Users’ Guide

The Trail is available to equestrians and cyclists for its entire length from Avebury to Streatley and Goring, either as a bridleway, byway or on very short road sections. Plans to continue this on the eastern section are now well advanced.

Compared with most other National Trails, the Ridgeway is undemanding, with easy gradients, but it traverses a great variety of countryside. The western half, from Avebury to the Goring Gap, is the classic Ridgeway, a track over open downs. On this section there are few villages on the line of the path, and walkers should take care to carry enough drink. Most pubs too are off the line of the Trail, but many are well worth a detour.

Much of the eastern half, along the Thames and through the Chilterns, is on footpaths or bridleways, often through noble beech woodlands, the line alternating between the edge of the hills and the Vale beneath, where it often follows the Icknield Way track. This section passes through or near to a number of villages, and is better provided with facilities for accommodation and refreshment. Many of these towns and villages, and those in the western half, are well worth a visit for their heritage and architectural interest alone.

Some sections are still Byways Open All Traffic, where you are likely to encounter motorbikes or 4WD vehicles, although seasonal Traffic Regulation Orders are in force during the winter to protect the surfaces.

For places to stay, maps and satellite maps, see the National Trail’s interactive map. Further accommodation information can be obtained by searching the internet using the name of the relevant town or village.

Click here to access a detailed account of what walking the Ridgeway has to offer by Anthony Burton, author of a guide to the Ridgeway and presenter of a DVD about the Trail. This is an informative and interesting read, but please bear in mind that references in it to pubs and accommodation may now be out of date.