The story so far.....share your thoughts and photos about high points along the Trail to help us create a community Top 50!

The feeling of achievement when reaching the top of a hill can be exhilarating, as any hillbagger, peakbagger, highpointer or trigbagger will tell you. Following The Ridgeway over the high ground, there are inevitably a number of high points to discover including three county high points and views of other hills such as the highest hill in South East England. Read on below….

Banner image: Trig point marking Oxfordshire’s highest point on White Horse Hill. Credit: Jay Jay.

It is tiny in comparison to Great Britain’s highest peak of Ben Nevis at 1,345m but The Ridgeway’s highest point of Liddington Castle (275m) is still worth the effort. It was a favourite climb for the writer Richard Jefferies who wrote: ‘By the time I had reached the summit, I had entirely forgotten the petty circumstances and annoyances of existence. I felt myself, myself’ (The Story of My Heart, 1883). On a fine day, it may be possible to see Wiltshire’s highest point of Milk Hill (295m) in the distance.

Rising 260m beside low-lying vales, Coombe Hill in Buckinghamshire also offers far-reaching views on a clear day – as far as the Cotswolds 53 miles away – and is one of the few places in southern Britain where a fell race is held. From the hilltop, the Chilterns escarpment can be seen snaking into the distance and it is easy to spot places along The Ridgeway such as The Berkshire Downs and Ivinghoe Beacon. It is not Buckinghamshire’s highest hill but it is the county’s ceremonial high point and so it has hosted many important events including the official opening of The Ridgeway as a National Trail in 1973.

In contrast, the highest hill in Buckinghamshire and also the highest point in the Chilterns – Haddington Hill (267m) – hides amongst trees in Wendover Woods. Stone markers help visitors to locate the spot (see image gallery above). Even more difficult to find is Hertfordshire’s high point of 244m which lies unmarked along The Ridgeway in Pavis Wood near Hastoe.

This is very different to Oxfordshire’s county high point of 261m near Uffington which has been boldly marked by the famous chalk horse for thousands of years. White Horse Hill offers broad views across the low-lying vales below and there is a trig point in the hillfort where people sometimes celebrate completing the steep climb up its north-facing side…note that The Ridgeway offers a gentler approach!

Last but by no means least is Berkshire’s highest hill – Walbury Hill – which is also the highest in south east England. It isn’t located on the Trail but, rising to 297m, it can be seen on the skyline in the distance from places along The Ridgeway such as Sparsholt Firs.

Which hill will you climb next along The Ridgeway?……

Notes: More information about writers, Lowbury Hill, chalk marks and hillforts is available in other Top 50 entries (not all Top 50 entries will be available until end of December 2023).

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