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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.
Winter on The RidgewayAutumn arrived late this year, and was reluctant to leave us, with a mild, wet and occasionally windy stay. A dry September changed to a soaking October. The leaves stayed green well into November, with no frosts to bring out their red and golden tints. At last, in mid-November, the temperatures are plunging and the leaves falling with them, after a brief but vivid autumn display. Winter is upon us, and we all wonder what trials it will bring. Early snows or more rain will leave the ground underfoot impassable to all but the hardy, but dry and bracing cold weather will favour walkers waiting to stride out along the Downs or through the woodlands, amongst the last of the fallen leaves, or gazing out, eyes watering, across the clean plough-land of the Vale with its subtle tints.
Plans for a new organisation for The Ridgeway National Trail have made frustratingly slow progress. We have sought to urge them forward with proposals for a new Partnership, community and user led, that would engage more extensively with all stakeholders, but there has so far been little response. It seems likely that separate groups for The Ridgeway and the Thames Path will eventually emerge, but a year-end dead-line is looming closer without final agreement.
The Great Stones Way extending The Ridgeway southwards, linking Avebury to Stonehenge, remains unimproved and awaiting final definition. We have sought to meet local objections by modifying the route, and are seeking to resume talks with Wiltshire Council to resolve any issues, so far without response. We are seeking walkers’ opinions on the alternative routes we have suggested across the Vale of Pewsey. In the meantime, a map and guide of the whole route is under preparation, for publication next year, and we plan to arrange a guided walk to coincide with publication.
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:
Howards Way WalkFive 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 www.howardswaywalk.co.uk , and to contribute go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/hwww2013 .
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.
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.