Finishing the Wessex Ridgeway and starting the Ridgeway
From the B4192, we set off up Liddington Hill, brushing against the wet undergrowth so that by the time we reached the ridge, our trousers were soaked, which was not the most auspicious start. Luckily the sun was out and they soon dried. The Ridgeway took us through woods and along grassy paths before we cut down a bridleway to Ogbourne St George and out the other side and up to Smeathe’s Ridge, a wide grassy track full of sheep with wonderful views and miles of gallops in the distance. We sat on a bench just before Barbury Castle to eat our sandwiches, not sure if it was a second breakfast or a very early lunch, and then walked past the hill fort with its ramparts and deep ditches and commanding views of the surrounding areas.
Dropping down, we followed the Ridgeway a bit further and then at Fyfield Down joined the Wessex Ridgeway. Looking into the valley bottom, it seemed like a river of sarsen stones, with sheep picking their way between them. There also appeared to be a plantation of young elder trees. We followed the Wessex Ridgeway past more white painted rails and gallops into Marlborough, found a tea shop for an early afternoon tea and then had a guided tour around the Merchant’s House. It’s good to see a house with work in progress and there are some wonderful painted walls, though some of the colour schemes are a little eccentric.
Taking the bus northwards we headed to Chiseldon for a pub supper at The Plough and a very comfortable night at Courtleigh House.