate
Middle Winterslow - Buckholt 4.2km moderate
Buckholt - Broughton 3.5km moderate
Broughton-Houghton 3.9km flat
Houghton-Kings Somborne 2.9km hilly
Kings Somborne - Beacon Hill 5.0km moderate
Beacon Hill - Old Sarum Road 7.0km flat
Old Sarum Road - Winchester 6.9km moderate

The above [one-way] stage distances provide for leisurely afternoon out and back type walks. It is possible to walk the entire way in a day and the Clarendon Way marathon is also popular.

3. Percent and total distance walked to date

Completed % Who Distance Year Notes
100% completed KJM & KM 45.0km 2012 both directions

Points of Interest

Salisbury Cathedral Salisbury: - the start/end point. Originally Old Sarum was the key location - but in the 13thC this all changed and the new cathedral was built down on the river valley. The early city was likened to Venice on account of the network many canals that made up the streets. The last only disappearing in 19thC.
Clarendon Palace Clarendon Palace: - developed by Henry II in the 12thC. It was the scene of the conference attended by Henry II and Thomas a Beckett where the consequences ultimately led to the death of the latter.
Farley Mount Monument Farley Mount Monument: - To a horse. The monument is just 2-300m off the path; it is also the highest point of the Clarendon Way at 174m and offers extensive views.
Winchester Cathedral Winchester Cathedral - the other start/end point - there is much to admire and a lot of history around almost every corner in Winchester.

Getting there - access

We used a car to get to the stage points and walked all the legs out and back. Many of the stage points are difficult to reach by public transport.


Start: 22 January 2012
End: 01 July 2012

References & Links:

Date Reference or link
20141116 Clarendon Way Home page [Hants Co Co]
20141116 Clarendon Way[wikipedia]
20141116 Clarendon Way [LDP Association]

Updated KM 07 December 2014