Why you should walk The Ridgeway

Published: 04 December 2023

Do a hike on The Ridgeway for Macmillan and discover the natural and ancient wonders of Britain’s oldest road.  


Find out more about hiking for Macmillan

Alex Donohue Senior Digital Content Writer

Why you should walk The Ridgeway

Ridgeway highlights

Uffington White Horse

Arguably the historic highlight of The Ridgeway trail. Even if you’ve never visited this ancient hill figure before, you will likely recognise it from photos. The iconic landmark is re-chalked by volunteers every year, so it continues to glean on the hillside of Whitehorse Hill. Also check out the remnants of Uffington Castle nearby.  

Wayland's Smithy

Only a mile west of Uffington White Horse and just off The Ridgeway path, this early Neolithic chambered long barrow is surrounded by dense woodland and provides an ideal shady spot on a sunny day. Built around 3600 BC, the burial ground’s name is believed to invoke the Norse god Wolund.  

Ivinghoe Beacon

Whether you make Ivinghoe Beacon the beginning or end of your Ridgeway hike, the views across the Vale of Aylesbury and Ashridge Estate are spectacular at any time of year. Look out for the kite and model plane enthusiasts too. 

Wendover Woods

It’s hard to choose the best woodland section of The Ridgeway, but the broadleaf and pine trees of Wendover Woods in Buckinghamshire are a favourite for many. In autumn, they are transformed into a riot of red and gold leaves.

The Thames

There aren’t many significant water features along The Ridgeway but crossing The Thames at the Goring & Streatley Bridge is one of them. For weary hikers, it also marks the point between the North Wessex Downs and The Chilterns. The trail then follows the banks of The Thames for several miles. 

Barbury Castle

The huge, 2,500-year-old hillfort is the largest along The Ridgeway and can be seen from miles around. Though the walls are long gone, the ancient ramparts and defences are unmistakable and offer excellent views across this beautiful part of Wiltshire. 

Tips for walking the Ridgeway

Hike for Macmillan

Training essentials

Alex Donohue 

Experienced hiker, and nature photographer who walked The Ridgeway in 2020. Alex is a Senior Digital Content Writer at Macmillan.