Britain at its best: Chalk up a walk along the ancient Ridgeway to the Uffington White Horse


Britain at its very best: Chalk up a wander alongside the historic Ridgeway monitor, which normally takes in the mysterious Uffington White Horse, Iron Age hill-forts and Bronze Age burial mounds

  • Kate Eshelby embarked on an historic stroll involving Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire recognised as The Ridgeway
  • For a lot more than 5,000 yrs, drovers, traders and invaders have travelled this 87-mile-prolonged route 
  • She passed the prehistoric Uffington White Horse, which is built of trenches crammed with chalk 


The path is as white as Elvis Presley’s jumpsuit, edged by grass illuminated in the golden dusk mild. I’m strolling The Ridgeway, the ancient monitor among Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire, experience as no cost as a cricket in summertime, on your own with the wind and the huge horizon.

This 87-mile-extended path crosses 4 counties, connecting Iron Age hill-forts, Bronze Age burial mounds and Celtic chalk figures. For much more than 5,000 a long time, drovers, traders and invaders have travelled this route — and these days it is 1 of Britain’s 15 official nationwide trails.

6 meditative times, starting at Avebury and ending around Aylesbury, lie forward. And there’s a sense of heritage hanging in the air.

Mysterious: The prehistoric Uffington White Horse, made of trenches filled with chalk

Mysterious: The prehistoric Uffington White Horse, produced of trenches filled with chalk

My favourite area is the 1st fifty percent, which primarily traverses Wiltshire, crossing wild landscapes, coming into villages and stopping at charming panoramic lookouts throughout the Chilterns.

The independence of the old way is intoxicating, an pleasure shared by fellow hikers, into whom you can not enable bumping. Soon right before Wayland’s Smithy, a Neolithic prolonged barrow near the Wiltshire village of Bishopstone, I move two girls with cow horns poking out of their rucksacks.

We get started conversing and I uncover their adore of wild tenting in Britain’s primeval destinations.

‘Our ancient web sites aren’t typically labored on or brought alive,’ a single of them says, referring to how particular The Ridgeway feels. ‘These places are on dragon strains [also known as ley lines] and are therapeutic and energising,’ claims the other.

The path curls onwards to atmospheric Wayland’s Smithy, a cave-like tomb set in a beech clearing and named soon after a famous Saxon blacksmith.

Close by is the mysterious Uffington White Horse, with its front legs shaped like people of a praying mantis, as if perpetually prancing on the hillside.

Atmospheric: Wayland’s Smithy, a cave-like tomb set in a beech clearing, is named after a legendary Saxon blacksmith

Atmospheric: Wayland’s Smithy, a cave-like tomb set in a beech clearing, is named immediately after a famous Saxon blacksmith

Whilst you hike, there is no will need to fear about in which to remain there are a lot of selections which includes some exceptional inns, most just a brief stroll off the observe. You soon drop into a rhythm and each and every working day has its very own joys, from selecting blackberries to recognizing a glittery-environmentally friendly beetle with legs that appear as nevertheless it has been dressed in outdated-fashioned knickerbockers.

Clusters of punk-pink campions lie by the route. Pink kites glide above, their tails flashing fox-like in the sunshine.

There is a good deal of time for grand views: how incredible it is that thousands and thousands of several years ago this chalk was forged by billions of crushed sea creatures how right now these grasslands are so uncommon, however ecologically vital with their large open up spaces, butterflies and wildflowers. The diversity is breathtaking: moon daisies, lilac discipline scabious, clumps of mustard-yellow lady’s bedstraw, sweet floss-pink puppy roses, ghost-white hawthorn bouquets.

One particular idea. When passing the village of Bishopstone, be confident to cease for a meal at the quirky Royal Oak pub. Or seize a homemade brownie from the Flying Pig, a van on the verge of the route up coming to the pub’s organic and natural Eastbrook farm.

Right here, I bump into Tim, a person of the house owners. He describes how Eastbrook is a hybrid: a farm combined with wild spaces. The benefits are evidently great as I view bees buzz above fantastic clumps of sunflowers and lacy phacelia.

‘We had a fantastic bustard in just one of our fields,’ Tim claims. ‘And rosy starlings, a stunning sight with their wholly pink bodies.’

Strolling The Ridgeway feels a bit like next the yellow brick street, but instead of an Emerald City at the close, the greens and golds are all all around in mother nature. 



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