Last weekend was a busy one - we were running a training course for delegates from outside the UK, and as they didn't leave until Sunday we showed them around - "did the tourist thing" with them. Pictures follow.
Advert 1 - for delegates on courses
who wish to stay an extra day or two - there's PLENTY to see and do. Returning delegates (with partners where relevant) also welcome to come and see Wiltshire at delegate rates.
Advert 2 - if you're looking for a quiet retreat from which to tour the area, we welcome "small hotel" guests too. We've not got all the services that can be offered in a 100 room hotel, but we do have superb rooms and make an excellent and friendly base. See [here]
In Lacock Church - 4 miles from Melksham where we're based. Lacock village shows you how a village would have been 200 years ago - most of the properties are owned by the National Trust, and there's Lacock Abbey, the Fox Talbot museum, a pretty stream, the old causeway bridge over the river Avon, the church and much much more. Four miles from Melksham.
There is a wide variety of palces to eat while you're touring in Wiltshire - the George and the Red Lion in Lacock are two possible choices. Personally, I really enjoy the Red Lion - one of Lacock's newer buildings; I remember going there one day in winter with a snow storm blowing outside, and just a few hardy souls eating excellent food in a friendly and convivial atmosphere! Four miles from Melksham.
There are may pretty little country churches and church yards - this one's less than a mile from the previous picture at Lacock, with beautiful views over the vale of the river Avon. Other churches - such as Sandy Lane - are even more interesting; that's a wooden, thatched (?) church which to my knowledge is unique. Four miles from Melksham.
The Kennet and Avon canal took boats from Bristol to London ... at at Caen Hill near Devizes it climbs the hill to go over the watershed with a flight of 29 locks - most of them in a daunting line right up the hill. Even when there are no boats passing through, visitors are welcome to wander around and marvel. Six miles from Melksham.
Also close to the canal near Semington you'll find "Freddie's Wood". Reachable from the path beside the canal, and also across open fields from Bowerhill (Melksham's outskirts). A lovely area of trees, of all different sorts - planted by a benefactor as a quiet and relaxing place - and we love it. Thank you, Freddie. Less than a mile from Bowerhill, less that 2 from the centre of Melksham.
Last Satruday was Melksham's Party in the Park - held each year with stalls and music and running in afternoon and evening sessions. The metrics are different; in the afternoon it's very much "family" and here is one on the stalls. In the evening it's much more concert and fireworks. A big gathering - I understand that up to 5000 people come in through the gate. A few hundred yards from the centre of Melksham.
Sandwiched between the two sessions of "Party in the Park" is the Melksham Carnival - and Kathryn and her committee did us proud. All the more remarkable as it was her first year at the helm. Our guests entered into the true spirit of Carnival, and joined me in the parade, walking with the float (OK - it was a car with sandwich boards!) of the Melksham Community Area Partnership. Right through the centre or Melksham.
Crowds lines the route of the carnival parade - here are the crowds outside the King's Arms pub, on the Market Square, as we walked past. On any day, Melksham is a friendly town - visitors (and there, perhaps, more on this day than any other) always get the warmest of welcomes, the opportunity to see some really interesting buildings, and to choose between plenty of eating places. Centre of Melksham.
"Carnival is the only day when a procession of heavy lorries is welcome through Melksham" someone said to me during the parade. And - thinking about it - they're right. The floats were decorated by local schools, leisure groups and other organizations and drove through the town, then looped around Spa Road and Warwick Crescent and Kenilworth Road. Here's the Manor School's float, taken just yards from our Well House Manor, and about 400 yards from Melksham Town Centre.
A familiar site in Melksham is Peter Dauncey - our town crier - who reminds us of how the news used to be spread before the days of newspaper, radio, TV and the Internet. Of course, even town criers have moved with the times - I think I see Peter with a digital camera, don't I? Near to Melksham Town Centre
Melksham is a market town set in a rural hinterland, and some of the floats in the parade used agricultural vehicles rather than HGVs as there base. Here's a float at the end of the parade in King's Street Car Park - a few hundred yards from Melksham Town Centre.
After the carnival and party in the park, we walked back to Well House Manor. This is where our visitors were staying - our business hotel which offers high quality rooms in a quiet setting, and is also suitable for some leisure groups. About 800 yards from Melksham Town Centre.
Avebury is a stone circle that's bigger and older (but less famous) that Stonehenge. You can drive from Melksham to Avebury via Calne and Cherhill - stopping in Calne, and at Cherhill to see the White Horse - if you wish. And when you get to Avebury, there's also the Barn, the Alexander Keeler museum, and Avebury Manor all of which are oepn to you to see. About 10 miles from Melksham.
The West Kennett Long Barrow, the Sanctuary, and Silbury Hill are close to Avebury. This is Silbury Hill. But the ancient artifacts don't end there. There's Windmill Hill too, and many other lesser sites. About 10 miles from Melksham.
White Horses are cut into the chalk of the hillsides in a number of places in Wiltshire. The nearest to us in Melksham is at Devizes - a modern horse - and then there are others at Westbury, Cherhill, and the one we pictured here at Alton Barnes. The Marlborough horse, and the horse at Hackpen Hill, are also near. Alton Barnes is about 10 miles from Melksham.
People often think that I'm joking when I ask them about Woodhenge. But - yes - it does exist, and here it is. Of course, all the wood rotted away a very long time ago. You can see where the columns were, though, as they're marked with concrete pillars - and those pillars all have different coloured tops so that you can tell what's what from the interpretation boards. Woodhenge is just under 20 miles from Melksham.
And here's the last of the sites we took in over the weekend - and probably the most famous of the lot. It's Stonehenge. Always very busy - always a "must see" for our visitors - but although it's impressive, they end up impressed more by the variety that we have in our area. Stonhenge is the furthest point that I've shown you on this tour from Melksham - but it's still less than 20 miles from Melksham.
And so - on Sunday afternoon - to Salisbury station. Two of our delegates left by train for Woking and the transfer bus to Heathrow, and the third off to his next destination in the UK, as he's taking a few days holiday.
Thank you - "K", "G" and "K" - for coming to learn some advanced Perl stuff. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to show you around some of the sites and scenes of Wiltshire. The course was / is the important thing - but it's also so good to be able to look around and get the real feel of the place. And Wiltshire is such a lovely place to live, to tour, and to work. (written 2010-07-21, updated 2010-07-30)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesM200 - Well House Manor - Wiltshire 
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2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17) 
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Then and now pictures of Melksham - on show through the summer - (2012-05-11) 
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Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15) 
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