Bronze Age Round Barrows
The ealiest monuments along this stretch of The Ridgeway are the round barrows, burial chambers dating from Bronze Age times, roughly 2000 to 750BC. There are several close to the Trail, including one in the area of woodland at Scutchamer's Knob above East Hendred that was excavated and ruthlessly dug away in 1842 by amateur archaeologists. Another actually lies within the width of the Trail, half a mile or so west of the B4494.
The Saxons have left their mark here too, with Wantage being the birth place of King Alfred who subsequently fought battles on the downs. Wantage also gave its name to Lord Wantage whose wife erected the monument to her husband on The Ridgeway just east of the B4494 (installed on top of another ancient round barrow!). His descendants still own the model farm and villages he built at the end of the last century.
A little further east of here and to the south lies the village of East Ilsley, famous for its sheep fairs which only stopped being held in the village in the 1930s.