Last Updated: Wednesday 6th January 2021. Important: All National Trail users need to ensure they are following the latest Government rules and guidance. The relevant links are provided below.
There is guidance in England on staying safe and protecting others in green spaces.
Exercise is important for health and wellbeing, but please follow guidance to stay safe and protect others.
Read the full up-to-date rules effective in England here. Those relevant to visiting green space include you:
You should read the full advice and regulations for England here before exercising outdoors.
Relevant advice when using National Trails in England:
Remember – ‘Hands. Face. Space’
Find useful facts and learn more about The Ridgeway below. Select the blue tabs below for more details.
The Ridgeway National Trail passes through a surprisingly remote part of southern central England. From its start in the World Heritage Site of Avebury, it follows a ridge of chalk hills in a northeasterly direction for 87 miles (139 Km) to reach Ivinghoe Beacon lying to the northwest of London. Popularly known as ‘Britain’s oldest road’, The Ridgeway still follows the same route over the high ground used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers. Today it is popular with walkers, runners, cyclists, horse riders and disabled people using mobility scooters.
West of the River Thames, The Ridgeway is a broad track passing through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is often quite a distance from villages or towns. Here you’ll experience wide, open views of rolling chalk downland and find many archaeological monuments close to the Trail including Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts and the figures of white horses cut into the chalk. East of the Thames, The Ridgeway travels through the more-wooded and intimate hills and valleys of the Chilterns AONB where, as well as further archaeological treasures, there are several nature reserves rich in the wildlife found in chalk grassland habitats. In the Chilterns, The Ridgeway goes close to or through several villages and small towns where refreshments and other facilities are easily available.
There are route descriptions in the Further Information section of this website, proposing six sections/days for walkers to complete The Ridgeway. Other variations are described in the itineraries and there are circular walks and rides to sample parts of the Trail. Ideas for cyclists and horse riders to enjoy the Trail between Avebury and Goring-on-Thames are also set out on this website.
The Ridgeway can be enjoyed all year round, but spring through to autumn (March to November) probably provides the best views, the most wildlife and better surface conditions underfoot. Early May is the best time to enjoy the bluebells that carpet many of the Chiltern woodlands, one of the treats for visitors to The Ridgeway.
The National Trail is very well way-marked so following the route is easy. But it is always a good idea to take a guidebook or map.
For, at least 5,000 years and maybe many more, people, including drovers, traders and invaders, have walked or ridden The Ridgeway. As part of a prehistoric track, once stretching about 250 miles (400 Km) from the Dorset coast to the Wash on the Norfolk coast, it provided a route over the high ground for travellers which was less wooded and drier than routes through the springline villages below.
The Ridgeway passes through two distinctive landscapes; the open downland of the west within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the more gentle and wooded countryside of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the east.
Visit our News Page for the latest interesting and exciting news on The Ridgeway National Trail.
Ideas for great days out and updates on Ridgeway Riding Route project
For at least 5,000 years people, including drovers, traders and invaders, have walked or ridden The Ridgeway. It really is a walk through history. Explore the history of The Ridgeway for three days, a week or even longer. Find inspiration for your walking, cycling or horse riding adventure using our suggested itineraries, or select one of our bookable itineraries which are highlighted with a star.
Starting at the world famous Avebury Stone Circle follow this ancient route through nature reserves and past Neolithic tombs and the Uffington White Horse.
Feeling inspired? Build a bespoke itinerary and start planning your visit to this great National Trail here.