On the road again - 7 - Bratton Camp
Updated: Jul 12
I continued eastbound on the main A362 to Frome where I joined the A road through Chapmanslade to Westbury. At the end of the road I turned left along the main road through town. A short distance on I turned onto a B road that is signposted for Bratton. At a crossroads I turned right onto a road known as Newtown. The road climbs out of town, becoming steeper as it turns left under a canopy of trees. At the end of that road, I turned left, then kept left as the road levels out. I had arrived atop Bratton Camp.
I chose to park on the left in a bit of a layby. There are loads of parking spots, including a large car park. The spot I chose had a commanding view from my door and, besides, I wasn’t taking up a large portion of the car park. I could see the Mendips, where I had lately travelled across, in the West. Panning right is the lowland out to Bristol. Continuing round, a panoramic view of the Cotswolds. To the East is Pewsey Vale.
Bratton Camp is an Iron Age hillfort. The famous Westbury White Horse, the oldest of the white horses of Wiltshire, is just below the hillfort, a few yards from the parking area, on the escarpment of Salisbury Plain, overlooking the town of Westbury and the Somerset Levels beyond.
I was treated to an incredible sunset that first evening.
I loved being there. I stayed for three nights. At night, I could see the lit-up trains crossing the levels and stopping at a railway station.
Sheep grazed on the escarpment.
A lot of the locals walked their dogs, many flew kites and windsailers launched themselves from there. I spent most of my time soaking up the views as I wandered around the hillfort.
One day, I met a lady who introduced herself as Amanda. She was walking her dog. The dog was very excitable and bounded around me as I was returning to my caravan at the end of a walk. We chatted for a bit. I then invited Amanda for a cup of tea, explaining at the same time that her dog would have to sit at a suitably safe distance, due to the probability of confrontation with the cats. She accepted the offer. The dog sat by the truck. Amanda seemed generally interested in my lifestyle. She had asked about bathing. I explained that I made do with ‘bucket baths’; strip-washes. In response, she offered the use of a shower. Believe me, she didn’t have to offer that twice! I thanked her and readily accepted the offer.
Soon, I was at Amanda’s home, having been taken there by car. She had bought some groceries en route, which she knocked up into a meal while I enjoyed the shower. We had a small tipple and a chat, before I was given a lift back to my home.
On what was to be my last day, I was visited by a couple of constables. They were doing their rounds. They had spotted that the truck didn’t have any road tax levied against it. I thanked them for reminding me and explained that I had intended to buy tax before crossing into Hampshire and what I call Babylon. The Wiltshire-Hampshire border is also the border between the chilled West and the dog-eat-dog East. The constables laughed and acknowledged the accuracy of my definition, even commenting on the reputation of the neighbouring police force.
I eventually dragged myself from this spot. I continued along the lane and dropped down to the village of Bratton, picking up the main road and continuing eastbound. At the village of Littleton Panell, I turned left at the crossroads, taking the A360 to Devizes.