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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 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.

Our other main objective is to work with other associations, councils and well-wishers to create a coast-to-coast path from Lyme Regis in Dorset to Hunstanton in north Norfolk. We have called this path the Great Chalk Way, as it faithfully follows the chalk ridge that spans the entire width of southern England. It is also thought to be England’s oldest path, having been used as a link between places of historic occupation for thousands of years, and is sometimes referred to as the Ancient Ridgeway.

We consider the Great Chalk Way to be a family of long-distance paths, which link the Ridgeway National Trail (87 miles long) to the east coast in Norfolk by way of the Icknield Way (110 miles long) and Peddars Way (49 miles long); and to the south coast in Dorset by way of the Sarsen Way via Salisbury and the Cranborne Droves Way (51 miles long) and 66 miles of the Wessex Ridgeway. Like the Ridgeway, the Peddars Way is a National Trail.

We established the Swire Ridgeway Arts Prize, an annual competition, in order to bring the Ridgeway to life as an artistic inspiration, and to show the Ridgeway, its history and environs, in all their aspects throughout all seasons.

As a registered Charity the Friends have raised significant amounts of funding for projects, mainly those undertaken by the Ridgeway Partnership, to improve its facilities, but also including the Oxford Plant Sciences Department Project.

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Information Leaflet

Our Information Leaflet is available to download and print here.

Please help us by making a donation

The Friends of The Ridgeway is a registered charity (No 1107926). We rely on the support of our members and from donations. We are committed to preserving the spirit of the Ridgeway.

Join Us

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

Autumn Newsletter 2020

Autumn Newsletter 2020

Following the letter from the Chairman, this Newsletter gives a report from the Secretary The Secretary’s Minute Book, an update from the Treasurer, a report on the Great Chalk Way, an update on the Swire Ridgeway Arts Prize, information on trail repairs in World...

Summer Newsletter 2020

Following the letter from the Chairman, this Newsletter gives a Treasurer’s Update, then an introduction to new Trustees Dave Cavanagh and Duncan Strutt, a report on the Great Chalk Way, a report on the Swire Ridgeway Arts Prize 2020 with illustrations of some of the...

AGM 2020 Voting to be done by Email

As advised in the email of 20 March 2020 from the Chairman, the AGM cannot go ahead as stated in the Annual Review. As our constitution, we are required to hold an AGM ‘as soon as practicable thereafter’.  This could be argued to be in the Autumn given the...