A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick
It doesn’t seem possible that thirty years have passed since my own adventures on the Ridgeway. Many changes have taken place in the 87-mile route since I walked it in 1981 and 1982 and foremost among these has been its elevation to National Trail status. This means that today there is an official guidebook, by Anthony Burton, published by Aurum Press and containing sections of the relevant Ordnance Survey maps. The well-waymarked route is not particularly strenuous – though some stages can be quite lengthy. There remains an abrupt change in character, separating the western portion, which clings to high ridge top tracks, from the eastern half – which climbs up and down among the Chiltern hills.
I walked the route as a series of day walks from London and this is still possible – though I hope my successors might do a little better job than I did in choosing appropriate starting and stopping points. There may be no way of avoiding extra miles getting to and from the route – I used buses, taxis and trains to get to the start of some stages and, in the case of the final stage, I reversed my steps at the mid-way point in order to get back to train service. It is also true that today there are a number of companies prepared to assist the walker in completing the route as a single holiday adventure. Such firms (easily found on the Internet) will book accommodation for you and transfer your luggage on to the next night’s lodging.
However you choose to accomplish this venture – day trips or continuous journey – the Ridgeway remains a most rewarding enterprise. You can always let me know how you got on by leaving a message on the Contact Page.
My stages (including any extra mileage needed to reach the route or get back to public transportation) were as follows:
Day 1: Avebury to Ogbourne St. George – 12 miles
Day 2: Southend to Ashbury – 11 miles
Day 3: Ashbury to Wantage – 12 miles
Day 4: Whitehouse Farm to Goring – 14.5 miles
Day 5: Goring to Watlington – 14 miles
Day 6: Watlington to Princes Risborough – 13.5 miles
Day 7: Princes Risborough to Tring Station – 15 miles