The Friends of the Ridgeway
The Friends of the Ridgeway is a registered charity (No 1107926). We are a voluntary organisation set up in 1982 to preserve and maintain the special nature of the Ridgeway National Trail, mainly in response to its abuse west of the Thames by off-road vehicles. Although we have had a lot of success in this respect, vehicles on the Ridgeway are a recurring problem and remain a focus of our attention. We collaborate with other organisations, such as the Wiltshire and Oxfordshire Councils’ departments that deal with rights of way, the police and the British Horse Society to maintain safe places for us all to enjoy. We work with the Ridgeway Partnership and others to promote its value to the whole community as an essential part of everyone’s life and heritage. We represent any concerns about the Ridgeway to those responsible for its maintenance. We also raise funds for maintenance of the National Trail by the Ridgeway Partnership.
The Ridgeway is more than a walking trail – it is a historic monument, an artistic inspiration, a natural environment and more. We seek to engage people living near to and using the Ridgeway in activities that spread knowledge and appreciation of its wealth of historic, artistic and environmental features.
In 2009 the Friends of the Ridgeway’s constitution was changed to apply its principal objective to any extension of the ancient Ridgeway trackways along the chalk downs of southern England. As a result, the Friends of the Ridgeway determined to create a coast to coast trail from the Dorset coast to The Wash, which was named The Great Chalk Way (GCW). The GCW Website can be found here
In 2023, the Friends of the Ridgeway are inviting everyone to take part in events and activities to celebrate 50 years since The Ridgeway National Trail was formally opened. The Friends are contributing to the anniversary in two ways: launching a new, free activity for visitors to enjoy anywhere at any time of year along The Ridgeway called #RidgewaySpotter (Ridgeway Spotter Guide), and running a fundraising campaign to enable implementation of the ‘Ridgeway Future 50 vision’ being developed during the anniversary. More details are available on the National Trail website
Our Information Leaflet is available to download and print here.
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Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ridgeway National Trail with this unique Christmas Gift
Click here to buy this unique Christmas Gift of Friends of the Ridgeway individual membership for 2024, an A4 poster of The Ridgeway illustrated map and a group walk with an expert guide exploring a part of The Ridgeway.
Please help us by making a donation
We are always looking for new members to join us to help preserve the spirit of The Ridgeway. Our annual membership rates and further information on joining can be found by clicking on the button below. You will receive regular e-Newsletters with campaign updates, articles of general interest about The Ridgeway and news on recent publications.
Our Latest News
In this autumn’s newsletter we look at a lot of the things that have happened or got underway on the Ridgeway National Trail in the last three months. For starters, over 70 people converged on Coombe Hill, Bucks, at the end of September to celebrate the Trail’s 50th...
Horses figure large in our summer newsletter, with an article on carriage driving on the Ridgeway, and a review of the book The Bridleway, how horses shaped the British landscape. Another type of horse, the Uffington - chalk - White Horse, was under scrutiny by...
One of our Committee Member’s Jane Imbush has written a review of this book – click the News and Events webpage to read her review.