Walk Distance: 7km
Walk Duration: 2hrs
OS Map: OS Landranger 173 Swindon & Devizes;
OS Explorer 157 Marlborough and Savernake Forest
Suitable for: Babies in backpacks, competent young walkers and older children.
It’s possible to push an all-terrain pushchair around some of the route but deep ruts in the track make this impractical in several places.
Those with pushchairs are advised to keep on Green St. to the Ridgeway and return the same route.
Walk features: Mysterious stone circle of Avebury; expansive views over Wiltshire, pub and refreshments; public toilets.
Related walks: Overton Hill to Broad Hinton Ridgeway Walk
The walk starts from the centre of Avebury, famous for its huge and mysterious stone circle. You can wander through the meadows in which the stone circle lies, which makes a pleasant start or finish to the walk – unlike its nearby neighbour Stonehenge, entry is free. There is plenty of parking in Avebury and frequent buses run to Swindon, Marlborough, Calne, Devizes and Trowbridge, making it perfectly possible to use public transport for a day out here.
Begin the walk from the Red Lion pub in the centre of Avebury. Cross over the road and walk up Green Street (it is the lane opposite which has a prominent notice advising of no tourist parking). Continue up the lane as it leaves the outskirts of Avebury. Just beyond the farm on your right, the path opens out with the Ridgeway rising ahead of you.
A signpost on your left marks a footpath leaving the lane to the right hand side. Take this right-hand turn, following the line of the Ridgeway above you. Walk along the grassy track through farmland, enjoying the beautiful greens of rural Wiltshire spreading out before you. Continue along as the path gradually rises up the foot of the hill and bends around to the left.
As you climb to the hill-top, you will notice some strange circular outcrops of trees in the surrounding fields. These are actually the remains of ancient round barrows (burial chambers) and are known locally as ‘hedgehogs’.
The grassy path intersects with the Ridgeway at the top of the hill. If you fancy a quick detour, head right to the Overton Hill car park from where you can walk to the more sizeable Overton Hill Barrows. If not, instead turn left along the Ridgeway and follow the track as it gently climbs up the spine of the hill. The views are lovely from along the Ridgeway, spreading out across the surrounding rural landscape.
After 2km of magnificent views and treading in the steps of our ancient ancestors (the Ridgeway considerably predates the Romans) the path eventually comes to a signposted crossroads with another similar sized grassy track. This is Green Street or the Herepath which rises up from Avebury below. Turn left off the Ridgeway and begin your descent over the brow of the hill back to Avebury.
The Herepath eventually rejoins the route you set out on and winds its way gently back into the centre of Avebury, where refreshments and the impressive standing stones await you.
Map of Route:
Pay and display parking is available in the centre of Avebury and is clearly signposted. The car park is free for National Trust members (check signs for latest charges and information). Be aware that at summer and winter solstice (particular the summer solstice in late June) car parks may be full. There are frequent bus services to Avebury from Swindon, Marlborough, Calne and Trowbridge. Check Traveline Southwest to plan your journey.
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