If it seems like we've been doing a lot of travelling, it's partly because we have BritRail passes and we need to use up a set number of travelling days. We used up one day today by heading down to Salisbury, which takes less than two hours to reach by train. We were lucky and had a comfortable and actually reasonably sunny day for travel.
First, we went to the famous cathedral, which boasts a very tall spire, the tallest in England, I think.
Then, we decided to hike the two miles north to Old Sarum, the site of the original motte and bailey castle and first cathedral. It was used by William the Conqueror and Henry II kept Eleanor of Aquitaine prisoner there for awhile. It was already a ruin by the time of Henry VIII, so he allowed all the good building stone to be hauled away. Sadly, there isn't a whole lot left, but it's really cool to see. The foundations of the first cathedral are also visible, at least in part.
Modern-day bridge over palisade.
It should have taken us about 45 minutes to walk up to Old Sarum. The first part was lovely, on a path along the River Avon (which is really shallow in Salisbury). Then we discovered that the course was not nearly so well signed as the friendly woman at the Tourist Information office had assured us. We took two unanticipated detours on our way up. We took the bus back to Salisbury.
However, the hiking was worth it for the fabulous views of the Wiltshire countryside.