Skip to content
Shopping for Christmas gifts? Click here for our last order dates
Shopping for Christmas gifts? Click here for our last order dates
Walking Britain’s oldest road - a passage through time

The Ridgeway

Thames Path National Trail
Neigh Bridge Country Park - Thames Path National Trail
Goring on the Thames Path National Trail
Thames Path National Trail
Thames Path National Trail
London - Thames Path National Trail
Thames Path National Trail
Thames Barrier - Thames Path National Trail

What is The Ridgeway?

The Ridgeway National Trail a walking route in a surprisingly remote part of southern central England. It travels in a northeasterly direction for 87 miles (139 km) from its start in the World Heritage Site of Avebury. As Britain’s oldest road The Ridgeway still follows the same route over the high ground used since prehistoric times by travelers, herdsmen and soldiers.


West of the River Thames, The Ridgeway is a broad track passing through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is often quite a distance from villages or towns. Here you’ll experience wide, open views of rolling chalk downland and find many archaeological monuments close to the Trail including Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts and the figures of white horses cut into the chalk. Don’t miss Barbury Castle, a strategically placed Iron Age hill fort, Wayland's Smithy, an atmospheric Early Neolithic chambered long barrow, Uffington Castle and the Uffington White Horse, the oldest chalk-cut hill figure in Britain.


East of the Thames, The Ridgeway travels through the more-wooded and intimate hills and valleys of the Chilterns AONB where, as well as further archaeological treasures, there are several nature reserves rich in wildlife. Enjoy the tranquil riverside wetlands at Cholsey Marsh Nature Reserve, the panoramic views and beautiful flowery chalk grassland at Warren Bank Nature Reserve and look out for red kites and kestrels at Chinnor Hill Nature Reserve. In the Chilterns, The Ridgeway goes close to or through several villages and small towns where refreshments and other facilities are easily available.


The final section of the trail passes through the Chiltern Hills, renowned for its wooded landscape which looks particularly spectacular at the end of October and early November when autumn colours are at their best. You emerge from the woodlands for the last couple of miles of the trail for the final climb to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon where you will savour the far-reaching views over several counties.

How long does it take to walk The Ridgeway end to end?

As a guide, using roughly 15 miles (24 km) a day as an average daily walking distance, the Trail can be completed in 6 days so it’s a perfect week’s break. If you have seven days spare it usually makes sense to start gently, with just half a day’s walk, and to have a short day in the middle, particularly if you’re not used to long distance walking.

You don’t have to do it all at one of course, you can dip in for half or a full day’s walk or enjoy the Trail in sections.  

How hard is The Ridgeway?

The Thames Path is a gentle Trail, suitable for people with a wide range of abilities. It is mainly flat, with just a few natural slopes. Many places along it can be accessed by people with limited mobility such as users of wheelchairs or mobility scooters, parents with pushchairs or those using a walking stick.  

Who can enjoy The Ridgway Path National Trail?

Whilst only walkers can complete the entire National Trail, there are sections that are open to cyclists and horse riders.

The section between Overton Hill and Streatley on the River Thames gives cyclists and horse-riders an almost continuous 43 miles (69 km) stretch of track with only a few short sections of road. 

East of the River Thames there are less opportunities for cyclists and riders. However there is a lovely 9 miles (14 km) stretch through The Chilterns that can be used on a bike or horseback. This is from Britwell Hill just west of Watlington to Bledlow, west of Princes Risborough.  

Taking your dog on The Ridgeway

Your dog is welcome on the Ridgeway but do make sure it’s fit enough to do as much walking as you. When on the Trail your dog must always be under close control to prevent it from disturbing livestock or wildlife.  

What is the best time of year to walk The Ridgeway?

The Ridgeway can be enjoyed all year round, but spring through to autumn (March to November) probably provides the best views, the most wildlife and better surface conditions underfoot. Much of the surface of the Trail remains natural so that it can get a little wet and muddy during and after wet weather and in places some rutting will be encountered.

Early May is the best time to enjoy the bluebells that carpet many of the Chiltern woodlands, one of the treats for visitors to The Ridgeway. This time of year also sees the return of many migrant birds to England to breed such as warblers, cuckoos, swallows, etc. Bird song is at its best in the second half of April and May whilst birds are establishing territories and attracting mates; the song of the corn bunting, skylark and yellow hammer are still characteristic of The Ridgeway, despite a national decline in numbers.

The large number of chalk grassland wildflowers found in patches along the western half of the Trail, and in several nature reserves east of the River Thames, flower mostly from June to August and include several species of orchids. Chalk grassland is also rich in insects and a warm summer’s day can bring forth many colourful, and sometimes relatively rare, butterflies.

A walk in the Chilterns in November can be a memorable experience with the beech woods so typical of the area taking on a red/gold glow as their leaves change colour combined with the earthy autumnal smell of gently decomposing vegetation.  

Can I buy The Ridgeway merchandise?

We sell a range of merchandise for The Ridgway National Trail including sew on badges, enamel badges, mugs and other merchandise. 

Can I get a Ridgeway National Trail completion certificate?

Our personalised Ridgeway certificate is a great momento for anyone that has completed the trail.

Guidebooks & Maps for the Thames Path

The Ridgeway The Ridgeway loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 467): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
The Ridgeway A-Z Adventure Atlas The Ridgeway A-Z Adventure Atlas loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 467): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
Walking The Ridgeway Walking The Ridgeway loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 467): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
Walking The Ridgeway Map Booklet Walking The Ridgeway Map Booklet loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 467): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
Ridgeway Harvey map Ridgeway Harvey map loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 467): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
The Ridgeway: Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon - Trailblazer The Ridgeway: Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon - Trailblazer loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 467): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
The Ridgeway The Ridgeway loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 467): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view

Thames Path Merchandise

The Ridgeway enamel badge The Ridgeway enamel badge loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 688): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
National Trail sew-on woven badge National Trail sew-on woven badge loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 688): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
National Trail Completion Certificate National Trail Completion Certificate loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 688): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
National Trail Mug National Trail Mug loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 688): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
The Ridgeway signs The Ridgeway signs loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 688): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
National Trail souvenir signs National Trail souvenir signs loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 688): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
Mini National Trail Fingerpost Mini National Trail Fingerpost loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 688): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view
National Trails boot jack National Trails boot jack loading
Sold out -Liquid error (sections/layouthub-6193cc5131ab497b3d114542.liquid line 688): divided by 0%
Wishlist
Quick view

Map of The Ridgeway National Trail

What are National Trails?

National Trails offer some of the best long-distance walking, riding and cycling experiences in England and Wales, officially supported by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. All of the National Trails are within easy reach of buses, trains and the services of nearby towns and villages. In fact nowhere in England or Wales is more than 50 miles / 80km from a National Trail. Each National Trail has dedicated staff, often working with local volunteers, to look after the physical condition of the Trail, keeping paths, gates, stiles and signs in the best condition.

Which trails are National Trails?

The National Trails are: 
  • Cleveland Way
  • Cotswold Way
  • England Coast Path
  • Glyndwr’s Way
  • Hadrian’s Wall Path
  • Norfolk Coast Path and Peddars Way
  • North Downs Way
  • Offa’s Dyke Path
  • Pembrokeshire Coast Path
  • Pennine Bridleway
  • Pennine Way
  • The Ridgeway
  • South Downs Way
  • South West Coast Path
  • Thames Path
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way 

The Coast to Coast is not currently a National Trail but will become one in the next couple of years.

Are there National Trails in Scotland?

In Scotland long-distance routes are called Scotland's Great Trails. There are 29 routes, at least 25 miles in length providing over 1,900 miles of well managed paths from the Borders to the Highlands. Each is distinctively waymarked, largely off road and has a range of visitor services and are are suitable for multi-day outings as well as day trips.


Scotland's Great Trails are:


  • Annandale Way
  • Arran Coastal Way
  • Ayrshire Coastal Path
  • Berwickshire Coastal Path
  • Borders Abbeys Way
  • Cateran Trail
  • Clyde Walkway
  • Cross Borders Drove Road
  • Dava Way
  • Fife Coastal Path
  • Formartine and Buchan Way
  • Forth & Clyde/Union Canal Towpath
  • Great Glen Canoe Trail
  • Great Glen Way
  • Great Trossachs Path
  • John Muir Way
  • Kintyre Way
  • Loch Lomond & Cowal Way
  • Moray Coast Trail
  • Mull of Galloway Trail
  • River Ayr Way
  • Rob Roy Way
  • Romans and Reivers Route
  • Southern Upland Way
  • Speyside Way
  • St Cuthbert’s Way
  • Three Lochs Way
  • West Highland Way
  • West Island Way