Walking Britain’s oldest road - a passage through time
Walking The Ridgeway
Walking The Ridgeway
About The Ridgeway National Trail
The Ridgeway National Trail is a walking route in a surprisingly remote part of southern central England. While walking The Ridgeway, you will travel 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 travellers, 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. While walking The Ridgeway, 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.