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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