The Friends of the Ridgeway

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Autumn View from the Ridgeway

The Friends of The Ridgeway is an Association of people committed to preserving The Ridgeway as an ancient greenway for quiet enjoyment by the public. Welcome to our Website, where we hope you will find all that you need to use and enjoy The Ridgeway.  Use the links in the side menu to locate topics of interest, or simply search below.


Spring on The Ridgeway

Well, what a wash-out of a winter we had to put up with! Almost 18 inches of rainfall over the three months, three times as much as in a “normal” year! It is still boggy underfoot in the woodlands, and so many of the valley bottoms, but at least the streams and winterbournes, dried up for so long, are running again. And now, quite suddenly, the rain has stopped, and spring is here! The snowdrops were a picture, but have faded now, and in their place the daffodils are in full bloom, and the hedges are bright with blossom. Time to call the dog, pick up the stick, and set off for a real walk again! It’s the uplands for choice at this time of year, where the surface is dry and the views vast and uninterrupted by leaves still to open. Just wrap up warm, as the wind is keen and the air still redolent of winter.

Ridgeway Day 2014We’ve been very busy making arrangements for The Ridgeway Day, on Saturday, 10th May, at The Court Hill Centre, near Wantage, click here for further details, or on the poster. It should be bigger and better than ever this year, with live music from the Hill Tribe, a new Nature Trail for the children, guided walks and new exhibitors, not to mention the Barn’s home-made cakes! Everyone is invited and entry is free!

A new structure for management of The Ridgeway National Trail is at last beginning to emerge. It has been decided that The Ridgeway and the Thames Path, currently run by a single committee of all the local authorities concerned, will in future be managed separately. A new Partnership is to be set up for The Ridgeway, to include a range of the local communities of interest, and with greater focus on engagement, improvement and promotion. We welcome this development and look forward to playing our part in this new body.

We’re delighted to hear that a Guide to The Great Stones Way is to be published in July this year, which will help walkers find their way along those parts of the route that we have so far been unable to improve with signage and way-marks. We’re planning to mark the publication with a guided walk, and hope that many walkers will join us.

The Great Stones Way

The Great Stones Way is a proposed footpath from Barbury Castle near Swindon to Old Sarum near Salisbury, linking Avebury and Stonehenge. Click here for full details of our proposals.

Improvement works have been largely completed for the southern sections of the route, across Salisbury Plain from Casterley Camp and along the Avon Valley between Enford and Amesbury, with generous funding from the Plain Action LEADER group and from Tidworth Area Board. However, we have not yet been able to finalise the route across the Vale of Pewsey, or to complete our planned signage and improved disability access improvements to it, due to opposition to the scheme from the local communities there. In the face of this opposition, the North Wessex Downs LEADER Group decided in October, 2012, not to release the funding they had previously approved, so there is no prospect of us being able to undertake these works for the foreseeable future.  We remain determined to establish a route for walkers through this iconic landscape of a standard consistent with its importance, and aim to re-engage with those concerned in order to identify an alignment acceptable to as many residents as possible. We continue to hope that Wiltshire Council will adopt a strategic approach to the encouragement of walking tourism in this sensitive area. In the meantime, however, various routes across the Vale of Pewsey are available to walkers, over existing rights of way, including Wiltshire Council’s own White Horse Way. Care should be taken in using these unimproved paths, particularly when crossing main roads. We would be interested to hear about walkers’ experience of them. Two walkers who did the walk recently and gave us their feed-back are Jeremy and Diana of Weekwalks; click here to visit their site.


Ridgeway News and Events:

  • The Ridgeway Day and AGM is planned to be on Saturday, 10th May, 2014, once again at the Court Hill Centre near Wantage. Click here to see the poster with further details. We are seeking volunteers to join the Committee, as Trustees, and as Membership Secretary and as Engagement Secretary. Please contact the Secretary if you would like to help (see Contact Us page for further details).
  • The National Trails Office has gone live with their new web-site, designed and run for them by Walk Unlimited. Do try it and please let us have your comments. We think it's a great improvement, but we, and I'm sure they will be glad to hear of any constructive feed-back from walkers. For further details, have a look at their press release.
  • Read our latest Newsletter, no 97, and previous newsletters and Annual Reports on our newsletters page.
  • The Ridgeway Cicerone Guide The Ridgeway National Trail - 87 miles through 5000 years of history Written by Steve Davison, published by Cicerone March 2013. For further details please click here.
  • We still have a few greetings cards for sale, with views of Avebury painted by Anna Dillon, and of Chris Coles’s photos of the countryside along The Great Stones Way. Click here for our Art section and an order form.


Howards Way Walk

Five years ago Howard Kerr died of pancreatic cancer. In his final year he and a few friends walked The Ridgeway, covering 86 miles in just three days. His aim was to set up a charity to raise awareness of this dreadful disease and raise funds for research into its diagnosis and treatment. His friends each year take up a sponsored challenge. If you would like to know more visit , and to contribute go to .

The Great Stones Way:

Click here to reach the updated section on the Great Stones Way.

Click here for a report (with photographs) on walking a section of the proposed Great Stones Way, from Old Sarum to Woodhenge.

Click here for a report (with photographs) on walking a section of the Way from The Sanctuary (SU119680) to Wansdyke.

Click here for our unpublished Map and Guide for the way-marked sections of the walk between Casterley Camp and Amesbury.


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European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.