|The entrance to Chippenham Tourist Information|
There's other claims to its classification (see W coming soon for one of them), but today I'm more concerned with looking at Chippenham as an ideal base for tourism. Doing this themed ABC has helped me to start to revise my feelings about the town: there's much to commend it, but I have to honestly say it's a place which has much greater riches surrounding it.
Within a 15 minute drive there's the National Trust village of Lacock to explore, not only a pretty village in its own right, but with links to both the Harry Potter films and early pioneering photography. There's also Castle Combe, the oft called 'prettiest village in England' and Corsham with its attendant stately home - Corsham Court - within a similar timeframe away.
Driving for half an hour brings you to the World Heritage sites of Bath and Avebury as well as the gardens at The Courts, the national arboretum at Westonbirt, or the pleasant historic towns of Bradford on Avon and Devizes.
An hour brings the cities of Bristol, Cardiff and Salisbury; plus the lure of The Cotswolds, Stonehenge, Longleat and Stourhead all within reach. A little longer and London can be visited by rail. An hour and half's drive will take you to Oxford or the delights of the World Heritage coastline of Dorset's Jurassic Coast, as well as a good look at many of Wiltshire's famous white horses carved in the chalk downland which crosses the county. At the right time of the year, there's mysterious crop circles to find too.
If the outdoors is more your thing, then walks up high in the chalkland, along The Ridgeway or Wansdyke - 2 ancient routes which cut through the county - are rewarding. Savernake Forest will show you how much of this area must have been when it was a royal hunting ground during Saxon times. The Kennet and Avon canal has possibilities of slowing life down to a calming 4 miles an hour or less if you hire a boat. There's also the Cotswold Water Park for all kinds of other watery activities.
All of these riches mean it's a pretty good place to live. Not only that, you may have 'visited' here yourselves already as Wiltshire's been the location for lots of films and TV programmes.
Crumbs, looks like I should start a B&B ;)
This is for ABC Wednesday and forms the 20th of my themed posts about Chippenham.