- A long-distance walk through the open landscapes of the North Wessex Downs.
- Visiting the largest Stone Circle in Europe, in Avebury.
- The historic remains of Barbury and Uffington Castle.
- Discovering the mystery of White Horse Hill.
- The attractive villages and small towns past Goring.
The Ridgeway offers walkers a tranquil escape from day to day life, passing two distinct and different landscapes; the open and remote countryside of the Wessex Downs and the quaint villages and chalk grassland of the Chiltern Hills.
Often described as Britain’s oldest road, the Ridgeway follows ancient tracks and paths previously walked by herdsman and soldiers as long as 5000 years ago.
Starting in Avebury, where you can visit the largest stone circle in Europe, you follow the path across the North Wessex Downs where you will see fantastic views over the rolling hills down to the south.
Arrive in Avebury
The official start of the Ridgeway is Overton Hill. However due to a lack availability here you will have your first night in Avebury; if you arrive early then you can take some time to visit the Standing Stones.
Avebury to Bishopstone: 17 Miles
As you are staying in Avebury the night before, there are a number of alternative starts to the walk (detailed in the guidebook) which make for a more exciting start to this wonderful walk. The first section of this walk sees you climbing gradually to Barbury Castle Iron Age Fort where the views on a clear day are fantastic. The landscape is remote and walking is mainly on grassland until you head down to Ogbourne St George. This pretty village has many lovely cottages with thatched roofs and its two pubs are a welcome stop for many walkers. From here to Bishopstone is fairly tough but worth it when you reach the village located just off the Ridgeway path.
Bishopstone to Letcombe Regis: 10 Miles
From Bishopstone you soon make your way up to White Horse Hill and Uffington Castle. This is quite a tough climb but it's worth it when you reach the top and see these amazing horses cut into the hillside. Dating back to around 800bc the Uffington White Horse is over 100 metres long and it's still a mystery how it was so well excavated from the hillside. The White Horse Hill area is one of the highlights of the Ridgeway so take time to relax and enjoy it. Soon you will take the turn off for Letcombe Regis which is just 2km from the path.
Letcombe Regis to Goring: 15 Miles
This section of the walk is fairly easy with most of the walking on flat broad, grassy paths. On a clear day you can see the Chiltern Hills in the distance which the Ridgeway later travels. After the road crossing, more trees become apparent and the path starts to undulate slightly. You gradually descend into Streatly on the west bank of the River Thames before you cross over to the bustling town of Goring.
Goring to Watlington: 15 Miles
This stretch of the Ridgeway is very enjoyable and highlights the contrast from the previous days walking in the remote and open countryside. You follow the River Thames (England’s most famous river) for the first 5 or so miles and pass charming little villages. The walking is on narrow secluded paths and in the springtime these are covered with bluebells and wood anemones. When you reach Nuttfield the path heads north and you pass Swyncombe and then up to Watlington which officially is the smallest town in England.
Watlington to Princes Risborough: 11 Miles
This 11 mile section is a pleasant days walk. It is fairly short so you can take your time and enjoy the sights and possibly take a detour to Lewknor or Chinnor if you have time. The walking is mainly on sheltered beech woodland trails where the wildflowers dominate the surroundings. Unfortunately a short main road walk follows as you come into Princes Risborough which is the biggest town you will have seen so far on the walk.
Princes Risborough to Tring: 10.5 Miles
This section is the most undulating section of the walk with several climbs in an out of valleys so even although it is a short day if can be quite tough. Wendover which was mentioned in the doomsday book, serves for a good halfway stop and has an attractive centre with old cosy pubs. From here to Wiggington you pass through woodlands and you will be surrounded by beech trees, your overnight is Tring which is slightly off the path but will be your base for the next 2 nights.
Walk to Ivinghoe Beacon and return to Tring: 10 Miles
From Tring this last section of the walk up to Ivinghoe Beacon is wonderful, it takes around 5 miles to reach the end but you have to come back to Tring for your overnight. The path up is fairly steep and you pass through Duchies Piece Nature Reserve before emerging onto Pitstone Hill where the views for the rest of the walk to Ivinghoe Beacon are outstanding. The last two miles are undulating but you will be rewarded with views over the Vale of Aylesbury and you can also look back from where you have followed the Ridgeway path. Take time to reflect at the journey you have taken along Britains Oldest Road. Onward Travel We base your last two nights in the large town of Tring as onward travel is easier from here. There is a train station in Tring and you can reach London Euston in 40 mins from here.
You will stay in carefully selected B&B’s, guesthouses, country pubs and small hotels. Your room will always have an ensuite or private bathroom. A delicious breakfast is always included.
If you require single rooms within your party we will always try and accommodate you, subject to availability. A single supplement is payable.
This walking holiday is not available to solo walkers due to restrictions with the baggage transfers.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included. Most of your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or at nearby pubs or restaurants.
The Old Forge - East Kennet
The Old Forge is a charming 4 star, Gold Award, bed and breakfast in East Kennett. Formerly a smithy dating back to the 1860’s, it has been extensively renovated and restored.
Dorwyn Manor - Avebury
B&B Dorwyn Manor offers comfortable accommodation in Avebury. The rooms all have a private en-suite bathroom and feature a flat-screen TV, DVD player and kettle and wifi access.
Parklands Hotel - Ogbourne St George
The Parklands is a small 14 room hotel, with a warm friendly family atmosphere in the village of Ogbourne St George. Rooms are all modern and have all the amenities you require for a comfortable overnight stay.
The Royal Oak - Bishopstone
The Royal Oak offers comfortable accommodation for walkers. The two rooms are en-suite and have all the amenities that you need for your overnight stay. They use local fresh produce in their restaurant.
The White Horse - Woolstone
The White Horse is one of Britain's oldest inns and with its thatched roof, oak beams and log fires it offers a warm welcome. Built in Elizabethan times, the pub itself is almost half a century old.
Quince Cottage - Letcombe Regis
Quince Cottage is a large thatched house, dating from the 17th Century with later additions. Originally 2 cottages it was converted to one dwelling about 30 years ago.
Miller of Mansfield - Goring
The Miller is a haven of laid back luxury in the idyllic Thames-side village of Goring. Each room is stylish and individually designed room.
Ridgeway Lodge - Princes Risborough
A warm welcome is assured at Ridgeway Lodge, which is located in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Red Lion - Wendover
The Red Lion is a traditional 16th Century coaching inn steeped in history and tradition which gracefully combines ‘olde world’ charms with a modern look and feel.
The Greyhound - Tring
Very popular with walkers, The Greyhound offers great pub dinners and local ales and have comfortable en-suite rooms.
Daily door to door baggage transfer is included in the cost of your holiday. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The Ridgeway is a National Trail and is fully way marked and easy to follow. Wooden Posts are usually at every intersection so you should not get lost. A comprehensive guidebook and map are supplied along with it being on our Macs Adventure Smartphone App.
The way is on well maintained footpaths, bridleways, across fields and on some minor roads. It does involve some steep ascent and descent from the escarpment but in general the walking is fairly easy.
Getting to Avebury
The Ridgeway is well served by public transport and we encourage this for Ridgeway walkers. The closest railway station to Avebury is Swindon (12 miles away) and from here you can catch a bus (30mins) to Avebury. You can reach Swindon from London Paddington in 1 hour. There is no secure parking, limited on street unsecure parking is available.
Getting from Tring
If you are walking the full Ridgeway path then you will finish in Ivinghoe Beacon, we use accommodation in Tring for your last night as it is easier for onward travel. There is a train station in Tring and you can reach London Euston in 40 mins. If you are looking to return to Avebury to get your car then you need to go via London to get back to Swindon and then take the bus to Avebury (3 hrs) and many changes.
For your travel plans the best advice can be found on the Traveline Website
- Hand picked B&B, guesthouse and small hotel accommodation in en-suite rooms wherever possible.
- Door to door baggage transfer.
- A detailed info pack, guide book and map for the group leader.
- GPS tracks and detailed mapping with our Macs Adventure smartphone app.
- Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem.
- Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk.
- Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
- Travel Insurance.
- Personal Equipment.
- Additional nights
- Single room supplement
We are often asked the following questions by walkers planning The Ridgeway and I hope that you will find the following information useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
How fit do I need to be?
We offer a range of itineraries so you can choose your preferred daily distance so hopefully you will find an itinerary that suits your preferred level of activity. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
How far in advance do I need to book?
As far in advance as possible! We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the walk can get very booked up in the summer months. If booking at short notice we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
When is the best time of year?
The Ridgeway is very enjoyable at any time between March and October although the most popular favourite time of year for walking is in the Spring and the Autumn.
What is the best way to get to/from the walk?
We recommend you travel by train as this is the most efficient way of reaching the start and finish point of the walk. There is no secure parking in Avebury and it is very hard to get back to your car from the finish point.
Am I able to take my dog?
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use local bus services or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.