The Ridgeway

Ridgeway Map
Ridgeway Map – Click to Enlarge

The Ridgeway is an ancient trail stretching 87 miles through some of the finest countryside in England. From the iron age hill fort at Ivinghoe Beacon it broadly tracks the high Chiltern escarpment and continues south west finishing at Overton Hill in Berkshire.

Walking the Ridgeway National Trail is one of the very best Chiltern walks. The Chiltern section takes you over chalk grasslands, through beechwoods and skirts typical Chiltern villages with breathtaking views along its entire route.

You could plan to cover the Chiltern Hills stretch of the Ridgeway in 3 or 4 days but a week or two would allow for some great stopping off points.

The Chilterns Section of The Ridgeway
The Chilterns Section of The Ridgeway

The Ridgeway is magnificent at all times of the year but its worth bearing in mind a few seasonal reminders. Unless the ground is frozen in winter sections of the Ridgeway in particular that double as bridleways are usually fairly muddy; waterproof boots are essential. On the flipside the bare trees allow superb views and better glimpses of the deer.

In summer where the Ridgeway is less often walked the nettles begin to encroach on the path making walking in shorts more treacherous, a hazard which is more than compensated for by the many skylarks, butterlies and rare orchids en route.

In May the bluebells carpet the beechwoods and in September and October the beech trees give a truly magnificent display of autumn colour.

The Ridgeway Sign