Country houses for sale

England’s counties: Wiltshire

Best thing: The 5,000-year-old enigma of Stonehenge may never be solved, yet it remains a unique glimpse of another time, and one of England’s icons

Local food: Bradenham ham (made to a secret recipe including molasses and juniper berries); Chippenham cured bacon; Tracklements mustard; Ashmore Farmhouse cheese; Lardy Cake; Swindon farmer’s market

Heroes: Sir Christopher Wren; Thomas Hobbes; William Henry Fox Talbot, the father of modern photography

Events: The Duck Feast, Charlton, preserves the memory of Stephen Duck, a labourer who became a poet and protégé of Queen Caroline in 1729; the Devizes to West-minster 125-mile canoe race; Grovely ceremonies begins at dawn with the Tin Can Band

Inventions: The first ever photograph was taken at Lacock Abbey by William Fox Talbot in 1835 of the Oriel Window in the library

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Battle: The Battle of Roundway Down in 1643 when Lord Hopton’s cavalry routed Sir William Waller’s army was arguably the most decisive Royalist victory of the Civil War

Worst thing: It doesn’t pay to be porcine around Wiltshire: in the ‘Kingdom of the Pig’ it’s said that the only part of the pig not eaten is his squeal

Nickname Moonrakers: surprised by excisemen, a gang of smugglers pretended to be raking the ‘big cheese’ out of the pond. Dismissed as simple yokels, they were free to gather their submerged contraband

What they say: Wordsworth described Stonehenge as ‘innate of lonesome Nature’s endless year’

Artistic connections: Surrealist Desmond Morris; Michael Crawford, actor

Etymology: Swindon comes from Suindune, Anglo-Saxon for ‘pig hill’

Oldest: The 17th-century Wilton Carpet Factory is the world’s oldest factory of its kind still in use

Wildlife: Great bustards, one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, feature on Wiltshire’s coat of arms and were reintroduced to Britain in the county

Top secret
: A 35-acre subterranean city built in the 1950s, Burlington was designed to shelter the Prime Minister and 4,000 others from nuclear fallout

Houses: Salisbury Cathedral; Longleat House, a superb example of a great Eliza-bethan property; Wilton House

Salisbury Plain; River Avon; the view of Salisbury Cathedral from the water meadows was voted as ‘The Best View in Britain’ in a competition run by COUNTRY LIFE