The Ridgeway National Trail - and a Halton Circular Walk using bits of it.
The Ridgeway National Trail is simple to follow from start to finish as the route is always clearly marked - you just cannot go wrong or get lost on it. The idea of these
instructions are to use the Ridgeway Path to create circular walks which incorporate parts of this ancient trail - this is not about simply walking the Ridgeway Trail from end to end since there is obviously no instructions necessary to do that.
About The Ridgeway National Trail in England.
The Ridgeway Trail (or Path) is one of Englands oldest roads - and has now been designated a National Trail - and goes from Overton Hill
in Wiltshire (near Avebury
and Marlborough) to Ivanhoe Beacon (near to Whipsnade Zoo) - a distance of 85 miles. The Ridgeway was part of a much longer trading
route which stretched from Lyme Regis in Dorset through to The Wash (Hunstanton area) in Norfolk by linking with the Wessex Ridgeway to the South, The Icknield
Way and then The Peddlars Way to the North East - a distance of around 250 miles. Near the Wiltshire end there are several ancient sites including the famous Avebury Stones (Circle), Silbury Hill and East Kennett Long Barrow. The Ridgeway's route takes it past several locations of interest including Barbury
Castle, a Neolithic Chieftain's burial place at Wayland's Smithy and Uffington Castle and it's famous White Horse.
GPS readings are OSGB British Grid and shown in [ ]s and are in easterly and northerly order. Entering the correct Grid Letters into your GPS is essential ( i.e. this walk uses SP
A Ridgeway Trail walk in England from Halton via Wendover Woods and Town then along The Wendover Arm towpath back to Halton.
This 10 mile walk is a bit bumpy but gives you all sorts - beautiful woodland (Wendover Woods is very well known for it's Autumn Leaf Display), open
countryside with associated views of the Chilterns, Boddington Hill Fort, a few miles along the Icknield Way and The Ridgeway National Trail and finally an easy walk along the
Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal.
From Wendover take the A4011 which goes past the RAF Camp at Halton - about 500 yards past the Main Gates and near the top of the hill look for a cross roads sign - turn right (take it easy since this is just a very short entrance road) and there is a small parking area just ahead. Essential
Walking Note - take a bag of bread with you for the ducks etc. later on the walk. From the car park go between the wooden barriers and keep straight ahead on the main wide track. This soon starts to climb steadily through the trees - ignore all side paths - the track eventually forks and
here take the right hand track. This still wide track continues to climb steadily and then flattens out somewhat and then arrives at an open grassy area - this viewpoint gives you views of the camp below and of Wendover plus miles of
Chiltern's countryside. Continue along the track - keeping straight ahead when another track joins in from the right - eventually reaching a grassy area which is at the end of a forestry road. Keep straight ahead going through wooden barriers now heading towards Boddington Hill.
The track goes straight and fairly flat for a while now with Boddington Hill Fort on the left. As the track curves round a small path comes in from the right and here you get more good views of Wendover. However stay on the main track but shortly take a path on the left which
almost immediately splits - go left again and follow this narrow path as it goes through the woods and Hill Fort and eventually arrives back at the forestry tarmac road. Go along the tarmac road passing the occasional picnic table to reach the main Wendover Woods parking area - there is a
small wooden toilet block here and also a building has been constructed which we understand is a cafe. Follow the tarmac road with the buildings on the left and then take a wide path
via a wooden barrier on the right which has a signpost "Family Cycle Trail 6 miles". The wide path soon becomes a grassy track and descends through trees - at the track junction go sharp right.
Now stay on this as it continues winding round the top of the valley to reach another track junction.Go left and walk more steeply down to the floor of the valley.
Follow the track as it bends round to the right and then goes straight ahead into the distance. Go straight across at a junction and then soon reach a small road by some houses.
Go left along the road then when it bends sharply to the right go straight ahead and onto the Icknield Way (there are several paths here but this is clearly marked). The path goes
alongside a hedgerow and then becomes a very sunken leafy path. Continue along slowly climbing now with woods on the left and a field on the right - look out for a sign indicating The Ridgeway and here turn right up some wooden steps and continue climbing now quite steeply on a narrow path. At the top turn right and continue along this ancient National Trail - this section can be extremely muddy.
On reaching a road go slightly right to rejoin the Ridgeway on the other side. Initially the track is fairly wide and grassy but after a while becomes just a narrow path now going through quite thick woodland. This section is usually extremely muddy and can be slippery
because of the tree roots. There are several path junctions but the Ridgeway is well marked so simply follow the acorn signs. The path drops down steeply in places - the tree roots can be a real hazard along here so care is needed. At the bottom the path bears left now with a fence on the
right - to reach a track junction. Turn right and continue along the track passing several houses - the track eventually sinks low between high hedgerows and then passes a farm on the left to finally arrive at a tarmac road. Go straight ahead on the tarmac road signposted to St Mary's Church (Church Lane) - passing school buildings on the left and then St. Mary the
Virgin's church also on the left. Just opposite the church gates take a path on the right which passes a duck pond - you can go into playing fields here - there are several seats which make this a good spot to stop and have a drink and maybe lunch.
The Ridgeway Trail continues alongside the playing fields now as a small tarmac path - passing houses and more or
less following a busy small stream on the right. It eventually emerges on Wendover High Street - with it's old clock tower on the right. Walk down to the clock tower then cross over the roundabout heading towards Aylesbury. Continue along going past several small shops, restaurants and houses to
reach a junction, turn right into Wharf Road. After passing a "school ahead" roadsign turn left onto the canal towpath which is marked as the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal - now just stay following along the towpath on this really lovely canal. There are loads of ducks, swans, moorhens and grebe along here - all of them pretty chubby but still hoping you have some bread to top themselves up with. This is one of the
nicest section of canal we have walked - so much wildlife, trees, shrubs and reed beds. Around 1.6kms from joining the towpath pass under a small white bridge and then the towpath sweeps slowly right to finally reach another bridge at Halton. Leave the canal and turn right crossing the bridge, continue up the
road and take the marked path on the left into the churchyard. Continue along with St Michael and All Angel's church on the left and leave the churchyard via a gate on the far side. Turn left and go through some trees now with Raf Halton's sports fields ahead of you. Take a marked path on the right which
brings you to a small tarmac road. Turn left and follow the road between playing fields and woodland. As the road goes quite sharply right continue straight ahead on a path which rises up through trees. On re-joining the road keep straight ahead soon to reach the A4011 main road. Cross over with care to very shortly reach the start point.
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