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The City in the Countryside
As you walk around Salisbury it soon becomes evident why many people describe this place as the city in the countryside. It almost has a village atmosphere. It’s quintessentially British with medieval cottages, a market square, and the tallest cathedral spire in the UK. The centre of town has plenty of shops and bars and restaurants, just like any other modern city. If you walk for five minutes, however…
Queen Elizabeth Gardens
My favourite park in Salisbury is Queen Elizabeth Gardens. Shallow water flows through it, and there are weeping willows abound. I used to come here as a child to paddle in the water with my grandma and her dog.
On a sunny spring bank holiday morning it was surprisingly quiet, its population consisting mainly of ducklings.
East Harnham Water Meadows
The southern suburb of Salisbury is called Harnham and is linked to Queen Elizabeth Gardens by a public footpath, aptly named ‘Town Path’. The Town Path runs through East Harnham Meadows - a site of special scientific interest. And there are lambs.
The rivers are allowed to flood into the meadows as an effective form of irrigation since the 17th century. The famous 1826 painting Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds by John Constable was painted from these meadows.
The Old Mill
In the suburb of Harnham itself there is The Old Mill - a 17th century paper mill turned hotel, a listed Tudor building.
You can see where water from the river Nadder rushes underneath The Old Mill. Children and dogs alike enjoy jumping into the water and splashing about by the weir on hot days.
Harnham Slope and Chalkpit
To the west of Harnham there is a hill that has another public footpath running along it. Halfway along there is a lookout point with a picnic table where you have an undisturbed view over Salisbury, with the cathedral jutting up from the middle of the city. This is probably the best view you’re going to get.
A little further along the path you come to the chalk pit - a disused chalk quarry. Much of the geology of Salisbury and Wiltshire is chalk - evident by the county’s large number of white horses. These days, people come to the chalk pit to ride bikes.
And that is why I love my city.