- The Ridgeway
Infobox Hiking trail
Photo= Ridgeway mongwell.jpg
Caption= The Ridgeway in
Grim's Ditchnear Mongewell
England, United Kingdom
Designation=UK National Trail
Overton Hill, near Avebury, Wiltshireand Ivinghoe Beacon, Buckinghamshire
"For other meanings see
The Ridgeway is an ancient trackway described as Britain's oldest road. At convert|85|mi|km, the route follows the
chalkhills between Overton Hill, near Avebury, and Ivinghoe Beaconin Buckinghamshireand represents part of a route in use since Neolithictimes. Specifically, the Ridgeway hugs the ridge tops of open downland west of the Goring Gapand the tree-covered Chiltern Hillseast of the River Thames, thus avoiding once-difficult woods and marshes in the valleys below.
Now one of fifteen long-distance National Trails in
Englandand Wales, the Ridgeway beetles northeast, from its trail head at Overton Hillto its tail at Ivinghoe Beacon, near Tring. Opened as a National Trail in 1973, the Ridgeway meets the much newer Thames Pathat the Goring Gapwhere both trails use the banks of the River Thamesbetween Goring-on-Thamesand Mongewell- the Thames Path following the western bank and the Ridgeway hugging the eastern bank.
In use since Neolithic times, the original Ridgeway almost certainly used to traverse the entire
chalkridge ( escarpment) that runs from Dorsetto Lincolnshire, but human development and military restrictions on Salisbury Plainhave interrupted the trail; only convert|85|mi remain. The Ridgeway represents one of four long distance footpaths which combine to run from Lyme Registo Hunstanton, collectively referred to as the Greater Ridgeway.
The Ridgeway passes near many Neolithic,
Iron Age, and Bronze Agesites including, Avebury Circle, a stone circle similar to Stonehenge; Barbury Castle, Liddington Castleand Uffington Castle, all Iron Age and Bronze Age hill forts; Wayland's Smithy, a Neolithic chieftain burial tomb; the White Horse, an ancient convert|400|ft|adj=on chalk horse carved into the hillside near Uffington Castle; and Grim's Ditch, a convert|5|mi|adj=on section of earthwork near Mongewellcreated by Iron Age peoples as a possible demarcation line. Other points of interest include the Blowing Stone, and Victory Drive, the private drive of Chequers(the British Prime Minister's country retreat).
The Ridgeway's surface varies from chalk-rutted farm paths and green lanes (which have a propensity for becoming extremely muddy and pot-holed after rain) to small sections of metalled roads. Labelled a
bridleway(shared with horses and bicycles) for much of its length, the Ridgeway also includes parts designated as bywaywhich permits the use of motorised vehicles. Local restrictions along many byway sections limit the use of motorised vehicles to the summer months. Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, many public rights of way in England and Wales that authorities had not explicitly classified as Bridleway or Byway defaulted to the classification "Restricted Byway" which precludes the use of motor vehicles at all times. As a result of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, much of the Ridgeway remains free of motor vehicles year round. [cite web | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/5005478.stm | title = Ridgeway given 22-mile motor ban | publisher = BBC| date = 2006-05-22 | accessdate = 2007-11-05]
Despite the Ridgeway's artificial creation, the TV programme
Seven Natural Wondersfeatured it in 2005 as one of the wonders of the South.
A Brief History
For at least 5000 years travellers have used the Ridgeway. Originally connected to the
Dorsetcoast, the Ridgeway provided a reliable trading route to the Washin Norfolk. The high dry ground made travel easy and provided a measure of protection by giving traders a commanding view, warning against potential attacks. The Bronze Agesaw the development of the White Horse along with the stone circle at Avebury. During the Iron Age, inhabitants took advantage of the high ground by building hill fortsalong the Ridgeway to help defend the trading route. Following the collapse of Roman authority in Western Europe, Saxon and Vikinginvasions of Great Britain saw the Ridgeway used as a road for moving armies. In medievaltimes, the Ridgeway found use by drovers, moving their livestock from the West Countryand Walesto markets in the Home Countiesand London. Prior to the Enclosure Acts of 1750, the Ridgeway existed as an informal series of tracks across the chalk downs, chosen by travellers based on path conditions. Once enclosures started, the current path developed through the building of earth banks and the planting of hedges. Since 1973 the Ridgeway has enjoyed the status of a National Trail.
Places along the Ridgeway
Places that are near to (or on) The Ridgeway include (from West to East):
* Overton Hill
* [http://www.communitywalk.com/map/13067#10190010751.2J=Y6-1.EIN0 Annotated map of the Ridgeway]
*Ridgeway National Trail. Published by Harvey Maps, UK.
* [http://www.pegasusarchive.org/ancientbritain/ridgeway.htm The Ridgeway]
* [http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/Ridgeway/index.asp?PageId=1 The Ridgeway]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/moonraking/landscape_ridgeway.shtml BBC description of the Ridgeway]
* [http://www.archive.org/details/alongtheridgeway0607 Improvised music recorded at various sites along The Ridgeway]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
(the) Ridgeway — the Ridgeway [the Ridgeway] an ancient path in southern England that leads from ↑Avebury along the Berkshire Downs to the ↑Thames at Streatley and then along the Chiltern Hills to Ivinghoe Beacon, a distance of 85 miles/137 kilometres. It was… … Useful english dictionary
The Ridgeway — Der Weg bei Ivinghoe Beacon Der W … Deutsch Wikipedia
Ridgeway Clocks — is a division of Howard Miller Company, and is a producer of longcase clocks, mantle clocks, and wall clocks. The company s facilities are located in Ridgeway, Virginia. According to [http://www.furnituretoday.com/ Furniture Today] magazine,… … Wikipedia
Ridgeway (town), Wisconsin — Ridgeway is a town in Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 581 at the 2000 census. The Village of Ridgeway is located within the town.GeographyAccording to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 42.7… … Wikipedia
The Moss — The Moss, just to the north of Troway. Origin Coalpit Wood, Coal Aston, Derbyshire Mouth … Wikipedia
Ridgeway Branch — The Ridgeway Branch is a tributary of the Union Branch in Ocean County, New Jersey in the United States.ee also*List of New Jersey rivers … Wikipedia
Ridgeway — A ridgeway is a road or path that follows the highest part of the landscape.Roads and pathways*The Ridgeway National Trail, also known as The Ridgeway Path, which runs across southwestern England, along the chalk escarpment * The Ridgeway ,… … Wikipedia
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada — Infobox Military Unit unit name=The Queen s Own Rifles of Canada caption=Cap Badge of the Queen s Own Rifles of Canada dates=April 26 1860 Present country=Canada branch= Army Reserves type=Rifles role= Infantry size= One battalion command… … Wikipedia
The Good Old Days — Infobox Television show name = The Good Old Days genre = Old Time Variety, Family starring = Leonard Sachs country = UK language = English num seasons = 30 location = Leeds City Varieties Music Hall network = BBC1 first run = 1953 first aired =… … Wikipedia
Ridgeway High School (Memphis, Tennessee) — Ridgeway High School is a public high school in Memphis, Tennessee and is part of the Memphis City Schools. Ridgeway High School first opened in 1971, hosting students from grades 7 12. Ridgeway High School now only houses grades 9 12 with the… … Wikipedia