THE ANCIENT RIDGEWAY stretched across much of southern England, from the Vale of Pewsey in the west to Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chiltern Hills in the east. The 137-mile long Ridgeway National Trail perpetuates much of the original prehistoric route. While the western third of the Trail, described here, is arguably the most interesting, hardy walkers will want to explore its entire length.
ACCOMMODATION: Redlands Bed and Breakfast, Marlborough, has single rooms from £30 and double rooms from £40. Tel: 01672 515477. Swandown Hotel, Swindon offers bed and breakfast from £25 for a single room and £40 for double rooms. Also in Swindon, Highfield House offers single rooms from £25 and double rooms from £40.
NEARBY: The Vale and Downland Museum, Wantage, provides an introduction to the history of the Downlands and the Vale of the White Horse. The exhibits, housed in a former merchant’s cottage, detail the industrial age, including the role of local trades such as milling, blacksmithing, and dairy farming. Tel: 01235 771447.
The Great Western Railway Museum, Swindon, occupies a building that once housed railway workers. Among the items on display are locomotives, tickets, uniforms, and fittings from Queen Victoria’s royal coach. Tel: 01793 493189.
Richard Jefferies Museum, Swindon, is the birthplace of the 19th-century writer and contains first editions, manuscripts, and personal possessions. Tel: 01793 526161, ext. 4526.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about The Ridgeway, contact The National Trails Office, Countryside Service, Dept. of Leisure and Arts, Holton, Oxfordshire OX33 1QQ, tel: 01865 810224, or visit the excellent website.