The Ridgeway

May 2007.
The Ridgeway National Trail is 85 miles long, starting at Overton Hill near Avebury and ending at Ivinghoe Beacon. However, we started from Pewsey,the closest railway station, added extra miles in order to reach B&B accommodation each night, and ended up walking almost 110 miles in total.
This walk was an introduction to long-distance walks for Harry and Teresa who we met in Peru on the Huayhuash trip last year.
We spead the walk over seven days - mainly because of problems in finding vacant B&B accommodation along the way.

The Walk-in - Pewsey train station to East Kennett

10.7 miles walk-in to our first B&B at East Kennett.
After a wonderful pub lunch, a stroll along the canal path, then up-and-over the white horse hill to our first B&B, and the start of The Ridgeway proper ...

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Day 1 - East Kennett to Ogbourne St George

Our first taste of The Ridgeway National Trail. 12.2 miles of mostly open, exposed countryside, passing through Barbury Castle enroute.

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Day 2 - Ogbourne St George to Kingston Lisle

A windy, exposed 14.3 miles. Wet and miserable in the morning, but sunny in the afternoon. Several ancient features today, and a pub for lunch! (Oh, yes - and we met Nick Knowles of DIY-SOS fame)

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Day 3 - Kingston Lisle to Streatley

A long day today - 20.4 miles - mostly along the open ridge. The wet weather held off, but it was still tough going. We were especially grateful for a beer when we finally reached The Bull at Streatley.

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Day 4 - Streatley to Park Corner

After yesterday, this was an opportunity to take it easy - only 12.3 miles today. The character of the path changed dramatically too - much more enclosed and intimate. After purchasing provisions in Goring, we had a pleasant walk along the Thames before heading inland through several small villages and sections of woodland.

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Day 5 - Park Corner to Great Kimble

Another long day - 19.2 miles. A pleasant wander through Ewelme and Swyncomb estates brought us onto a long, straight stretch of wide track lined on either side by trees and bushes.
Beyond Princes Risborough the path was a very pleasant meander through woodland and open, county park.
The day ended with a somewhat longer-than-expected trudge through Great Kimble to find The Swan, our B&B for the night.

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Day 6 - Great Kimble to Aldbury

Ah, back to an "easy" day! Only 14.2 miles - initially coninuing through the pleasant parkland, then passing Chequers, the PM's country pad. After the monument on Coombe Hill we dropped into the delightful town of Wendover.
The afternoon took us through Tring Parkand Tring Station. Towards the end of the day we caught our first sight of our ultimate goal - Ivinghoe Beacon.

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Day 7 - Aldbury to Ivinghoe Beacon

After waking to driving rain, we were convinced that the last four miles of our epic journey would be decidedly uncomfortable. Fortunately, a prolongued breakfast meant that we set out in relatively dry and bright (although still rather windy) conditions.
Tempting glimpses of the Beacon all morning spurred us on, until a final steep climb brought us to the long-awaited finale - the end of The Ridgeway.

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