The Ridgeway

The Ridgeway National Trail, also known as the Ridgeway Path, or more simply as just the Ridgeway, follows the chalk hills from Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire. It has been described as Britain's oldest road, and represents part of a route (sometimes described as the Greater Ridgeway) in use since Neolithic times from the south coast near Lyme Regis to the Wash. The National Trail was opened in 1973.

The official National Trails organisation records its length as 139km or 87 miles; the Long Distance Walkers Association has it at 136km or 85 miles; my National Trail Guides book has it at 137km or 85miles, and my Big Walks of Britain at 85.5 miles. Personally I estimate it from maps to be closer to 143 km (89 miles). Take your pick.

I had read various tales of problems on the Ridgeway with motorised vehicles, both in the immediate sense and in the damage they have done to the surface, as quite a bit of the route at the western end is a byway (19.2% of the total route is a byway). However, this is now more historical, as seasonal restrictions have reduced damage by eliminating motorised vehicles during the wettest months, and much repair work has been done to the surface, making much of it very easy underfoot, though looking far from its natural state. Furthermore, about 36 km of the Ridgeway that was formerly a "Road Used as a Public Path" has become, through the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, a restricted byway, closed to motor vehicles.

My walks on the Ridgeway

Date From / to Distance on Path   Approx time Colour

Total walked so far: 105 km, or about 73% of the National Trail

The Ridgeway links

Home Up Angles Way Capital Ring Chiltern Chain Walk Hertfordshire Chain Isle of Wight Coast Path Lea Valley Walk London Loop Mid-Suffolk Footpath New River Path Norfolk Coast Path North Downs Way Peddars Way Ridgeway South West Coast Stour & Orwell Walk Stour Valley Path Suffolk Coast Path Thames Path Yorkshire Wolds Way