Last day of the Ridgeway Trail Hike: Wendover to Ivinghoe Beacon

Ridgeway Trail Ivinghoe Beacon hike walk hiking

Last Saturday I completed the last 12 miles of the Ridgeway (actually, 14 or so by my reckoning, when I count some off-track wandering in the Chiltern woods). A day I’d been looking forward to for a couple or three reasons:

– it marked the end of the trail (if you go with The Ridgeway being up to Ivinghoe Beacon and not the whole ‘Greater Ridgeway’ that stretches 363 miles from Dorset to Norfolk). It’s always nice to tick a goal off a list and all that.

– the day started in Wendover, my old home town. Well, Halton RAF base next door was the actual location of the ten or so houses we lived in over the years – but Wendover is definitely more of home-town shaped location.

– most importantly, I was hooking up with my daughter Lian at Tring, around the 9 mile mark, so she could escort her old man up to the beacon (which is the site of an iron age fort).

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Three day hike on The Ridgeway National Trail

West Kennet Avenue Avebury

Last year I spent a couple of days on The Ridgeway  but jumped in (for logistical reasons) part way along this ancient route and started at Wallingford. This time though I started at the very beginning* (a very good place … ) and had company to boot in the shape of friend Jeff and my brother-in-law, John (who joined us on the 2nd day for some of the route).

* The ‘beginning’ is maybe a moot point in that the actual ‘Greater Ridgeway’ is some 362 miles long and starts in Dorset then heads up all the way to Norfolk. We walked about 45 miles of the 87 mile long ‘middle bit’ known as the Ridgeway National Trail that starts at Overton Hill.

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Two days on the Ridgeway Path – almost down memory lane

Pulpit Hill Chilterns

Chinnor Barrows above the Ridgeway path

I recently spent three nights and two days on the Ridgeway Path. The Ridgeway (‘the middle bit’ of the ‘Greater Ridgeway ancient route that stretches 360 miles diagonally between the Dorset and Norfolk coasts) is about 87 miles in length. I did around 24 miles on two sections in total across the two days.

But the section I did was 30 years and as many miles displaced from the part I knew as a child and teenager (hence almost memory lane). The names of the villages and towns I came close to or stayed overnight at (camping) were familiar, just not known like the back of my (ageing) hand.

There’s scant audio-visual accompaniment to this blog post: my phone’s SD card fubar’d whilst away (on the last morning). So pretty much all my trip photos and the handful of videos I had shot have gone. A few days after the event I’m pretty sanguine about it (mostly) and it’s a reminder not rely on technology too much. And to maybe have a backup camera to share the load.  And to use my memory more of course (possibly, although that’s never been a great storage medium for me).

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Planning a Ridgeway walk

Ridgway path sign
One of the only photos from my brief Ridgeway foray 2 years ago.. MANY more photos to be taken next time 🙂

Two years ago I spent a couple of days in my old home town of Wendover (or as near a home town as I had I guess – with a Dad in the Air Force). One of the things we did as kids was play out in the beautiful Chiltern forest that flanked Wendover and also the RAF camp of Halton. Where we lived in something like 14 different houses over years of being posted back and forth! And we used to walk the woods with my Dad and the two dogs on a sunday. I love the moors and hills of Marsden and I’ve spent half my life (yikes) here now but I do miss those ancient woodlands.

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