After an enjoyable South Downs Way trip with Nicola and Neil a few years ago, we decided to tackle another one of the UK National Trails. Seeing as we now have Barney, the pooch, we elected to try a hiking trip this time so he could come along. He was a tad young for a trip of this length, but we trained him for 15 mile walking days and he handled it fine. In fact there was more whinging from us on some days.
Like most of the National Trails, the Ridgeway covers an impressive distance when viewed from end to end. It essentially crosses a third of southern England through trails, woods, fields and over exposed hill tops. To travel by foot is an incredibly gratifying experience, and you're reminded day-by-day of how much distance you're covering when you cross major highways which are usually only reachable by car.
The main highlight of our trip was the time of year and the blooming bluebells and rapeseed. The banner image above shows a classic example of walking through a sea of colour. To walk the Ridgeway at any other time of year must be less visually appealing, but I can imagine mid summer and autumn are also good times to walk it.
Overall, the Ridgeway is a challenging and rewarding trail, perfect for those wanting a first taste of multi-day treks. There are not many hills so hiking is steady. The accommodation choice is good, even for those needing dog-friendly places (with the exception of the Wendover end). There aren't many pubs or shops for lunch options, so you need to plan ahead. The photos and the video tell the rest of the story. A jolly nice stroll indeed!
UPDATE: Sorry, my original YouTube video with licensed music has now been muted (probably due to too many music tracks in a single video clip, which is a shame as it says it should play with adverts). The video below is the version minus any music, which sounds a bit odd. When I get time, I will re-do the audio).