The Ridgeway

4th April to 10th April 2013

87 miles

 

The Ridgeway is an ancient trackway described as Britain's oldest road. It is one of fifteen long-distance National Trails in England and Wales, and travels for 87 miles (140 km) northeast from Overton Hill within the Avebury World Heritage Site to Ivinghoe Beacon near Tring, where it meets the Icknield Way Path. The Ridgeway meets the more recent (1997) Thames Path National Trail at the Goring Gap, where both trails use opposite banks of the River Thames between Goring-on-Thames and Mongewell; the Thames Path following the western bank and the Ridgeway the eastern.

The Ridgeway passes near many Neolithic, Iron Age, and Bronze Age sites including Avebury Circle, a stone circle similar to Stonehenge; Barbury Castle, Liddington Castle, Uffington Castle, Segsbury Castle, Pulpit Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon Hill, all Iron Age and Bronze Age hill forts; Wayland's Smithy, a Neolithic chieftain burial tomb; the Uffington White Horse, an ancient 400-foot (120 m) chalk horse carved into the hillside near Uffington Castle; and Grim's Ditch, a 5-mile (8 km) section of earthwork near Mongewell created by Iron Age peoples as a possible demarcation line. Other points of interest include the Blowing Stone, and Victory Drive, the private drive of Chequers (the British Prime Minister's country retreat).

The Ridgeway is an ancient trackway described as Britain's oldest road. The section clearly identified as an ancient trackway extends from Wiltshire along the chalk ridge of the Berkshire Downs to the River Thames at the Goring Gap, part of the Icknield Way which ran, not always on the ridge, from Salisbury Plain to East Anglia. The route was adapted and extended as a National Trail, created in 1972. The Ridgeway National Trail follows the ancient Ridgeway from Overton Hill, near Avebury, to Streatley, then follows footpaths and parts of the ancient Icknield Way through the Chiltern Hills to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.

Follow Garry and his two friends as you scroll down through the photos

Wake up sleepyhead, there's a Ridgeway to walk!

 

87 miles to go

 

Jurgen and Susanne are up and ready . . .

 

while I'm just hanging around

 

Off we go!

 

Three barrows, ancient burial sites

 

England's oldest road, the Ridgeway, stretches out before us

 

All that remains of Barbury Castle is the fosse

 

Climbing out of Ogbourne St George on the second day

 

Then gently along

 

A fine tree

 

Trig point at Liddington Castle with view over Swindon

 

Picture postcard Ashbury, a bit too Midsomer Murders for my liking!

 

Wayland's Smithy, a Neolithic long barrow

 

The entrance

 

Classic Ridgeway view

 

Horses gallop alongside Uffington Castle

 

This grassy hump is where St George allegedly slew the dragon!

 

Eye of the famous white horse

 

Full depiction of the white horse

 

Onward we go!

 

Letcomb Castle

 

The Baron Wantage monument, so now you know!

 

A rare boggy bit

 

Streatley Warren . . .

 

with its picturesque village

 

We stayed at the renowned Swan at Streatley . . .

 

easy on the eye, hard on the wallet

 

The Ginnels of Goring

 

South Stoke - anybody seen Inspector Barnaby?

 

A stroll along The Thames - Wind in the Willows Country

 

Old GWR bridge still in use

 

Delightful path on Grim's Ditch

 

Jurgen looking for a game of golf

 

A well maintained field path

 

Lambs - the only real sign of Spring

 

Brollies out on the rare occasion it rained

 

The Chiltern half of the Ridgeway is more wooded . . .

 

and runs concurrently with the Icknield Way

 

Prinses Risborough

 

Trig point on Cadsen

 

Whiteleaf Cross, not easy to make out at ground level

 

Another barrow!

 

A distant view of Chequers ,the Prime Minister's summer residence, hidden in trees

 

Boer War memorial . . .

 

with a hazy view over the plain below

 

Descending to Wendover . . .

 

where we stayed in the Red Lion

 

Idyllic Wendover . . .

 

with its mere

 

Magical woods

 

Any sign of Spring?

 

Tring Park

 

Well waymarked track

 

First view of Ivinghoe Beacon where the walk finishes

 

Still a long way to go!

 

Incombe Hole

 

The final climb

 

We made it!

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