In the summer of 2023, David Clensy set off on a long walk – seeking to tackle the 93 miles of
Wiltshire’s White Horse Trail, joined in the adventure by his wide-eyed 10-year-old son, Charlie.
Walking the White Horses, a work of narrative non-fiction, which is published in November 2023,
follows their progress as they make their way from horse to horse. The book takes the reader on a
lyrical and entertaining meander through the natural wonders of southern England’s chalk downland
environment, its people, heritage and wildlife. Along the way the author explores the story of these
striking equine hill figures and the role they have played in the cultures, belief systems and lived
experiences of Wiltshire folk across the centuries.
David Clensy, a writer and former newspaper journalist from Trowbridge, said: “The white horses are
iconic features of Wiltshire’s chalk downlands – symbolic of humanity’s shaping of the natural
landscape to reflect our passions for wildlife throughout history. The book celebrates both the natural
world we experienced on the walk and the heritage treasures carved into our landscape.”
There are eight White Horses still visible in the Wiltshire landscape today – Westbury, Devizes,
Cherhill, Broad Town, Hackpen, Marlborough, Pewsey and Alton Barnes. The 93-mile walk takes in
them all. The book culminates in a visit to the most famous – and the oldest by many centuries – the
Uffington White Horse, over the county border in present day Oxfordshire (formerly Berkshire).
Charlie’s place alongside the author as they take on the journey, opens up the narrative to become
a charming portrait of a father and son relationship. The 10-year-old’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for
exploring the nature on his own doorstep and his fascination for the white horse hill figures helps to
create a unique piece of work, reigniting the youthful wonder for our natural environment deep
within us all.
“Charlie loved every minute of the walk,” the author said. “To experience the landscape of his home
county by foot in this way in one long memorable summer at the age of 10, will I hope, inspire a
lifetime of wonder in the world around him.”
• Walking the White Horses: Wiltshire’s White Horse Trail on Foot, by David Clensy, is available
now from Amazon and independent bookshops, priced £8.99.