White Horses, Hill Forts and Ridgeway Walks

232 TUTOR: Isobel Geddes

Explore hilltop prehistoric sites on ancient trackways with magnificent views, including hill forts dating from the Iron Age and nine white horse hill figures. Discover their history amid stunning scenery and summer wildflowers, with hopefully the bonus of catching a glimpse of some wildlife too. Travel will be by minibus, followed by a walk of between one and four miles. Be prepared for walking up hills, some rough ground and maybe a stile or two. Bring waterproof clothing, just in case.

Course Notes

A level of fitness is required sufficient for a walk of up to 4 miles, with hills and the occasional stile. The following itinerary may be modified to suit the weather! Please wear walking shoes and bring waterproof clothing to ward off any rain…

Day 1: Follow The Ridgeway from Uffington Castle hill-fort, with the original white horse, to Wayland's Smithy long barrow. [Less than 2 miles - 1 hour walking]

Day 2: Cherhill white horse & Oldbury Castle, walking on the Old Bath Road. Then a short drive to Olivers Castle hill-fort and the nearby Devizes millennium horse on the Wessex Ridgeway. [1.5 hours walking - 3 miles]

Day 3: Westbury white horse and Bratton Castle, walking on the Wessex Ridgeway. A view of the Pewsey horse will be had on the return journey. [Less than a mile actually walking]

Day 4: Vale of Pewsey - a 4 mile walk above Alton Barnes white horse, passing Adam's Grave long barrow, Rybury and the Wansdyke. [2 hours walking]

Day 5: Ridgeway walk of 2.5 miles between Barbury Castle and Hackpen Hill horse as well as a photo opportunity below Broad Town white horse. [1.5 hours walking]

Marlborough College's own horse can be viewed from the fish ponds during the week.

Background reading

A History of Ancient Britain by Neil Oliver (published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2011 & Phoenix in 2012).

The Making of the English Landscape by W.G. Hoskins with introduction and commentary by C. Taylor (published by Hodder & Stoughton 1988/1992).

Hill Figures of Englandby Maurice Askew (Crowood Press 2002).

Hill Figures: White Horses and Other Figures of the Hills, Their History, Location and Care by Kate Bergemar (Shire Publications 2008).

The Wessex Ridgeway by Anthony Burton (published by Recreational Path Guides 1999).

The Oldest Road: Exploration of the Ridgeway by John Richard Lane Anderson & Fay Godwin (published by Lonely Planet Walking Guides 1987).

Britain BC - Life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans by Francis Pryor (published by Harper Perennial in 2003 & 2004)

Course Tutor

Isobel Geddes

Isobel Geddes

About Isobel

Isobel Geddes is a geologist, writer and Blue Badge Guide who regards human history as just the latest stage in the long history of our planet. She has introduced people to the local historic sites for a number of years. As well as guiding, she wrote Hidden Depths: Wiltshire's Geology and Landscapes, published in 2000 by Ex Libris Press. Subsequently she contributed walks in The Cream of South Wiltshire Walks (Hobnob Press, 2002) and wrote a chapter on the geological history of the Marlborough Downs in the English Heritage book The Avebury Landscape - Aspects of the field archaeology of the Marlborough Downs in 2005 (edited by Graham Brown, David Field & David McOmish & published by Oxbow Books). She now produces short geology & landscape guides covering local places of interest.

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Summer School Dates for 2024

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

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9.15AM to 4.30PM