Capability Brown’s Pleasure Walk in Longleat

A well deserved day off started off with a little bit of a lie in. Needed a wee so much though that I had to get up at 8am. There’s a bit of a nip in the air as I dash from the awning to the loo wrapping my dressing gown around me, hoping no-one’s watching as I do the dash of shame. It’s bizarre how you do things on a campsite that you’d never do at home. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen people walking their dogs in their Jim jams, chatting with a fellow dog walker, swing a poo bag.

The Boss has decided this last week that he’s going to shift some of the calories that have gathered around his waistline by getting the bike out again. Bearing in mind that we are currently residing in Wiltshire, the land of hills, it’s the solo bike not the tandem. I stay snuggled in my dressing gown as he pours himself into his Lycra.

Cup of tea and breakfast finished I head armed with a toilet brush and decide to give the caravan loo a scrub, pink and blue jobs correctly aligned, he can empty it when he gets back. I make the bed, throw the uniform in the washer and do a bit of general tidying up. I tackle the carpet with the hoover and pop a joint of pork in the oven for later. Just as my bum hits the chair, he’s back and it looks like I’ve not moved in the hour or so that he’s been gone.

Bacon and eggs sizzle on the cadac as butter is smothered liberally on barms, left over from last nights burgers, this is where the debate over the correct noun for a bread roll starts. Being from Bolton, it’s always going to be a barm.

Outside the sea lions honk in the distance demanding food from the passing boat, lions roar and a woodpecker hammers noisily, closer by on a tree, only in Wiltshire.

The Boss decides a walk is needed, it’s dry and bright but quite chilly so we wrap up, grab our annual passes for Longleat and head off, to the pub. In days gone by you used to be able to walk from the site, through Longleat, for a mile or so to The Bath Arms. Not anymore, in order to access the park, even just to walk through it to the pub you need a ticket. Shimmying through excited families eager to see the animals and attractions we head out past the house and into the grounds.

In the tree line across from the front of the house a very mouldy sign announces the entrance to the Capability Brown’s Pleasure Walk.

Through the gate a tree lined path leads you up above the grounds of Longleat with spectacular views across to Heaven’s Gate. Despite it being the height of the Easter Holidays and Longleat bursting to the seams with families we are surprised to have the entire walk all to ourselves. We pass not a single soul. Just how we like it.

Wandering along the path, wild flowers of spring are dotted all over, typically we talk as we walk. It’s funny how our conversation has now changed, “How on earth did they cut that hedge?” “I wonder how long it takes to cut that field of grass?”

Sculptures of various shapes and designs are scattered along the walk to keep you entertained. My favourite is Brigid, a wooden, turbaned lady, eyes closed, silently contemplating.

Out through the grandest front gate and a short walk up yet another hill, my little legs hate hills, to the pub at the top, The Bath Arms, for a well deserved pint of Dagger’s Blonde, a new one for us, very nice it was too.

All downhill on the way back, through the front garden gates and down the sweeping drive, as we near the house we see a security guard heading towards us, “Have we got tickets? You’re not allowed in if you haven’t.” Annual passes dutifully flashed and he waves us on our way, with a quick detour past the koalas, Cuban Crocodiles and Hairy Nosed Wombats we head back.

Chatting on the way, as usual, I can talk for England. I remember years ago, a friend went for an interview at Asda, they asked her if she was an animal, which one would she be. She replied an owl. I’ve had nearly thirty years to think this one through. I’d be a Hairy Nosed Wombat, short legged, walks with a waddle, with hairs starting to grow out of the mole under my nose since I became a menopausal boiler.

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