Milk Hill

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Milk Hill
Downland, All Cannings - - 844985.jpg
From the south flank of Tan Hill to Milk Hill
Range: Marlborough Downs
Summit: 967 feet SU10426434
51°22’41"N, 1°51’6"W
View towards Milk Hill

Milk Hill is in Wiltshire, within the Marlborough Downs near Alton Priors, east of Devizes. It is the highest point in Wiltshire, reaching 967 feet above sea level, while the adjacent Tan Hill rises to 965 feet. It is the location of the Alton Barnes white horse, a hill figure cut in 1812.

The hill has most distinctively shaped slopes, a result of its position on the great ridge of the Marlborough Downs hereabouts; an undulating escarpment on the south side of the downs bulges out and round at the hill, forming a formidable glacis around the hill, leaving just the northeast open. The summit though is not in the apex of the scarp but somewhere on the flat ground of the hilltop above, and this summit is Wiltshire's county top.

On 23 August 2009, the BBC programme Countryfile featured an item on analysis by Ordnance Survey to determine whether Milk or Tan Hill were the higher. It was confirmed that Milk Hill is 10 inches higher than Tan Hill.[1]

Milk Hill has been touched by the hand of man since ancient times. Two earthworks are found here; the Cross Dyke along the bulge of the scarp, and the great Wansdyke, running for many miles across the Wiltshire landscape and here giving birth to other, smaller earthen banks.

Wansdyke has a footpath running along it, north of the summit, with other footpaths and bridleways branching off it, including a footpath which clings to the scarp slope, the whole of which slope is Access Land. The hilltop itself is level land and farmed, with no public access.

Located at the western edge of the Vale of Pewsey within the Marlborough Downs, Milk Hill is also the highest summit along a 30-mile ridge extending all the way from the South Downs, across the southern Chilterns and into Wiltshire. Milk Hill is the second-highest point between Bristol and London, exceeded only by Walbury Hill in Berkshire (974 feet).

Milk Hill was the starting point for longest hang-glider flight ever in the United Kingdom on 10 May 2011 by Nev Almond.


  1. "23/08/2009". Countryfile. BBC One. 2009-08-23.

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