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Ridgeway Path     Part 2

Route from Overton Hill to the River Thames


Start: Overton Hill, A4  Wiltshire

Finish: Ivinghoe Beacon, Buckinghamshire

Length:  87 miles (139 km)


Start: SU118680  Map multimap   Aerial photo

End:   SP959168  Map multimap   Aerial Photo

shown in red on the map, the blue line is the Thames Path.


This route guide is in 3 parts:-

  • Part 1 - Introduction and Basic Information

  • Part 2 - Route from Overton Hill to the River Thames

  • Part 3 - Route from the River Thames to Ivinghoe Beacon

Part 2 - route from Overton Hill to the River Thames

Taking the route from south, Avebury, to north,  Ivinghoe Beacon

The path starts at Overton Hill where The Ridgeway joins the A4, not far from Avebury  in Wiltshire. Before setting out along the path, we have a number of points of interests, The sanctuary in on the opposite side of the A4 at this point, this is linked by the Avenue to Avebury Stone Circle. Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow are on the side of the A4 west and have a path leading to Avebury, from the centre of Avebury a trackway east (Wessex Ridgeway), from opposite the thatched pub, goes up onto the downs joining the Ridgeway allowing a choice of start points.

There are a lot of points of interest in this area including:-

The Sanctuary, some markers in rings that show where a building or structure existed from the time of the Stone Circle, and is where the avenue terminates, many think this was the start point for processions.

Location: The Sanctuary, nr Avebury, Wiltshire

Grid Reference: SU117679 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google

Location Guide:  The Sanctuary 


Silbury Hill is a largely manmade hill and the largest manmade hill in Europe, no one knows its purpose.

Location: Silbury Hill, nr Avebury, Wiltshire

Grid Reference: SU100684 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Multimap  Google

Location Guide: Silbury Hill 


West Kennet Long Barrow is the best preserved of the larger long barrows and far larger than others, you can walk into this  and explore 5 chambers inside. It is located on the top of a hill on the opposite side of the A4 to Silbury hill across 2 fields.

From the outside A view inside

Location: West Kennet Long Barrow, nr Avebury, Wiltshire

Grid Reference: SU104676 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo:  Multimap Google (good)

Location Guide: West Kennet Long Barrow 

Gallery: West Kennet Long Barrow

Avebury Stone Circle is the largest and although partly reconstructed, the most complete of all the larger stone circles. If you haven't visited this before, and you are going into this area its something that you will not want to miss. The Avenue is two lines of stones that g from the Avebury Circle to The Sanctuary, and although not complete there is a significant portion that is.


Location: Avebury Stone Circle  and The Avenue, Witlshire    

Grid Reference: SU103700 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google Aerial Photo/Map

Location Guide:  Avebury  


While in this route guide I am covering the items as if you walked the path, most iff not all of the features can be reached from car parks along its length, and in just about all cases I have included grid references and map links so that you can work out where each feature is located.

On leaving from Overton Hill you pass some barrows, thought to have been burial mounds. See Google aerial view

Fyfield Down and Overton Down - To the right of the Ridgeway, but also in places passing through, is an area known as Grey Wethers. This is an area where there are naturally a lot of sarsen stones, like those that Avebury is constructed of, sticking out of the ground, the track coming up from Avebury and crossing the Ridgeway at

around this point is the Wessex Ridgeway that in the west goes by the Cherhill White Horse and castle, and to the immediate east goes through an area with far more stones than Fyfield Down. These stones that get their Grey Wethers name as they are said, in the mist, to look like a lot of grey sheep, are visible through a valley to the SE, crossing the A4 and are some way south of it, where there are areas you can drive to see them.  Google Ariel view


Location: Wessex Ridgeway crosses the Ridgeway Path

Grid Reference: SU124708 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo:

Location Guide:


Photo by Chris Heaton
Ridgeway's Crossing Sign

Hackpen White Horse, is not visible from the Ridgeway and is easily missed although only a few yards off it. It can be seen and reached by road, off the A4361 towards Marlborough.  Where this road crosses the Ridgeway there is car park. Google aerial view

Location: Hackpen White Horse, nr Marlborough, Wilts 

Grid Reference: SU128749 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire

Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo:  Google  Multimap

Location Guide: Hackpen White Horse


We look in more detail at white horses and hillside features below when we get to looking at the Uffington White Horse.

3 small circular woods that are visible landmarks for many miles, are passed on the left.  

Barbury Castle is not on the Ridgeway, but most people take the diversion of a couple of fields at most, to go through it and out into the car park beyond. 

Photo By Martyn Pattison

Location: Barbury Castle, nr Wroughton, Wiltshire

Grid Reference: SU149762 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Multimap good
Google good

Location Guide: Barbury Castle

Link: Wikipedia 

The Ridgeway passes below and to the north of Barbury Castle and becomes a road instead of a track for a distance.

There are a number of these earthwork castles along its route, and in each case it passes very near, but not through the castle. This may have been a security feature, or perhaps animal herds being driven were not wanted in the settlement or it may just be that with the enclosures being created that some tracks were selected in each of these areas and the simplest to fence was the ones that went past rather than through earthworks. In many cases, but not all, it is also the route that is easiest to travel. Wiltshire has over 40 of these castles/forts/camps most at high points offering good visibility.

While most of the Ridgeway provides good views, where you can often see for very many miles, you will find the view from the castles in each case is particularly good.

The next castle is Liddington Castle, again on the lower slopes to the North. While Barbury Castle is visited by very many people,  Liddington Castle is rarely visited and should you decided to visit, you are most likely to be on your own.

    Photo by  by Brian Robert Marshall

Location: Liddington Castle, Wiltshire

Grid Reference: SU209797 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Multimap  Google

Location Guide: Liddington Castle


There are a number of long barrows and many other types of barrows and mounds alongside the Ridgeway, most are thought to have been burial mounds. Long barrows found on the Ridgeway and in some areas extending from it, such as in Somerset and Gloucestershire are of a design that involves a number of chambers off a central passageway. Before setting out on this walk we mentioned West Kennet Long Barrow, which is the largest and best example, being largely complete.

Wayland Smithy, is a smaller multi-chambered long barrow just to the north and accessible off the Ridgeway. There is a legend that if you leave a horse tied up at it over night ,when you come back in the morning it will have new shoes. If not travelling along this path, but visiting the White Horse and Castle at Uffington, then this is a short walk south, and on the way back there is a  short cut back to the car park.

Location: Wayland Smithy, nr Uffington, Oxfordshire

Grid Reference: SU280853 Ceremonial County: Oxfordshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Multimap   Google

Location Guide: Wayland Smithy

Gallery: Wayland's Smithy

Uffington Castle is just to the north of the Ridgeway at about the same level. It has a large pay and display car park, and you access the white horse and castle across a path from here or you can continue on up the track and join the Ridgeway nearer Wayland Smithy.

Location: Uffington Castle, Oxfordshire

Grid Reference: SU299864 Ceremonial County: Oxfordshire
Map Link: multimap Aerial photo: Multimap   Google

Location Guide: Uffington Castle

Gallery: Uffington Castle

On the hillside the other side of the castle is the oldest of the white horses and unlike later works, that were just cut into the chalk, this ancient horse was constructed by cutting blocks of chalk that were sunk into their positions. Although always now referred to as a horse, it is not truly horse shaped and could have been a representation of a mystical being, god or some other.

As the Uffington White Horse, is the oldest and only surviving really ancient hillside feature, it is worth visiting. We have already mentioned the Hackpen White Horse, and further along will come across 4 other hillside features, although no other horses. The majority of the other white horses are clustered around the start of this path with one east and one west along the A4 and in an arc to the south. We have a full Listing of hillside figures and a White Horses and Hillside Features section.

Location: Uffington White Horse, Oxfordshire

Grid Reference: SU302866 Ceremonial County: Oxfordshire
Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo:  Google (best)

Location Guide: Uffington White Horse


The Blowing Stone  is a large rock with many holes and if you blow into one of these, as you would a bugle or trumpet, it gives a low pitch noise that can be heard for many miles.  There are many legends connected with this including some linking it with several well known Kings and leaders from the distant past. It is thought to have been taken to its current location from Uffington Castle. It is now located in the front garden of a house just over 1/2 mile north of the Ridgeway down a road that the Ridgeway crosses and near the B4507. It is on the side of the road.

The Blowing Stone

It is in the garden of the house on the left
photo by Brian Robert Marshall 

Location: Blowing Stone, nr Uffington, Oxfordshire

Grid Reference: SU324871 Ceremonial County: Oxfordshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google

Location Guide:

Link: Wikipedia (image)

The next castle that we come to is shown on the Ordnance Survey map as an unnamed fort, is on the left, so just to the north of the Ridgeway, this is known as Sedgebury Camp. A road or track that joins the Ridgeway passes through the castle.

Photo by Tom Stringer

Photo By  Chris Heaton


Location: Sedgebury Camp, nr Letcombe Bassett, Oxfordshire 

Grid Reference: SU385845 Ceremonial County: Oxfordshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Multimap  Google

Location Guide:

Links: Pegasusarchive   Wikipedia

You Cross the A338 SU395843 and cross a B road at SU418841,  where there is a car park Google aerial.

Just after you cross the B4494 you come across a Memorial to Lord Wantage, Robert Lloyd-Lindsay, Baron Wantage of Lockinge.

He was the  founder of the English Red Cross and the first man to win a VC in the Crimean War.


Location: Memorial to Lord Wantage, Wantage, Oxon

Grid Reference: SU423843 Ceremonial County: Oxfordshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google aerial view

Location Guide:



Image - by  Kelvin Davies 

Another long barrow known as Scutchamber Knob, is by the side of the Ridgeway. There is a car park at end of lane next to it. Just before we reach this long barrow there is one of a number of places that we could, if we wished, visit Grims Ditch, discussed in more detail below.

Location: Scutchamber Knob  (Long Barrow), East Ginge, Oxfordshire

Grid Reference: SU456850 Ceremonial County: Oxfordshire
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo:

Location Guide:


Car park on the road off the A34 to West Illsley at SU479840 Multimap  Google Aerial view.

The Ridgeway comes down into and through Goring, crossing the River Thames.

For many this is the end of the Ridgeway, although not the end of the Ridgeway Path.

Ridgeway down into Goring
Photo by  Chris Heaton

Boathouse at Goring on Thames
photo by Colin Smith

Continue to part 3

Further Information

Nature Reserves on or near the Ridgeway Path 

National Trails http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ridgeway/


Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid(s) or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Classification from the Grids above. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.

By: Keith Park Section: Walks Key:   
Page Ref: Ridgeway_path2 Topic: Walks Last Updated: 04/2009


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