The Ridgeway: Alton Barnes to Liddington Castle

609 TUTOR: Adrian Woodford (BA (Hons) MA)

The so-called 'Ridgeway' is really an interconnected series of upland tracks that allowed our Brythonic, Celtic and Saxon forbears to move and trade across southern England. During the week, you will walk a small section of this route, tracing its earliest visible signs south of Alton Barnes, then joining the National Trail at Overton Hill. You will continue north to Barbury Castle, before swinging east to follow the winter route through Ogbourne St. George and north again to the impressive ramparts of Liddington Castle. The terrain is generally good and on well-made tracks, although there are some long uphill and downhill sections. Each day, you will walk between three and five miles.

2 PM
PM course

Course Notes

The modern Ridgeway Path, running from Ivinghoe Beacon to Overton Ridge, represents a fragment of the upland routes that linked Kent and The Wash with the southwest of England.

Day 1

We will start our walk at the foot of the Marlborough Downs, picking up the very first traces of the ancient trail near Alton Barnes. After exploring the Alton villages, a sunken track leads us up the hill to the spectacularly sited Adam's Grave, site of a Bronze Age long barrow and battles between our British and Saxon ancestors.


Day 2

We​follow the Ridgeway north, crossing the Wansdyke earthwork and gently descending from the high ground above the empty spaces of Cow Down. The track briefly joins tarmac and heads in to East Kennet. We then climb up to Overton Hill, where the remains of The Sanctuary mark the beginning of the ceremonial route to Avebury.


Day 3

The Ridgeway follows the escarpment dividing the sarsen-strewn chalklands of Fyfield Down from the 'cheese lands' of the Winterbournes to the west. The path finally swings north-east as it reaches the imposing bulk of Hackpen Hill.


Day 4

Our trail now heads straight through Barbury Camp, the first of two major hill fortsen- route. From this point we follow the beautiful broad expanse of Smeathe's Ridge toward the Ogbournes, preferring this so-called 'winter route' to the dull valley line of the 'Old Ridgeway'.


Day 5

After Ogbourne St. George and the Roman Road, we reclaim the high ground, following the main Ridgway path as it runs north to Liddington Castle and the end of our week's walk.



Course Tutor

Adrian Woodford

BA (Hons) MA

About Adrian

Adrian Woodford has worked as a guide from the mountains of Nepal to the streets of Venice. He has written walking guides to France and Italy, and run a series of walking weeks at the Marlborough Summer School.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM