Historic trading routes
The variety of landscape in this section is also reflected in the history of the area with the National Trail encountering amongst other things three important trading routes; the prehistoric Icknield Way, the River Thames used continuously for trading and the Great Western Railway constructed in the 19th century. The railway makes its impact unpleasantly felt as you initially walk north from Goring-on-Thames, but further along the River Thames your path passes beneath Brunel's splendid bridge built in 1839 with its skewed arches and unusual brickwork - well worth an admiring look.
Grim's Ditch is a fascinating ancient earthwork, now believed to date from the late Iron Age/early Roman period, that accompanies you for a three miles stretch east of Wallingford to Nuffield. It's amazing to think such a ditch was constructed using just antler picks as tools.
Beech trees and tent pegs
Most of the beech trees you see in the Chilterns today have been planted. From the 17th century the wood has been used; initially to supply a cheap source of fuel and charcoal for London and then in the 19th century by craftsmen. Tent-peg makers and chair leg turners, the bodgers, flourished throughout the Chilterns with the industry centred on High Wycombe. Few bodgers remain but the woodlands still have a commercial and leisure value.
Watlington White Mark
When you reach Watlington it's worth looking south to the hillside rearing above you to spy the Watlington White Mark another of the chalk figures cut into the hills through which The Ridgeway wanders.