Walk Distance: 6.8km
Walk Duration: 2 1/2 hours (or longer if walking the whole way with a toddler)!
Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger 173 Swindon & Devizes; OS Explorer 157 Marlborough & Savernake Forest;
Suitable for: Dogs, Off-road buggies (take the road on the final stretch back to Ogbourne St. George, babies in carriers, good little walkers, older children.
Walk Features: Lovely views, easy walking once up on the Ridgeway, geocache en-route, pub at start/finish.
We tried out the Ogbourne St. George circular walk on a grey January Sunday, as part of our ongoing challenge to complete the Ridgeway National Trail in short, family friendly sections. The walk starts and ends from near the Inn with the Well pub which serves a hearty roast lunch and is dog and child friendly! Roo loved peering through the glass floor in the restaurant into the old well below looking for trolls!
The walk involves a bit of uphill to get out onto the Ridgeway but once up, is wide and flat and enjoys some fantastic views back across the Marlborough Downs and Ogbourne St. George.
The whole walk can be done with a good off-roading pushchair or mountain bikes if you’re game for the uphill challenge – you just need to adapt the route slightly but I have listed these diversions below. There are also options to cut the walk short if you need to – one of the reasons for starting out in the opposite direction to the actual Ridgeway, though there is no reason why you shouldn’t save the best of the views until last (my normal preference) and reverse the route if you know you’ll finish it all.
Starting from the Inn with the Well pub on the easterly outskirts of Ogbourne St. George, turn your back to the pub and turn right, heading under the road bridge.
Just beyond the bridge, turn right onto the side road and follow it as it doubles back south. Whilst this is a road, it is a pretty quiet one and we only saw passing bikes and one car whilst we were there. As you reach some houses the road continues very straight ahead, whilst a side-road bends around to the left. Take the left-hand fork, following the road up past several houses including one curiously name The Power House!
Walk on uphill. Where the path splits here, take the left-hand path unless you are walking with an off-road buggy/mountain bikes, in which case you will probably find the shorter, steeper route ahead easier. If you opt for the shorter route but do have enough time though do nip up to the very top of the path for the views before returning to the turn-off listed below – they are some of the best on the walk.
The longer route carries on up slowly to the top of the hill where it joins the Ridgeway National Trail. The views are lovely from up here and well worth the climb. Turn right onto the main Ridgeway path and walk along the hill-top overlooking Ogbourne St. George and the Marlborough Downs. You will eventually come to an intersection with another path coming up from the right. There is a signpost here with the Ridgeway marked heading downhill. Take the right hand fork.
Head downhill. If you took the shorter cross-country buggy route earlier then this is the path you will be climbing up, rather than walking down! Just before the wooded part of the track (or just as it opens out if you’re coming uphill), the path splits. Take the left hand fork (right-hand if you’re on the uphill route). The path continues until coming to a small road. Cross over and continue.
The path next intersects with a cycle-way – a 10 mile family friendly route on old railway tracks down to Marlborough I have earmarked for another outing! Cross over again (you can return along the cycle route if you find you need to get back by the shortest route) . Take care with children and dogs on this next section as the path continues straight on until it meets the main A346 road, which is very fast. You will need to cross straight over – the one really nasty section of the walk.
Over on the other side, walk through the small hamlet of Hallam, passing some gorgeous thatched little cottages. Cross the bridge, then continue on the track out into the countryside once more. A short way on there is a path leading into the fields on the right. If you need to take a shorter way back (not for buggies) then you can take this path which goes down to the River Og, then crosses over and leads back to Ogbourne St. George village centre. Otherwise, carry on to the T-junction at the top of the track.
Turn right and back onto the Ridgeway dedicated trail. Follow the track along a leafy lane past farmland, with views back up to the Ridgeway you walked earlier on the hills opposite, until you reach the road. Here, if you are walking with a cross-country buggy or mountain bikes, turn right and return to the village along the quiet road. Otherwise, carry straight on along the road ahead. A short distance on you will come to a track on the left-hand side marked for the Ridgeway towards Barbury Castle. On the opposite side of the road there is a small stile. This is the path you want.
Climb over two stiles, walk through a small orchard and then on into a meadow with the pretty Church and Manor House of Ogbourne St. George just behind it. The church dates back as far as the 12th century and the manor also has a long history, which you can read in detail here.
The path skirts to the left of the manor house before going over a stile into the churchyard. After wandering through the churchyard past some very old graves, walk out through the front gate onto the lane ahead. If you prefer to avoid further stiles, you can turn right down the lane then left back along the road to Ogbourne St. George. If not, then go through the small, unmarked kissing gate diagonally opposite to the right from the church gate. Follow the path over several stiles down to the River Og, then on over the boardwalk bridge and following the path (more stiles!) through a series of fields running along the back of Ogbourne St. George. Finally the path joins a lane by a house on the corner of the last field. Turn right down the lane.
At the main road through the village, turn left and walk through the centre of Ogbourne St. George. There are some interesting houses here, including thatched cottages and the old stores. At the end of the road, turn left to return to the Inn with the Well pub from where the walk began.
Map of the Route:
Ogbourne St. George is easily reached by car from the M4 motorway, Swindon and Marlborough. There is street parking available in Ogbourne St. George village. There is a pub car park if you are going in for a meal. Ogbourne St. George is also easily reached by regular bus services from both Marlborough and Swindon – check out Traveline or a similar website for up to date info.
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