The Ridgeway

There is another England, ancient and remarkably unchanged beyond the bypasses and shopping centres. But to find it you have to seek out the back roads and byways. I’ve taken to exploring the smallest backroads I can find, and sometimes they turn into byways – these amazing ancient rights of way. Many of them are now understandably restricted to traffic, but there are still quite a few of them that you can ride. And this is one of the oldest of all. The ridgeway is a prehistoric trackway that follows the crest of the chalk downland that cuts diagonally across Hampshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, and marks the southernmost extent of the vast glacier that covered Britain in the last ice age. It is a beautiful old road, white and dusty with the chalk. It is quite technical in places and in some sections can get quite muddy and rutted, but a wonderful little adventure and a fine way to spend a sunny late September day.

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