At over 5,000 years old, The Ridgeway Trail, may well be the oldest road in Britain. Drovers, traders, invaders and travellers of all sorts have all tramped this prehistoric path and today you can too. The trail meanders for 139 km (87 miles) over rolling, open downland to the west of the River Thames, and through secluded valleys and woods in The Chilterns to the east, never far from a cozy English village and lodging. This makes for great walking, whether for a multi-day itinerary or just for day walks. Along the way expect to encounter burial stones and barrows left by prehistoric man. You can read more about the Ridgeway Trail at the website.
Cicerone Guidebooks publishes a detailed guidebook for the walk called The Greater Ridgeway.
Every summer Bill Bryson and a couple of his buddies walk a section of one of Britain’s long-distance paths, and this past June they invited John Flinn, travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and a friend of Bryson’s, to tag along.
It’s the type of walking Bryson likes, as he puts it: “It’s civilized and comfortable. The landscape is gentle, you can stop at a pub for lunch, and at the end of the day you can have a hot bath, a cold beer, a good meal and a soft bed. It’s wimpy walking, but I like it very much.”
This year they were walking part of the Ridgeway, an ancient footpath that wanders through the North Wessex Downs and Chiltern Hills for 87 miles.
For a fuller review of the memorable walk read John Flinn’s full humerous account of it at the San Francisco Chronicle website.
There is a new walking trail in England, or relatively new, The Herefordshire Trail was launched in 2005, and it comprises a large circular loop of about 240km/150 miles around the county, passing through market towns and villages and as it winds its way through the scenic countryside of woodlands, hills and farmlands. The route was put together by members of the Herefordshire Ramblers and they have published a ringbound travel guide dividing the trail into 15 manageable sections of about 15km/10 miles each, along with detailed route descriptions, maps and linking public transportation. The Herefordshire Ramblers website has further detailed information.
The Heresfordshire Trail itself, has its own website and describes the trail: “It links the five market towns of Leominster, Bromyard, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye and Kington along with some of the picturesque villages and hamlets for which Herefordshire is renowned. The 150-mile route takes walkers through spectacular countryside enabling them to enjoy unequalled views across our county and neighbouring counties. The landscape varies from the Malvern Hills in the east to the Black Mountains in the west, through rich arable land, apple orchards, hop fields, woodlands speckled with wild flowers, and river valleys.
Along the way are pretty rural churches, castle ruins and other historic features together with country inns and farmhouses offering bed and breakfast. The market towns each have their own character but all have a range of hotels, guest houses, restaurants and pubs.
Whether you walk the entire route in one continuous journey, choose small sections at a time, or simply retrace your footsteps over the bits you like best, we believe there is no finer way to enjoy the beauty of our county than from the Herefordshire Trail.”
The county of Herefordshire also holds a walking festival each year. This years festival was held for nine days from June 17 – 25.