Rising in the chalk hills to the east of Shaftesbury and fringing the Salisbury Plain, the River Nadder begins its route through the most beautiful pastoral country in south Wiltshire, its meandering course adding much to the diversity of the landscape. Fed by springs from the Donheads, the Nadder links with the River Sem north of Wardour before continuing its leisurely course through such historic settlements as Tisbury, Dinton and Wilton, the ancient capital of Wessex. The Nadder Valley has not suffered from the over exposure of tourism. Although possessing magnificent country houses, such as Wilton House, Fonthill, Pyt House and the two Wardour Castles, its charm lies in the river and its rich variety of scenery. Woods, fields, narrow waterways and gently undulating hills are the backdrop to the tiny hamlets and twisting country lanes that so delight the rural explorer.