Barbury Castle to Overton Hill


Start: Barbury Castle Country Park car park (SU 157 760)

End: Overton Hill car park on the A4 (SU 118 680)

Distance:10½ km (6½ miles)

Easy navigating on this first section of The Great Stones Way (GSW), as the route follows part of The Ridgeway National Trail.  The Ridgeway is clearly signposted and is supplemented with some confirmatory GSW waymarking.

Leave the car park near the toilet block, and then through gates into the Barbury Castle iron-age hill fort.  The route goes straight through the middle of the fort but you may wish to walk round the ramparts to enjoy some great views.  Exit the fort by a steep descent and turn right for a brief distance on a minor road before turning left onto a broad track.  This track is clearly marked as The Ridgeway and passes through classic downland scenery as it follows the high ground to a road crossing at Hackpen Hill.  A short detour is necessary if you wish to see the White Horse.  

Continue to follow The Ridgeway signs.  The path descends gently to Overton Hill, good scenery marred only by the damage done by off-road vehicles to the conditions under foot.  The Friends of The Ridgeway continue to campaign to get motor vehicles banned from using this part of the National Trail.  The car park at the A4 is the official start (or finish) of The Ridgeway National Trail and is hardly impressive!

You may wish to visit Avebury and its wonderful stone circle as part of your walk.  If so leave The Ridgeway at the Herepath (SU 124 708) and descend to the village.  You can return to the GSW by retracing your steps or by going south from Avebury to see Silbury Hill and then rejoining the GSW at East Kennet.  This attractive detour is fully described in the Cicerone guide.