DOTTED around the Wiltshire countryside are some 300 of the most attractive small buildings in the county.

The gate lodges to stately homes are generally full of architectural style to reflect the grand country houses whose entrances they guard.

They are easy to spot, nearly all being situated alongside public roads, and they survive in surprisingly large numbers.

Local historian James Holden has created a new and comprehensive guide to Wiltshire’s gate lodges. It is published by The Hobnob Press on behalf of Wiltshire Buildings Record.

Mr Holden, of Bradford on Avon Museum, said: “Wiltshire is well provided with gate lodges and has some of the country’s best.

“They are a treasure, both for the appeal of the buildings themselves and for their historical associations.

“Yet they are not much studied and not much appreciated, a serious omission from architectural history.”

Mr Holden’s book, Wiltshire Gate Lodges: A Guide and Gazetteer, now fills that gap. The guide provides the most comprehensive study of all the county’s 300-plus gate lodges.

Preliminary chapters describe how gate lodges came about, their architecture and how they developed over time. The lodges to the great estates are described in the context of estate history.

Mr Holden said: “A tour of the county highlights many of the most interesting other lodges, and further chapters discuss the lodges to cemeteries, as well as providing insights into the life of the gate lodge keeper.”

Backing this up is a comprehensive gazetteer for the county, describing every lodge, locating it by parish and grid reference, and giving the known details of its history.

The guide is priced at £8, plus £2 post and packaging, or collect from the Wiltshire Buildings Record at Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, SN15 3QN. Tel: 01249 705508.