Pathways > The Pathways book > Ridgeways

Ridgeways

Ridgeways are some of the oldest known tracks in Britain, offering obvious navigational advantages and a clear sight of the surrounding country. For the book we decided to feature the best known of all, the 'Great Ridgeway' running north east from Avebury. The entire track is littered with ancient remains, including several hillforts, prehistoric chamber tombs and, of course, Uffington's famous White Horse.

But ridgeway routes are to be found all over the country and each has its own story to tell. Often the paths will lead through or past an Iron Age hillfort and in later centuries they were regularly used as drove roads (the dryness of being above the springline must have been welcome with a herd of cattle).

Nicholas Rudd-Jones' Woolstone to Uffington White Horse walk, featured in the book, is free to download once you have joined as a member of Walkingworld.

Below you can read the full chapter from the book.
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The great sheets of ice and snow from the last glacial phase began to recede around 14,000 years ago, slowly opening up the British landmass to new vegetation, an influx of wildlife and, ultimately, human habitation. The change in climate was remarkably quick – temperatures rose to near current levels within around 50 years – but the thaw took several centuries longer. With so much water locked up in ice, sea levels remained low. The first hunter-gatherers to colonise the land from the continent found the easiest living on the low-lying terrain that is now under the North Sea. Dubbed “Doggerland” (after Dogger Bank) by archaeologists, the gently undulating landscape, with winding rivers, areas of marshland and stumpy hills, would have formed a rich hunting ground.

During this Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) period, lasting from roughly 9000BC to 4000BC, the majority of paths would have formed through the simple pounding of feet. Animals make tracks to get from their lairs or burrows to forage for food and water. These regularly followed pathways have the insistence of a river. When a tree has fallen down or the route becomes too muddy to pass easily, creatures start to make tracks on either side of the obstruction. The phrase “desire line” has been coined to encapsulate this tendency to get from A to B by the most straightforward route possible. Over time the route becomes a habit – feet like to follow footsteps – and a semi-permanent track is created. The earliest human pathways would have been just the same.

But a more planned approach to path-making may have started to emerge, even at this early date. As hunter-gatherers, Mesolithic people left few lasting marks on the landscape, but excavations at a handful of settlements, including Starr Carr in East Yorkshire, suggest that family groups were beginning to lay claim to tracts of land. From Starr Carr they travelled to collect flint from the coast near Flamborough Head, from which they could make axes to clear woodland and cut pathways. It is possible that some Mesolithic folk practiced an early form of transhumance – a short seasonal migration between summer and winter pastures. If so, they may have done more than simply follow where their herded animals went: they may have started to lay down timber to make bridges over streams and trackways over marshy ground. They may have created the first “manmade” paths.

As sea levels rose, eventually to cut Britain off from the continent, the pressure on the remaining land increased. This may have generated a greater need to mark territory out as one’s own. It was the arrival of a farming economy around 4000 BC, in the time we call the Neolithic or New Stone Age, that witnessed a sudden increase in settlements and of more permanent, deliberately routed, tracks. The people cleared large areas of trees for fields and began to trade, often over great distances.

They also started to create monuments. Communal burial mounds, such as the long barrows with their stone-built compartments, indicate that they pursued some sort of “cult of the ancestors”. Whatever the spiritual dimension, these mounds almost certainly served a more practical purpose: sited at the boundaries of their cultivated land, they helped the living to lay claim to their ancestral rights.

The large circular henges, consisting of raised banks and ditches and sometimes ringed with wooden posts or upright stones, must have served a wider community, bringing people together for special occasions. People may have travelled many miles from their places of everyday living to attend an important event at a stone circle. The practice was astonishly widespread; there are around a thousand documented stone circles and henges in Great Britain, of which Avebury and Stonehenge are merely the best known.

All these activities required the movement of materials and of people. A network of local tracks must have evolved to serve the new developments in agriculture, husbandry and social structure. However, the “communication highways” would have been the ridgeways. In southern Britain these typically ran along a ridge of chalk, with steep slopes on each side and a dry stony surface above the “spring line”, the level at which the first tiny streams emerge from the ground. The ridgeway path must have initially come into being through the continuing passage of people, animals and goods, taking the easiest, driest route. The underlying structure was of course nature’s own work, but it is striking how similar in concept it is to the Roman road 3,000 or so years later, with its raised bed, cambered surface and parallel ditches – or, 2,000 or so years after that, to the modern motorway, with its embankment, tarmac surface and elaborate drainage systems.

As well as being dry, ridgeways must have offered significant navigational advantages. There would not have been dense woodland or foliage to block the way, or streams and rivers to cross. And in an era before maps and compasses, a series of ridges would have been easy enough to follow, in much the same way as coastlines guided seafarers. From the Neolithic period onwards the Atlantic seaways carried people and cargo huge distances, from the coasts of modern Spain, Portugal and France all the way north to the Orkneys and beyond. Safe passage would have been accomplished by hopping between recognisable points on the coast, never straying too far out into the open ocean. Knowledge of how to pilot one’s way along these seaways must have been passed down from one generation to the next and was no doubt extremely valuable to the enterprising trader – more valuable in many ways than the boat itself.

Likewise a ridgeway path, followed simply by keeping to the high ground and basic orientation by the sun and stars, must have been a godsend. Just as the intrepid Victorian explorers of Africa were mostly drawn from the Royal Navy, so perhaps the first long-distance users of ridgeways were seafarers extending their trading routes using methods of navigation with which they were already familiar.

Ridgeways continued in regular use for centuries. Until at least the Middle Ages they would have been much broader swaths of passage than they are today. In places they could have been as much as a mile wide, along which each traveller chose the best route available, avoiding the worst of the ruts. Regular side tracks would have allowed those with animals to dip down into the valley from time to time to reach a water course. But since the “enclosure” movement of 200 or so years ago, which saw much common land transferred into private hands, most of the ridgeway routes have themselves become enclosed tracks. This is generally how we experience them today – as relatively narrow trackways, separated by hedges or fences from the fields on either side.

The Ridgeway
For at least 6,000 years drovers, traders and invaders have walked or ridden along what we now call the Ridgeway, which runs from Overton Hill, near Avebury in Wiltshire, to Ivinghoe Beacon, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. As the key central section of a linked series of prehistoric tracks, once stretching some 250 miles from the Dorset coast to the Wash on the Norfolk coast, it provided a route over the high ground that was less wooded and drier than the alternatives through the spring line settlements below.

As elsewhere it was the Neolithic farmers who left the first lasting remains on this great trackway. Their long barrows can be found both west and east of the Thames, itself an important artery in the nascent transport and communication network, cutting through the line of the Ridgeway just north-west of Reading. People from the later Neolithic period dragged the huge sandstone blocks known as sarsen stones from the surrounding hills and formed the gigantic Avebury Circle, found at the western end of the classic Ridgeway route. Ease of access to Avebury via the Ridgeway must been a significant factor in its choice as a ritual centre.

During the Bronze and Iron Ages the Ridgeway continued to be a significant trading route. A series of Iron Age hill forts were built along it, including Liddington Castle (pictured right) and Barbury Castle, both just south of Swindon. The forts no doubt played a vital role in protecting and controlling trade along the route.

The Ridgeway continued to be an important thoroughfare well into medieval times. In the Dark Ages it was a main route for the Saxons and Vikings during their advances into Wessex, where bitter battles were fought. During the medieval period it was used by drovers taking livestock from Wales and the West Country to the markets in the Home Counties and London (see Chapter 11).

Until the local Enclosure Acts of 1750, the Ridgeway consisted of a broad band of tracks along the crest of the downs. During the enclosures its exact course and width were finally defined by the building of earth banks and the planting of thorn hedges to prevent livestock straying into the newly cultivated fields. Since 1973 the Ridgeway has enjoyed the status of a National Trail; having once suffered badly from off-roading, it is now well signposted and maintained.

Our walk
Nicholas Rudd-Jones sets out with his friend Kate Mere on a wet and windy day, to visit the Ridgeway near Uffington Castle.

Our six-mile walk begins at the quaint White Horse pub, a 16th-century coaching inn in the village of Woolstone. Neither of us quite expected the wetness and windiness of the day, and we are short of proper waterproof clothing. The pub looks much more inviting than the soggy path that will take us out of the village, and we are sorely tempted by the sign “Coffee served all day”. But our hopes are dashed as we turn the door handle only to discover that it is locked. So we set out through a horse’s muddy field, beginning our journey much as any wild day out on the road would have begun through the ages – both dreading what is to come and a little proud of ourselves for showing the resolve to get under way.

We skirt the edge of Woolstone, a hamlet that dates back at least to 950AD, when the boundary was recorded in an old Saxon record. The fields that we are now crossing could well be the ones that were the subject of a famous dispute in 1327. The owner of Woolstone, the Bishop of Winchester, came into conflict with the Abbot of Abingdon (who owned the adjoining village of Uffington) over the rights to graze some pasture land called Summerlease. It was decided that it should be resolved by combat; the bishop’s man lost.

At the end of two fields we step over a stile into Hardwell Lane, the subject of a more recent land dispute – though this one was settled in the courts. Hardwell Lane is an ancient route mentioned in three Anglo-Saxon charters as having equal status with the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way. In 1987 the Countryside Commission charged all local highway authorities with ensuring that every footpath was unblocked by the millennium. When 2000 came an audit report estimated that a quarter of all paths were still blocked or unusable, and Hardwell Lane was one of them. It was cited by the Ramblers as “blocked and impenetrable”; the landowner on the other hand claimed that “Hardwell Lane does not exist as a path”. Access to the lane was successfully defended and today we find Hardwell Lane quite open to walk along, if rather poorly looked after.

We turn right at the road and then in a hundred yards or so turn left onto a footpath going uphill along the edge of a coppice. Tucked away in the trees are the remains of Hardwell Camp, an Iron Age valley fort. It was built using a combination of rampart banks, ditches and enhanced natural features to enclose an area roughly 220 yards square, with two enclosed spurs extending to the north. We rootle around, getting very wet as we brush against the rain-sodden branches and make our way along some clearly visible earthworks. The site has never been excavated, so we can only surmise its original purpose; its location, tucked into the side of the hill and not easily visible, suggests a convenient place to gather and protect surplus crops, or perhaps a discreet vantage point from which to keep an eye on the traffic coming along Hardwell Lane from the north.

Ten minutes later, pushing our way irritably through a sodden rape field, we emerge at the top of the slope. We finally set foot on the Ridgeway. Whereas in ancient times it would have stretched across the breadth of the hill, what we see today is the path created by enclosure in the 18th century. The route is hemmed in between hedges, and the surface was probably also added at that time. But whichever era you walked it in, you would have felt… well, above it all. This is the highest point in Oxfordshire, with fantastic views in all directions. We set off along it, the shiny chalk surface beneath our feet.



Standing in a clump of tall beech trees on the north side of the Ridgeway, Wayland’s Smithy is only a short diversion from our route and is a truly evocative ancient site. It is a fine example of a Neolithic long barrow, built over 5,000 years ago as a communal burial chamber. It may be as much as 1,000 years older than the oldest parts of Stonehenge and shares a similar structure to that found at West Kennet Long Barrow near Avebury. During excavations a smaller long barrow of an earlier date was discovered beneath the mound with burials in wooden chambers. The main entrance is flanked by four high sarsen stones, probably dragged here from the Marlborough Downs to the south-west.

It was the Saxons who gave this ancient barrow its name. Wayland was a Saxon smith god and local legend has it that his magic forge is contained in the barrow. It is said that if you leave your horse overnight with suitable payment by the tomb, the animal will have been reshod on your return the next day.

As we are exploring the site we come across a group of Scouts – the only other folk braving the weather. They are learning how to use a compass, and have a massive version that everyone can gather around and peer at. There’s no doubt up here on the Ridgeway which way is east and west, so their job is made a little easier.

Coming back along the Ridgeway, Uffington Castle stands on the horizon – its robustness and scale impressive even from a mile away. The chalky track leads past its southernmost edge, so we turn off the Ridgeway to climb up and around its grassy ramparts. The fort, standing at the very peak of Whitehorse Hill, offers a chance to absorb the view in all directions. A single-track road cuts across the face of Uffington Hill leading to a car park, so Uffington Castle always has plenty of visitors. It’s a great place to fly a kite.

Uffington Castle is an Iron Age hill fort built around 700 BC, on top of an earlier Bronze Age earthwork. Originally the steep ramparts would have been bare white chalk, topped by a timber palisade and sarsen stones, with the ridgeway track running directly through gateways at either end. It must have looked spectacular. No evidence of buildings within Uffington Castle has been found, but pottery, animal bone and loom weights from the period do suggest some form of occupation. After the Iron Age the Romans used the castle as a fortress or trading place, and Saxons farmed within its ramparts.

Turning left just past the castle, we come down to the head of the Uffington White Horse. This is the oldest and most famous of the hill figures carved into the chalk hills over which the Ridgeway runs. It is a magnificent creature, 360 feet long by 160 feet high, slender and beautifully proportioned, seeming to gallop uphill. As if on cue, the sun bursts through the clouds and the head and oval eye of the horse burn brilliant white at our feet.

Most chalk figures are at most a few centuries old, created by landowners to lend an aura of antiquity to their country estates or, more recently, to commemorate a regiment or a war. The Uffington Horse, however, has always been accepted as ancient. In the past historians speculated that it was cut in the Iron Age as a tribal emblem by those who constructed the hill fort above, or that it commemorated one of King Alfred’s victories over the Danes. Excavations during the 1990s finally established that the figure is older, almost certainly dating from the Bronze Age. Core samples taken by archaeologists, tested for the length of time they had been hidden from sunlight, gave dates between 1,400 BC and 600 BC.



Its age may now be known – if only roughly – but mystery still surrounds its purpose. The shape is not easily made out from the top of the hill; it is better seen from the bottom of Woolstone Hill or further north still. However, by far the best place to view it is from the air, prompting the thought that those who made it wanted it to be seen by the gods as well as by mortals. It is such a recognisable landmark that it was covered up during the second world war, to prevent it being used as a navigation point by enemy aircraft.

Other animals have been suggested, but it is generally assumed to be the representation of a horse. Horses feature frequently in ancient mythology. Epona was a horse-goddess widely worshipped in Roman times; the derivation of the name suggests that the cult developed first in Gaul. There was a more or less contemporary Welsh counterpart called Rhiannon, though rather than being a goddess she is usually referred to as a queen. Both post-date the creation of the White Horse, but it remains possible that Bronze Age people held horses in similar regard.

Whatever the original conception, what strikes us today is its uncanny resemblance to modern logos – the one for insurance giant Prudential springs to mind. More than anything, the White Horse stands out as a bold and powerful tribal symbol, proclaiming to anyone approaching Uffington Hill: “This is our place and this is where we stand.”

The shape was originally made by cutting a trench into the hillside and filling it with chalk blocks. For centuries local people have cared for the figure by “scouring” the surface and renewing the chalk infill to keep the horse white. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Lord of the Manor provided food and entertainment for the scourers, which became a great annual celebration called the Pastime. Thousands came to see the stalls and sideshows, taking part in games such as wrestling, cheese rolling and pig chasing.

Standing at the head of the horse, we get a stunning view of the Manger, curving below us. This deep bowl was formed by melting glacial ice; the white horse is said to come down from its hill to feed here on moonlit nights. In the Manger is a curious flat-topped pedestal called Dragon Hill. Tradition has it that St George fought and slew the dragon here. Given its plinth-like shape, one feels it must have been created for some important purpose and a dragon-slaying is as good as any.

We drop down the steep slope and walk back quickly to the pub to dry out, soaked in rain and ancient history. Our boots and clothes soon recover but the camera takes a little longer – 24 hours in the airing cupboard to nurse it back to life.

Other ancient tracks to follow

Shorter trackways taking advantage of a ridge of higher ground can be found the length and breadth of the British Isles; one has only to look at a map with contour lines to pick them out. As well as the Ridgeway, there are other longer routes.

The Icknield Way, starting in the north Chilterns, is as ancient as the Ridgeway, of which it is a continuation, passing through Royston, Newmarket and Thetford and making its way eventually to the Wash. The route is marked by numerous ancient sites. The way seldom follows the highest ground to avoid the clay that often caps the chalk ridges in this part of the country. The route was originally complex and up to a mile wide; it is now best followed as a 110-mile long-distance footpath. Find out more at icknieldwaypath.co.uk

The Harrow Way is in the West Country, leading eastwards from Stonehenge to the North Downs to join the Pilgrims’ Way. The Exmoor Ridgeway runs across the moor north of the B3223 and B3358. The Kerry Hills Ridgeway leads into Bishop’s Castle in mid-Wales. The Portway makes its way along the top of the Long Mynd in Shropshire, while the Old Portway, running south from Mam Tor in Derbyshire, is close to our walk in Chapter 10.

Below is a list of other ridgeway walks:
 

Bedfordshire

A jaunt from the friendly pubs of Aldbury up the edge of the Chiltern Hills to the Ashridge Estate and the majestic Bridgewater Monument. The area has a rich variety of wildlife and mature woodlands, with carpets of spring bluebells and fine autumnal... More info

ID:
3650
Length:
7.5 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Berkshire

A lovely walk through unspoilt countryside on the edge of the Berkshire Downs, taking in a 1.5 mile stretch of the Ridgeway long-distance path. At the end the walker is rewarded with some splendid views towards the Thames Valley. ... More info

ID:
63
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

A good hike in all seasons - on the tough side of moderate! - on the Berkshire and Oxfordshire border, up on to chalk downland and along the Ridgeway with its history and its great views, offering a wide variety of wildlife, then back through... More info

ID:
4624
Length:
11.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A stimulating walk up onto the Ridgeway from the attractive Berkshire village of East Ilsley, through the North Wessex Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is the third in a trilogy of Ridgeway walks written for Walkingworld; see also Walks 4624... More info

ID:
4716
Length:
10 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Crossing the Thames at Goring, the walk takes us through a nature reserve, woodland and a golf course before rising through farmland to the old village of Aldworth. From here it crosses the Ridgeway and descends to the Thames at Moulsford to take the... More info

ID:
6603
Length:
14.9 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Buckinghamshire

A moderate walk taking in part of the Ridgway long-distance trail. ... More info

ID:
49
Length:
10 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A beautiful walk from the Natural History Museum at Tring along a section of the Ridgeway to the Iron Age fort at Cholesbury, then a return along Grim's Ditch through Wigginton, past the obelisk and back to Tring, nestling gently at the foot of the... More info

ID:
3762
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This delightful easy walk has spectacular views and shaded walks through leafy woodland. In spring there are rich displays of wildflowers. It also includes part of The Ridgeway.... More info

ID:
4235
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Cardiff

A morning or afternoon walk through a variety of woodland, with stunning views across Cardiff and the Bristol Channel.... More info

ID:
297
Length:
5 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Starting from pretty Cefn Onn Park, climb to the ridgeway with extensive views and return through a hidden valley; a mixed walk with broadleaf and conifer woods and open fields.... More info

ID:
5725
Length:
5 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A varied walk through fields, woodland and along hill-top ridges. The route follows the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk between Machen and Caerphilly Common, returning to Machen over Mynydd Rudry and along a section of the waymarked Machen Forge Trail.... More info

ID:
6008
Length:
12.4 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A linear route using the Taff Trail and Glamorgan Ridgeway Walk to connect Cardiff and Caerphilly Railway Stations, with a lot of flat walking along the River Taff and Glamorganshire Canal, plus moderate climbs up Craig yr Allt and Caerphilly... More info

ID:
6848
Length:
12.4 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Central South Wales

An energetic but extremely rewarding walk in the Welsh hills, where steep beech woodlands merge into panoramic hilltops.... More info

ID:
79
Length:
11.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

An attractive rural walk that provides an extension into the lower Rhymney Valley of the waymarked Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk. Part of the route followed is shared with two shorter walks on the Walkingworld website, ID numbers 5552 and 5516.... More info

ID:
5818
Length:
11.8 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

The first of two walks to tackle the 45km (28-mile) route of the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk. On this leg, we follow the trail from Hengoed to Cefn Onn, before descending through Cefn Onn Country Park to Lisvane & Thornhill Railway Station. This is... More info

ID:
6856
Length:
15.6 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

The eastern loop of the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk, taking in Cefn Onn and the ridge between Mynydd Machen and Mynydd y Grug, with fine views and two great historical features: Ruperra Castle and Hengoed Viaduct.... More info

ID:
6973
Length:
15.6 Miles
Grade:
Strenuous

Dorset

A circular walk taking in views of Portland and Chesil Beach from the end of the South Dorset Ridgeway.... More info

ID:
572
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

This is a walk through interesting countryside, catching a view of the elegant Hanford House before going down to and across the river to the village of Shillingstone on the other side. You return across another footbridge and along paths and lanes... More info

ID:
3699
Length:
5.6 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

On this walk you circle around to take the easier way up to the Ridgeway behind Corfe Castle, then stroll along the top, taking in the fantastic views. There is a sharp descent if you feel up to it, but there are easier ways down. The views make it... More info

ID:
3772
Length:
5.6 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

An excellent walk over good terrain with great Ridgeway views, passing through Kimmeridge Village, continuing along the coast, past the new Clavell's Tower to finish at Swyre Head, the highest point on the Purbeck Hills.... More info

ID:
4787
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Starting close to the beacon on top of Okeford Hill, from where there are stunning views across the Blackmore Vale, the dog-friendly route follows a section of the Wessex Ridgeway when fine south-easterly views are revealed. Soon the walk enters... More info

ID:
5378
Length:
3.7 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Herefordshire

Starting from the 'black-and-white' area of old Ledbury, the walk undulates across the foothills then onto the Malvern Hills, with a visit to the obelisk. Crossing Eastnor Park, with its free-roaming deer herd, the route goes through Eastnor Village,... More info

ID:
2437
Length:
8.1 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Hertfordshire

Aldbury is an idyllic village nestling at the foot of the Chilterns. Duchie's Piece is an SSSI and is renowned as having the best butterflies in the county. A climb of some 45m gives good views over the Vale of Aylesbury to the Tring Reservoirs.... More info

ID:
3725
Length:
3.7 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Leicestershire

Walk from Staunton Harold with its lovely old hall and church, along 'Staunton Ridgeway', crossing thirteen specially made, one step, pass-through stiles. Take a notepad and pen; each stile has a carved inscription on both sides. Write each one down... More info

ID:
3253
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Oxfordshire

A fairly long (12 miles) but otherwise not particularly strenuous walk across the gentle, undulating Oxfordshire farmland, then up to and along the Ridgeway with good views. Of particular interest is the lunch stop in the ancient village of Blewbury... More info

ID:
190
Length:
11.8 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Another 'tough side of moderate' walk in south Oxfordshire, climbing up onto the Ridgeway for the outward leg and dropping down into the vale to pass through several attractive villages on the way back. There are three pubs and three churches, plus... More info

ID:
4670
Length:
10 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

An enjoyable, varied and moderate walk in my series along the Ridgeway, climbing up from Sparsholt, passing the Devil's Punchbowl and Crowhole Bottom of archaeological and ornithological interest respectively, then dropping down through the... More info

ID:
5206
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This walk strikes up onto Blewbury Down (close to the Ridgeway) with fine views over the Thames Valley, before heading for Churn Hill where St Birinus preached. It descends a bridleway to the pretty village of Blewbury to see the thatched cottages,... More info

ID:
5341
Length:
5.6 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

This walk is a Ridgeway National Trail special in the Chilterns AONB to the east of Goring. As well as some great countryside, the walk visits the picturesque village of Ewelme, plus it takes in a stretch of the ancient Icknield Way.... More info

ID:
5637
Length:
9.3 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This walk takes you along the delightful Ridgeway national path (over hills and through woodland) in the Chilterns AONB (east of Goring) en route for Britwell Salome. It returns on the Swan's Way over rolling hills and luscious countryside to enjoy,... More info

ID:
5681
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A scenic walk in the Vale of the White Horse (Oxfordshire) taking in the famous Ridgeway National Trail, a number of ancient monuments including the White Horse, plus a selection of picturesque villages.... More info

ID:
5760
Length:
9.3 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A circuit of the Ridgeway starting from a pretty Oxfordshire village with a pub. There can hardly be a walk in England that passes by as many Neolithic, Iron Age and Bronze Age remains, including the famous White Horse of Uffington, which dates back... More info

ID:
5819
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Pembrokeshire

A short walk with plenty of interest and far-reaching views, with a short climb to begin with but then a walk along the Ridgeway before a gentle descent back to Penally.... More info

ID:
2350
Length:
3.7 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Wiltshire

A walk around the ancient stones and burial grounds of this famous location, including a short stretch along the Ridgeway. Walk featured in the 'Pathways' book... More info

ID:
68
Length:
5 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

An elevated walk with fine views around the Marlborough Downs, the latter half following a section of the Ridgeway long-distance path. ... More info

ID:
104
Length:
10.6 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

An exhilarating walk along part of the Salisbury Plain boundary and through some of the picturesque Pewsey Vale villages.... More info

ID:
399
Length:
10 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Starting at the village of Easterton, this walk takes you up to its highest point on the Wessex Ridgeway at 203 metres. The route then follows the Wessex Ridgeway south-westwards, eventually to turn north-west towards the outskirts of West Lavington,... More info

ID:
456
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A good hike in all seasons - on the tough side of moderate! - on the quiet Marlborough Downs, along the Ridgeway with its history and its great views and finishing in a country pub. Re-written to encourage walkers to use public transport where... More info

ID:
475
Length:
10.6 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A circular walk from Win Green, the highest point in Cranborne Chase, descending through a dry valley to Tollard Royal, the route returns via a mostly gradual climb back to the main ridgeway. There is a pub and a church at Tollard Royal.... More info

ID:
486
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

This easy walk takes in most of the ancient monuments that surround the village of Avebury. It gives visitors to Avebury an excellent opportunity to see the village and stone circle in the wider context of the surrounding countryside and monuments.... More info

ID:
575
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

A walk around the ancient hill-fort of Bratton Camp, with close-up views of the Westbury White Horse and great views of the surrounding area. Walk a section of the Imber Range Perimeter Path / Wessex Ridgeway and take the opportunity to look into a... More info

ID:
2906
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This is a walk with great views over the open downland around Upavon. You will walk eastwards from Upavon, up Upavon Hill and over Bohune Down, then southwards over MoD territory to Littlecott Down and on down to the outskirts of the village of... More info

ID:
2996
Length:
11.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This circular walk follows the Wessex Ridgeway southwards from Hindon for just over 7.5k. You will pass over hills with great views and through interesting woods as well as the tiny villages of Newtown and West Hatch. The walk then leaves the Wessex... More info

ID:
3133
Length:
10 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill-fort, offering commanding views over the Marlborough Downs and Swindon. From the country park, the walk follows the Ridgeway along the top of Smeathe's Ridge, which can be seen gently curving round in front of you.... More info

ID:
5719
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This walk is a great opportunity to take in a stretch of the famous Ridgeway on the Wiltshire/Oxfordshire border together with the views over the downs. The walk passes through Ashdown Park with the option of visiting the stately home.... More info

ID:
5768
Length:
9.3 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Comunidad Valenciana

This fascinating hike takes us up in the mountains from the charming town of Agres. We shall visit the impressive ice house Casa de Don Miguel before following a ridgeway which will bring us to other ice houses, before our descent back down to the... More info

ID:
6448
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk