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The Ridgeway Hiking Tours

The Ridgeway

Highlights
  • Walk the ancient landscapes of the Ridgeway through the heart of England
  • Visit Avebury Henge & Stone Circle, one of Europe's largest Neolithic monuments
  • Stay in charming towns and attractive villages such as Goring
  • Discover the mystery of the White Horse on the Oxfordshire hills
  • Meet the locals in one of the traditional English pubs

Set off on the Ridgeway, 'Britain's oldest road', in the rolling countryside of Southern England, just a short journey away from London. Originally a trade route, these paths were frequented by farmers, soldiers and traders as long as 5000 years ago. Follow uncrowded paths, tranquil forests and visit distinctive historic sites.

This walk crosses two distinct landscapes that have been designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Unwind in the open and remote landscape of The North Wessex Downs (AONB) as you walk through quiet woodland. Visit quaint villages with thatched cottages and spot wildlife in the chalk grassland of The Chilterns (AONB). Meet the locals in one of the traditional English pubs where a refreshing beverage awaits. 

Macs Adventure has been organising the Ridgeway walking itineraries since 2010. Over the last decade, we have established great relationships with the family-run guesthouses, B&Bs and small hotels along the way where a scrumptious breakfast is guaranteed. Enjoy the ease of having your luggage moved for you, allowing you to walk with a light backpack. Simply pick an itinerary and we take care of all the arrangements for you!

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Discover The Ridgeway

  • The Ridgeway's Hidden Gems

    Travellers have been using the Ridgeway for well over 5000 years; early humans, Danes, Saxons, Romans and even King Alfred the Great. Here are some of the hidden gems along the way. 

    West Kennett Long Barrow - Although not officially on the route, across from the official start of the Ridgeway you can find one of the largest Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain. It is recognised as a World Heritage Site where roughly 50 people were buried. 

    Avebury - Aside from the main attraction Avebury Henge & Stone Circle, which is said to be one of the best-preserved henges in the country, it's worth visiting St James Church too. The earliest parts of the church date from AD1000 and the Saxons were careful to not build it too close to the stone circles as they feared their magical powers. 

    Wiltshire White HorsesWiltshire is famous for the mysterious White Horses carved into hillsides, there are eight in total and you could walk 90 miles to see them all. The most well-known one is the White Horse of Uffington, but the Hackpen White Horse is not to be forgotten about. From here you can enjoy panoramic views to the Wessex Downs. 

    Wayland Smithy - Built around 2800BC and dating back to the Neolithic area this chambered long barrow is a historic site. It was believed to be the home of 'Wayland', the Saxon god of metalworking. Human remains found on the site indicated that 14 people were interred here. 

    Iron Age Hillforts - Typical for the Bronze and Iron Ages are hillforts, of which Barbury Castle and Uffington Castle are great examples. It has been estimated that it would take roughly 150 men about 4 months to establish an eight-acre enclosure. These rare forts are ancient earthworks steeped in mystery!

    Goring - Streatley and Goring are the first residential areas that the Ridgeway path winds through and provides a real change of scenery. The path comes alongside the River Thames followed by woodland walking. Goring Gap is a narrow valley separating the Berkshire Downs and the Chiltern Hills - perhaps stop in one of the local pubs for a celebratory 'half-way' pint.

    The Ridgeway's Hidden Gems
  • Historic everyday phrases

    Just like the trail, some of our everyday phrases have a long history. Here are some common phrases and their origin!

    • “To call a spade a spade” – This phrase is believed to have first been used by ancient Greeks who preferred speaking plainly: “to call figs figs, and a tub a tub”.
    • “Crocodile tears” – During medieval times, some believed that crocodiles shed tears of sadness when killing their prey. The phrase found its way into Shakespeare’s writing as early as the 16th century.
    • “The apple of my eye” – An Old English phrase that was first used by King Alfred the Great (AD 885) in Anglo-Saxon England.
    • “To play devil’s advocate” – Established in the early 16th century this was a popular title given by Pope Leo X to those arguing against the Roman Catholic church. 
    Historic everyday phrases
  • Top Reasons to walk the Ridgeway
    • It is a great introduction to long-distance walking as the trail is considered one of the easiest National Trails. Although there are some steep hills, walking the route is generally easy-going.

    • The route is well waymarked throughout and maintained to a high level, making this a very enjoyable walking experience.

    • One of the joys of walking in this part of the UK is the charming English villages of the Thames Valley near Goring. Experience a traditional English cream tea in one of the local tea rooms or enjoy browsing the small shops.

    • The trail is easily accessible from London and has great transport links. It is around an hour and a half travelling time to get to Avebury, via Swindon and on the way home, Tring connects back to London Euston station in 40 minutes. 

    • Step back in history, which this trail is most famous for. Explore the wealth of historical sites along the route which will keep you entertained as you walk along. 

    • This trail offers uncrowded paths and tranquil landscapes in the English countryside. Unlike some other parts of England, this area doesn't see the same amount of tourism, making it a truly refreshing experience. 
    Top Reasons to walk the Ridgeway
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