The Ridgeway follows Britain's oldest trail through an idyllic landscape of rolling hills, enchanted woodlands, prehistoric castles, stone circles, sleepy villages, and grasslands filled with some of the rarest wildflowers you will see.
The ancient route starts from the World Heritage Site of Avebury and travels 87 miles (139 kilometers) to finish on the iconic Ivinghoe Beacon, named after the huge fires that were once lit at the summit for navigation and communication.
The western part of the trail follows an ancient ridge track along the crest of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which was used by prehistoric travelers, herdsmen and soldiers. This section passes some incredible Bronze Age hillforts, stone circles, and burial chambers, some of which are more than 3,000 years old.
The eastern part follows the River Thames for a short time before heading east into the Chiltern Hills AONB. The walking on this section is a delightfully-contrasting mix of open downland, farmland, grassland, and woodland. Along this section, you pass through some internationally-important nature reserves that are home to incredibly rare flora and fauna.
In this itinerary we split The Ridgeway into six stages. Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation.
Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby. However, places to stay are not always abundant so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.
If you are planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Swindon railway station, which is served by direct trains from London and Bristol, and has connecting services around the country. From Swindon, you would need to catch the 49 bus service, which runs hourly buses to Avebury.
To get home, you would need to catch the 61 bus service from Ivinghoe to Aylesbury. The train station in Aylesbury has direct trains to London and has connecting services around the country.
As with all long distance hikes, arriving by car is not the most sensible option. However, if you do decide to, your best bet is to leave your car in Swindon, then catch the 49 bus to Avebury.
To get home, you would need to catch the 61 bus service from Ivinghoe to Aylesbury, then catch a train from Ayelsbury to London Marylebone, then jump on the tube from Marylebone to Paddington Station, then catch a train from Paddington back to Swindon.
The Ridgeway combines with three other long-distance footpaths — the Wessex Ridgeway, Icknield Way Path, and The Peddars Way — to form the Greater Ridgeway, an epic country-crossing hike from Lyme Regis, in Dorset, to Hunstanton, in Norfolk, that follows an ancient trade route developed long-before Roman occupation. If you would like to combine these routes, follow the links below.
For the Wessex Ridgeway hiking route, click here: komoot.com/collection/935252.
For the Icknield Way Path, click here: komoot.com/collection/954916.
For the Peddars Way, click here: komoot.com/collection/991.
The Ridgeway starts from the World Heritage Site of Avebury and travels 87 miles (139 kilometers) along Britain’s oldest road.
Before you start this enchanting journey, it is worth taking some time to explore the amazing sites that are literally a stone's throw away from the beginning of the route—but are not officially on it.
Starting from the village of …
Taking you through a landscape that is rich in beauty and history, this remote stage affords abundant tranquility and lots of interest.
With more than 18 miles (29 kilometers) of distance to contend with, this is the longest stage in the itinerary and will really test your mettle.
From Ogbourne St George, you climb north through fields until you reach …
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Superb views northwards over the Thames Valley and southwards over serene downland fill this hike with wondrous beauty.
From Letcombe Regis, you follow the road south out of the village to rejoin the trail at Gramp’s Hill, where you continue east.
You arrive at Segsbury Camp a short time later; an Iron Age hill fort with extensive and well-preserved ramparts …
This challenging stage will really test your fitness and endurance.
As you hike alongside water, through sleepy villages, and into the stunning patchwork landscape, the pretty countryside, abundant history, and lovely views should be a more-than-adequate reward for your effort.
From Streatley, you follow the iconic River Thames for the first few miles, which is easy walking along a level …
With some tough climbs and a challenging 17.5 miles (28 kilometers) of distance, this is the most strenuous stage you will encounter on The Ridgeway.
Your effort is rewarded with spellbinding panoramic views, wildlife-rich nature reserves, and remarkable beauty, however.
From Watlington, the trail is relatively flat for the first five miles (eight kilometers) before a steep climb up Chinnor …
The final stage of The Ridgeway takes you through the enchanting wooded landscape of the Chiltern Hills.
From Wendover, you follow the trail south and climb gradually into Barn Wood, and then through Hale Wood, Milesfield, Hengrove Wood, Northill Wood, Parvis Wood, and Bull’s Wood.
In fact, between Wendover and Wigginton, you are either in woodland or walking beside it …