If you change your mind at any time just let us know.
An ancient complex of tracks runs along the steep northern scarps of the broad band of chalk down-land underlying the Chiltern Hills and the North Wessex and Dorset Downs. This ancient trade route may date back to the Neolithic period when the Stonehenge and Avebury monuments were built at the centre of a flourishing civilisation in Wessex, and link these settlements to harbours on the Norfolk and Dorset coasts, and to resources such as the Grimes Graves flint mines near Thetford. The 87-mile central portion of this route, between the Ivinghoe Beacon hill-fort near Tring and Avebury in Wiltshire, was designated in 1972 as the Ridgeway National Trail, but the rest of the 400-mile route, incorporating the Icknield Way path to the north, and the Wessex Ridgeway in Dorset, is less well defined.
The Friends of the Ridgeway
The Friends of The Ridgeway is a registered charity (No 1107926). We are a voluntary organisation set up in 1982 to preserve and maintain the special nature of The Ridgeway, mainly in response to the abuse of the Ridgeway National Trail south of the Thames by off-road vehicles. Today, after a successful campaign resulted in the restriction of motor vehicle access to major sections of the Trail, the Association’s objective is to work for the preservation of all of the ancient Ridgeway tracks, by promoting public awareness and enjoyment of this unique and important part of our heritage.
We continue to campaign for the protection of The Ridgeway, working with the Ridgeway Partnership and others to promote its value to the whole community as an essential part of everyone’s life and heritage; and to represent any concerns about the Ridgeway to those responsible for its maintenance. We seek to engage people living near to and using The Ridgeway in activities that spread knowledge and appreciation of its wealth of historic, artistic and environmental features.
Our long-term aspiration is to work with other Associations and well-wishers to achieve the creation of a coast-to-coast recreational walking route along the line of the ancient Ridgeway braided track between Norfolk and Dorset. We have proposed the Great Stones Way route from the Ridgeway to Old Sarum near Salisbury as the missing link between Avebury and Stonehenge. From Salisbury other trails link to the Wessex Ridgeway in Dorset, to complete the Ancient Ridgeway heritage trail.
We are always looking for new members to join us to help preserve the spirit of The Ridgeway. Our annual membership rates and further information on joining can be found on our Join Us page. You will receive regular e-Newsletters with campaign updates, articles of general interest about The Ridgeway and news on recent publications. We also run a programme of interesting and informative events throughout the year. We are currently seeking volunteers to join the committee and for an Engagement & Social Comms Secretary.