The 87-mile (140 km) Ridgeway National Trail is a compelling option for the runner, as it follows an ancient path along the crest of the North Wessex Downs, passing the remnants of prehistoric settlements.

The Ridgeway

The views from the top, closest to Chinnor and Princes Risborough, take in a vast swathe of the Thames.

Once on the river bank, the trail follows the Thames for five miles before branching off for varied scenery. Down land, delightful valleys and rich woodland are all passed through.

With few climbs to tackle and generally good terrain to attack, the trail provides an excellent starting point for a new trail runner, or a fast, scenic route for those with more experience.

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Map of The Ridgeway

Route facts

  • Length 91 miles (146 km)
  • Ascent 7267 ft (2215 m)
  • High point 909 ft (277 m)
  • Ascent per km 15 m
  • Start and Finish
  • Avebury/Ivinghoe Beacon
  • Grade
  • Easy to Strenuous  
  • Season
  • 2nd January to 24th December

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  • View over the Chiltern Hills from the Ridgeway

    Views over the Chiltern Hills.

  • View from Ivinghoe Beacon

    View from Ivinghoe Beacon.

  • West Kennet Long Barrow

    West Kennet Long Barrow.

Trail profile

The Ridgeway Route Profile

Itineraries

3 nights
2 days running

Grade: Strenuous

Avebury

72 km (45 miles) and 906 m (2972 ft) ascent

Goring

74 km (46 miles) and 1308 m (4291 ft) ascent

Ivinghoe Beacon

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Tour code: TRIW-1

Price £365 per person

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4 nights
3 days running

Grade: Challenging

Avebury

46 km (29 miles) and 681 m (2234 ft) ascent

Wantage

50 km (31 miles) and 611 m (2005 ft) ascent

Watlington/Britwell Salome

50 km (31 miles) and 923 m (3028 ft) ascent

Ivinghoe Beacon

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Tour code: TRIW-2

Price £420 per person

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5 nights
4 days running

Grade: Moderate

Avebury

33 km (20.5 miles) and 498 m (1634 ft) ascent

Ashbury (Ridgeway)

39 km (24.5 miles) and 408 m (1339 ft) ascent

Goring

40 km (25 miles) and 615 m (2018 ft) ascent

Saunderton for (Princes Risborough)

34 km (21 miles) and 692 m (2270 ft) ascent

Ivinghoe Beacon

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Tour code: TRIW-3

Price £480 per person

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7 nights
6 days running

Grade: Easy

Avebury

20 km (12.5 miles) and 328 m (1076 ft) ascent

Ogbourne St George

26 km (16 miles) and 353 m (1158 ft) ascent

Wantage

25 km (15.5 miles) and 226 m (741 ft) ascent

Goring

25 km (15.5 miles) and 385 m (1263 ft) ascent

Watlington/Britwell Salome

26 km (16 miles) and 559 m (1834 ft) ascent

Wendover

24 km (15 miles) and 364 m (1194 ft) ascent

Ivinghoe Beacon

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Tour code: TRIW-4

Price £575 per person

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Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are running on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:

  • Solo Runner Supplement: £45 per person / per night
  • Single Supplement: £25 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

  • Extra night (Standard): £60 per person / per night

The price you pay includes:

  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, town plans, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
  • Emergency assistance.

Detailed travel information is sent to you on booking, but we have provided a summary below.

Air

The most convenient major city and international airport is Bristol International Airport.

Rail

The most convenient railway station for the start of the tour (Avebury), is Swindon, Wilts. From Swindon station, it is a 5 minute walk from the central bus station and the town centre. There is a railway station at the end of the trail (Tring). Tring railway station is about 2 miles south-east of the town, in a village called 'Tring Station'. Tring is on the west coast main line railway with a frequent direct train service from Tring to London Euston (approximately 3 per hour) along with services to the rest of the UK via Birmingham New Street.

From London – Trains run regularly between Heathrow or Gatwick Airports and Swindon – Wilts (nearest railway station to Avebury). There is a fast and frequent rail service between London Paddington and Swindon. The journey takes approximately 1 hour 50 minutes. From Tring, there are regular trains to Gatwick (changing at London Euston and London Victoria) or Heathrow (changing at London Euston).

Car

For advice on driving to the start of the trail, please visit www.theaa.com which has a very useful route planner.

Returning to the start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail (Avebury) is by taking the bus to Tring station then a train from Tring to Swindon changing at London’s Euston and Paddington stations. This journey takes approximately 2 hours. Finally complete the journey to Avebury by bus.
The ridgeway passes through some wonderful towns and villages on its journey from Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon; perhaps the best way to ensure that you make the most out of these diverse destinations is to add an extra day or two into your holiday and explore them more thoroughly.

Avebury is an extremely tempting option for an extra night, particularly for budding historians. Before you set off on your run, you can add an extra night at the start of your holiday and explore the many superb prehistoric sites around the village, including the Avebury Circles, the Sanctuary, the West Kennet Long Barrow, the Devil's Den and much more. All the usual amenities are also available here, including a number of cafes and tearooms to enjoy.

The pleasant little market town of Wantage is another good choice for a rest day from running, brimming with a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and shops, including places to stock up on health foods, supplements and snacks for the rest of your holiday. Wantage also hosts many different events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating a mixture of local music, literature, heritage, food and more, ensuring that there is always something to entertain everyone.

Spending an extra night in the historic village of Goring is also an option, with its elegant country houses, tranquil river and calm atmosphere guaranteed to soothe and relax any runner. Situated in both The Chilterns and The North Wessex Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the local area is perfect for a gentle walk or recovery run to help loosen up your muscles for the remainder of your run. The nearby Hartslock Nature Reserve – a Site of Special Scientific Interest – is another stunning area to explore, filled with beautiful plants and home to a very wide variety of animals, some of which are extremely rare.

The town of Watlington would make a perfect rest stop for runners interested in locally produced food and ancient history, not to mention the wealth of beautiful surrounding Chiltern countryside in which the town is nestled. Take a gentle stroll around the various shops and delis before exploring the local area along one of its many walking trails, ensuring to keep an eye on the skies for Red Kites, which famously inhabit the Chilterns.

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