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Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire

Historical Description

Salisbury Plain, an undulating tract of chalk country in Wiltshire, extending from the E border westward to Westbury and Warminster, and from the vale of Pewsey 10 miles southward to the vicinity of Salisbury. It has an average elevation of about 400 feet above sea-level; rises in the W, on Westbury Down, to a height of 775 feet; presents a rolling surface, somewhat similar to that of the ocean after a storm; is watered in the SE by the river Bourne; across the E portion past Amesbury by the river Avon, and along the SW border by the river Wiley; contains the stupendous old monument Stonehenge, and numerous ancient camps, barrows, and earthworks; was till a comparatively recent period all in a state of nature, bare of trees, and used only for sheep-pasture; and still includes tracts either waste or entirely pastoral, but has been extensively reclaimed for cultivation, even up to the very vicinity of Stonehenge. Extensions of it anciently went into Hants and Somerset, giving it a length of about 50 miles from E to W and a breadth of 35 or more from N to S.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


Online maps of Salisbury Plain are available from a number of sites: