We (Martin, Jill, Colin and Ann) have now completed another adventure – walking the Ridgeway, a route passing through ancient landscapes, through downland, secluded valleys and woodlands and used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers. This is a follow-up to our South Downs Way walk, where on each weekend we used rail travel to get there and back, leaving our cars at home. We carry with us the minimum necessary for an overnight stay in a pub or B&B.
Rail Connections and Overnight Stops
The diagram below shows the rail connections that make the Ridgeway walk possible, the overnight stops we used and some cafe’s and pubs along the way. The walk started at Avebury and over four weekends we completed the full length, culminating in a small celebration at the top of Ivinghoe Beacon in May 2016. We hope you will find the map and other tips in this post useful.
Avebury to Ashbury 31 May – 1 June 2014
Day 1 – Avebury to Ogbourne St George
On the first day we caught the train from Reigate to Reading and then Reading to Pewsey, with a pre-booked mini-cab taking us the last few miles to the Avebury Henge and Stone Circles. After walking about 12 miles, we stayed overnight at The Sanctuary B&B and had an excellent supper at The Inn with the Well.
Martin at Avebury
Day 2 – Ogbourne St George to Ashbury
On the second day we walked a further 12 miles, leaving the Ridgeway and dropping down to the village of Ashbury, where we had a pint in the Rose and Crown Inn before getting a mini-cab to Swindon for our return train home, again changing at Reading.
Ashbury to Goring & Streatley 16-17 August 2014
Day 3 – Ashbury to Wantage
On the first day we caught the train from Reigate to Swindon, negotiating a taxi fare onward to re-join the Ridgeway near Ashbury. After walking about 10 miles, we relaxed at the Court Hill Tea Rooms before continuing on a couple of miles to the Regis Bed & Breakfast and supper at the King Alfred’s Head pub.
Colin and Ann getting organised
Day 4 – Wantage to Goring & Streatley
The B&B kindly took us back to where we had left the Ridgeway and we then walked a fairly remote further 15 miles before descending into Streatley where we enjoyed magnificent views of the Thames sitting outside the Swan Inn. The train home was as short walk away from Goring & Streatley station, changing at Reading and then back to Reigate and a taxi home.
The Thames at Streatley
Goring & Streatley to Princes Risborough 8-9 May 2015
Day 5 – Goring & Streatley to Watlington
Having arrived by train via Reading we set off through the town of Goring, joining the Ridgeway, which for the first few miles follows the Thames before branching off in a North-Easterly direction.
Alongside the River Thames
Through the woods we came across wonderful bluebells and in the afternoon we were lured into the Holy Trinity Church at Nuffield where facilities were provided for making tea and coffee and cake could be found in the fridge (in return for a donation to support the church).
Bluebells alongside the Ridgeway
It was quite a long day, walking about 17 miles by the time we reached our accommodation at the Fat Fox Inn at Watlington at about 6 o’clock in the evening.
Day 6 – Watlington to Princes Risborough
We set off from the Fat Fox and rejoined the Ridgeway – very easy walking initially and soon we found ourselves lured into Chinnor for a pint and sandwiches at the Crown pub.
Excellent signs on The Ridgeway, some with distances
After Chinnor the tearrain is more undulating and we got a few glimpses of blue sky and sunshine, as can be seen on the photograph below.
Fields of rape approaching Princes Risborough
The train back to London Marylebone was straightforward, although we picked up a lot of football fans exiting Wembley Stadium for the last leg of the journey. We rounded off the day with a Mezza supper at Tas in Borough High Street before returning home from London Bridge Station.
Princes Risborough to Ivinghoe Beacon 20-21 May 2016
Day 7 Princes Risborough to Wigginton
After an early start we set off walking from Princes Risborough Station at about 10:00am climbing steadily up to the view point at the top of Whiteleaf Nature Reserve
View over Princes Risborough and back towards Watlington
Along this section of the Ridgeway you pass through part of the estate surrounding Chequers, the country house retreat of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Chequers, the country house retreat of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
After quite a long day’s walking we eventually arrived in Wigginton, staying at The Greyhound where we enjoyed beer, wine and an excellent meal.
Day 8 Wigginton to Ivinghoe Beacon
From Wigginton its only about six miles to the top of Ivinghoe beacon and soon the end was in sight.
Ivinghoe Beacon – the end in sight!
A brief celebration at the top and then we were on our way back down again via the The Valiant Trooper at Aldbury where we were made most welcome. Back home then on the train from Tring into Euston.