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AROUND 150 people made the most of the chance to see inside some of the most historic buildings in Devizes on Saturday.

The heritage open day organised by the Trust For Devizes meant that seven iconic locations were open free of charge and it is hoped even more will be part of the scheme next year.

Among the visitors were a couple from Australia who were pleased to see inside buildings including those that date back to the 12th century.

One of the most popular was the lock up below Devizes Town Hall where Richard Ormerod not only gave expert information but also dressed to look the part. The lock-up dates from 1806 and was used to imprison troublemakers overnight.

The ornate Masonic Lodge in Morris Lane was also popular and guides were also on hand here to help people make the most of their visit.

Bill Hicks, secretary of the Lodge of Fidelity in Devizes, said: "This was a most successful day. We had about 130 to 140 visitors and all seemed very pleased with the way they were received and guided around. We had some very nice comments about the guides."

Philippa Morgan, of the Trust For Devizes was equally pleased with the day but believes it can be made even better.

She said: "We are keen to open more places next year so will be looking for ideas and suggestions about people and places to approach.

"The day went well with about 150 people visiting overall. Visitors came from all over Wiltshire with one couple even from Australia."

Other buildings open on Saturday included Wiltshire Museum, St John's, St Mary's, St James' and St Peter's churches.

In Marlborough The Merchant’s House opened its doors on Sunday, granting free entry into the 17th century property.

Experts greeted the public throughout the silk merchant’s house and current restoration work was on show. The house’s garden, reconstructed to depict a town house garden from the 1600s, was also open.

There were guided walks to Pewsey Downs National Nature Reserve along the chalk downlands and through ancient trackways on Friday afternoon.

Free entry and tours were available at Wilton Windmill in Wilton on Saturday and Crofton Beam Engines also provided free entry to explore the pumping station from Thursday to Sunday.