Digital SLR Photography

The hidden gems of Wiltshire

By Mark Bauer. Posted

Once you get away from the more obvious locations such as Stonehenge and Salisbury, Wiltshire is a rather under-photographed county. However, it is far from lacking in interest, boasting a wide variety of landscape, including chalk downs, iron-age forts, sparkling lakes and ancient woodland. It has more prehistoric sites within its borders than any other county, including Stonehenge and Avebury, two of the most important in Europe. It also has more than its fair share of historic buildings, with Salisbury Cathedral being the jewel in the crown. And perhaps best of all, unlike the neighbouring county of Dorset, which is jam-packed with photography hotspots, you’ll often find that you have these locations to yourself.

1. Cherhill

This is without doubt the most photogenic of Wiltshire’s famous white horses, because you can get such a good angle on it from the neighbouring hill; the ridges in the hills catch low evening sunlight beautifully, adding wonderful depth to compositions.

Photo expedition Wiltshire Cherhill White Horse-2

2. King Alfred’s Tower

The National Trust property and gardens of Stourhead are very popular, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t nip around the corner to King Alfred’s Tower, a folly built in 1772 to commemorate the end of the Seven Years’ War against France.

Photo expedition Wiltshire King Alfred’s Tower

3. Alton Barnes

The second biggest white horse in the county is just outside the village of Alton Barnes. It was commissioned in 1812 by local farmer Robert Pile and the design is based on the one at Cherhill. You'll find there are good compositions from the fields below.

Photo expedition Wiltshire Alton Barnes White Horse

4. Westbury

Being the oldest white horse in the county, and an impressive 55-metres tall, the Westbury white horse has more historical interest than its cousin at Cherhill, but is harder to photograph as you can’t get a good elevated angle. The effort though is well worth it.

Photo expedition Wiltshire Westbury White Horse

5. The Ox Drove, Win Green Hill

Most people stay at the base of the hill at Win Green to shoot the impressive clump of beech trees on the top but climb the hill and walk past the trees to Ox Drove, an ancient track that winds into the distance forming a strong lead-in line.
Photo expedition Wiltshire Westbury Ox Drove

6. Lower Moor Farm

In the north of the county is the Lower Moor Farm nature reserve, which forms part of the Cotswold Water park. There are three lakes there worth visiting, of which Mallard Lake, a designated SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), is especially photogenic.

Photo expedition Wiltshire Mallard Lake

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