Distance: Northern route approximately 10 miles; southern route approximately 11 miles.
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer Map Number 168 (Map 1:25000)
Important notes: This route crosses a tributary of the river Avon in part which varies considerably in depth according to rainfall in part therefore the relevant experience is required.
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These drives can be driven as one long route or divided into two separate sections of approximately 10 miles (northern section) and 11 miles (southern section) in length - both of which centre on the Fosse Way. They are also particularly suitable for people looking for shorter routes, as you can reduce their total distance by using interconnecting quiet roads. The driving surfaces are all hard and therefore dry for most of the year, but a tributary of the river Avon needs to be crossed on the southern route and this varies considerably in depth according to rainfall. Access is always possible by car if you need, as no driving on fields or grass lanes is involved. The route is mainly flat. The width of the Fosse Way Roman road (which reputedly enabled sixteen Roman Legionaries to march abreast) has been reduced to that of a single carriageway which can be safely driven by a pair of horses and carriage, with many places for other users to pass by.
Parking facilities for physically restricted users are good and are available on private land. Directions can be obtained from the owner, who has requested that he is contacted well in advance of use (call 01666 502477 or 07843 011238, or alternatively phone his daughter on 07891687969). It is essential that this is done as this is a working farm offering facilities for many activities. Roadside parking is another option but depends on how wet the ground is.
The Fosse Way
The Fosse Way was originally built by the Romans (some historians believe it may have been built as early as 400BC), to form a main road from Ilchester in the south west to Lincoln in the north east. It is now mostly public highway but retains the charm of the ancient track on the Wiltshire/Gloucestershire border, on which you’ll drive. For the first few decades after the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43, the Fosse Way marked the western frontier of Roman rule in Iron Age Britain and there’s debate about whether the road resulted from removal of soil to make this ditch or whether the ditch came first. This explains its name as a derivation from the Latin word – fossa, or ditch. Small amounts of this ditch are apparently visible beside a section of the route driven.
The nearby historic small towns of Tetbury and Malmesbury are well worth visiting, as well as Cirencester, which is 11 miles away.
Further information about the general area and its facilities and numerous tourist attractions can be found on sites on the right.
These routes were researched and kindly submitted by Learn to Carriage Drive.
1. Turn right out of the gate opposite the back of Melcourt Industries Ltd. bark chipping yard.
2. When you meet the road (Crudwell Lane) turn right to Chedglow and follow the road. It is possible to continue up the Fosse Way by turning left after approximately 50m on the right-handed bend in the road but if you do this you will miss the chance to see the picturesque village of Chedglow.
3. Continue along the road for just over a mile to Chedglow where you take the first turning left towards Ashley.
4. Once again, continue along this road for approximately another mile and a half until you reach a left hand bend in the road at the foot of a hill, here turn right onto the Fosse Way Byway at Fosse Gate.
5. On reaching the tarmac road at the end of the track turn left towards Culkerton (if you try to follow along the Fosse Way any further it leads to a dead end at the Cotswold Airport)
6. Continue for another one mile until you reach Culkerton. Turn left here at small crossroads (by a stone wall) and continue towards Manor Farm buildings.
7. This road will lead you to Ashley, where you turn first right just after the tennis court and red telephone box, keeping the Manor House with its small church on your left.
8. Continue for almost two miles along this road and take the first left, signed Crudwell and Long Newnton.
9. Once again continue along the road to the next left turn (by Church Farm).
10. Follow this road for another one and a half miles (passing the entrance to Melcourt Industries) and you will see the Byway sign indicating the Fosse Way on your right.
11. Turn down this, and you will reach the place where you parked.
1. Turn left out of the gate where you parked and drive approximately three miles down the Fosse Way - crossing over two roads before reaching the River Avon tributary. Take care crossing this, and make sure that it is not too deep for the size of your horse or pony.
2. After crossing the water continue down the Fosse Way a further mile and take the next turning on your right after Fosse Cottages (the name sign is on the wall behind you). You will then be heading towards Shipton Moyne.
3. Continue through the village, passing the Cat and Custard Pot public house on your left.
4. Immediately on leaving the village take the next three left turnings to make a circle to the west of the village.
5. This slight detour will return you to the point where you first entered the village. As well as enabling you to obtain refreshments at the pub it safely increases the length of your drive if you so wish.
6. Turn right, and continue approx. one and a half miles along the road (part of which you have already driven) until you reach the B4040.
7. Turn left onto the B4040 towards Malmesbury past Twatley Cottages on your left.
8. After approximately half a mile, take the next left towards Brokenborough. As you drive over the bridge, look left at the artistic graffiti on the farm building in the field.
9. When you reach the top of the short steep hill you will see a large layby on your left, where you may decide to take a break. It can also be used for parking.
10. Continue on the road, into Brokenborough, past the Horse Guards Pub (good food and horse friendly - also has accommodation) and take the second left next to an old chapel on your left. Take care when turning down the short steep hill.
11. Follow the stream for a short distance and continue on this road for approximately a mile before re-joining the Fosse Way.
12. Turn right onto the Fosse Way, retracing your steps for approximately two miles until you return to your vehicle - once again having driven through the river and crossed two roads. Be careful to enter the airfield through the entrance from which you left, as this will assist work on the farm to continue without fear of any accident taking place.
Food/shops: There are no shops in the villages through which you pass, but tasty ‘pub grub’ can be found in the Cat and Custard Pot in Shipton Moyne (01666 880249), and Horse Guards at Brokenborough (01666 822302). Many other options exist in villages near to (but not on) the identified route.
Insurance: The BHS recommends that before undertaking any part of this route, both horse and rider should be adequately insured against public liability. The British Horse Society can provide public liability and personal accident insurance cover as well as many benefits if you join as a member (terms and conditions and territorial limits apply). For more information or to join, visit our Membership section.
Feedback: These routes are kept to the standard that the local authority can afford. They were all accessible at the lime of launch and are on definitive public rights of way. If you experience any problems with the routes or wish to raise any concerns, please contact the local authority, your local BHS Access Officer or the Access Team at BHS HQ via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture courtesy of Hazel Woodbridge.