Walking The Ridgeway from Chiseldon to Wantage
After a hearty cooked breakfast we set off to rejoin the Ridgeway trail, which meant a three mile slog along the Ridgeway Road on tarmac, then joining the Ridgeway trail that used the road to cross the M4 and then thankfully off the road. A short uphill pull and then along the trail to look at Wayland’s Smithy, a Neolithic long barrow. A mile or so further along we climbed to the top of White Horse Hill and then stopped for lunch – a pork pie bought the day before in Marlborough, very disappointing 5/10 – then headed off for Sparsholt Firs.
We met surprisingly few people on the trail – a handful of people walking the opposite way, a family trouped by while we ate our lunch, two dog walkers and their charges within half a mile of their cars and two horse riders who stopped to have a chat. The trail today was nearly all on hard surfaces – not surprising I suppose considering it’s an ancient road, but I’d rather have dirt beneath my feet. Somehow, with all the signs and hard surfaces it seems rather sanitised though on the plus side, you never need to stop and consult a map.
At Sparsholt Firs we veered off the trail and walked down the road and then along a tree lined byway into Wantage. We looked around the Vale and Downland Museum and the town, spent an hour in the library, ate an early supper and then took a taxi to our bed & breakfast at West Challow.