Wilton is a small town in Wiltshire
, a few miles to the west of Salisbury
. It is on the edge of the countryside, and has a joint Subaru
dealership - a sure sign of rurality. It has no nightlife, no nightclubs, a handful of takeaways and no less than two car parks. There is a park with a river that overflows, lots of swans, WWII-era tank traps, and a bowls club. There are very few young people and consequently it is quite possible to stroll through the town at midnight, naked, without being threatened or harassed by ne'er-do-well
s. It will one day be absorbed into Salisbury; the boundary between the two consists of the estate of Wilton House
and some playing fields.
Wilton has three interesting attributes:
- It contains the British Army's Land Command headquarters, a large, fenced-off area with barracks and administrative blocks. The forces are directly and indirectly one of the local area's biggest employers. Job applicants have to fill out reams of government forms, which ask questions such as 'Have you at any time committed acts of terrorist or espionage?' (this is a true fact).
- Wilton used to be the site of the Wilton Royal Carpet Factory, purveyors of posh carpets to Harrods, Rolls Royce, and the gentry. This used to be the area's second-most important local employer. Unfortunately, the factory closed in 1995; presumably, rich people no longer wanted carpets. The building and grounds are now a museum and a shopping village which, thankfully, is very popular, although it does not employ as many people as the factory.
- Sting has a house nearby, and attends the local dentist. I know this to be true; I have walked past him in the waiting room. The area is something of a magnet for retirees, as it is largely crime-free and very quiet.
Wilton is possibly the most English village in the world; it has tank traps left over from World War Two (small concrete blocks set into the sides of the road, designed to mess up the suspension and tracks of Panzers), most of the local residents are either well-off or old or both, and there is even a local stately home, Wilton House, which has an excellent adventure playground. House prices fall into two bands - sub-£80,000 for the peasants, and plus-£250,000 for the landowners.
The name itself derives from the river Wylye - Wilton is 'Wylye-town'.