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Malmesbury Town Trail

Leave the car park via the bridge over the River Avon and ascend the steps-note the brass plaques set into the steps to commemorate the history of Malmesbury. There are views to the left of Abbey House Gardens. At the top of the steps turn right and enter the Cloister Gardens at the rear of the Abbey. Go to the right of the building and enter the Abbey Grounds passing the Old Bell Hotel. Take time to visit the Abbey.

Leave
the Abbey Grounds through the Tolsey gates. Note Birdcage Walk and the bell tower of St Paul Without. In a few steps enter the Market Cross and the 500 year old monument, probably the best preserved in the country. Leave the Market Place by the side of the wine bar to reach the Abbey House Gardens.

Cloister Gardens at Malmesbury Abbey  Malmesbury Abbey, the 7th century,Benedictine Monastry The former woollen mills, near St Johns Bridge

The gardens are open to the public. The Abbey  House was built by William Stumpes a wealthy wool merchant who, at the time of the Dissolution purchased the Abbey. On leaving the gardens after visiting them, turn left (right, if not) passing the Old Brewery and Water Tower to enter Oxford Street. Turn right and over on the left is the Tower House, also owned by William Stumpe and where Henry V111 and Charles 1 are said to have stayed. Continue past the public toilets to enter the Cross Hayes, one of the markets in days gone by. The large building on the edge of the car park is the Town Hall and the Athelstan Museum.

Cross
over the car park to the south-east corner and enter Silver Street site of the town mint in the 11th and 12th centuries. Continue along the street to descend Back Hill Steps. The change in levels marks the limit of the Town Wall and the site of one of the Gates. Turn right along St Johns Street, here are some of the oldest buildings in the town including an archway of the 13th century St Johns Hospital and the Almshouses of The Order Of St John of Jerusalem. At the end of the street, look left to see St Johns Bridge and the former Old Silk Mills built in 1794 and now restored to private flats.

The Old Bell Hotel, one of the oldest buildings in Malmesbury Abbey House Gardens

Turn right and ascend the slope-noting the old cottages on the left built to house the workers from the mill. At the bend in the road take the turning on the left to enter Kings Wall. This is the position of the South Gate of the Town Wall. Carry on along Kings Wall passing a new housing complex and along Burnivale to Bristol Street. Turn left and immediately right to enter West Street. During the 1700's this area produced gloves. Go along West Street to the Horsefair- on the left are a row of five weavers cottages. Turn right along St Mary's Street, where the famous philosopher, Thomas Hobbes was born. St Mary's church has Saxon remains. Turn right to enter The Triangle with the War Memorial. The West Gate stood here.

Continue left along Abbey Row keeping to the left pavement and just before the Old Bell Hotel turn left into Mill Lane. The Old Bell Hotel was the lodgings for the Abbey and is said to be the oldest building in England to be used continuously for guests. On the left is the site of Malmesbury Castle, built in 1130 and destroyed over 600 years ago. The road over looking Abbey Mill stands on the Town Wall and buttresses are still visible here.
Turn left and return to the car park.

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WALK INFORMATION

Parking Station Yard Car Park.
Terrain Pedestrian Pathways
Refreshments Tearooms, Public Houses & Hotels
Other Information Town Guide produced by Malmesbury Town Council available from the RCentre
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