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Sparsholt - The Ridgeway - Uffington Castle - Sparsholt Walk

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The walk starts in the quiet village of Sparsholt - yes, there are two Sparsholts and the one in Hampshire with the agricultural college is better known! This one is in Oxfordshire, although to confuse matters it used to be in Berkshire.

The Church of Holy Cross is close to Waymark 1. The Star Inn may interest you more after the walk! The route leaves the village along a quiet road, crosses the B4507 and climbs through farmland and chalk downland up to the Ridgeway. Most of the climbing on this walk takes place in the first hour.

The Ridgeway is a National Trail, 85 miles long, opened in 1973. Starting at Overton Hill near Avebury in Wiltshire, the trail ends at Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire. Much of it follows the ancient chalk ridge route used by prehistoric man.

However, prehistoric man did not have 4x4 vehicles or motorcycles. Walkers who have experienced the peace and quiet and the underfoot conditions of the Ridgeway being adversely affected by off-road vehicles should know that in May 2006, over 22 miles of the trail became 'restricted byways' under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, only open to walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and horse-drawn carriages; see the newsletter in Additional Info'.

This is undoubtedly having a positive effect, but parts of the Ridgeway are still used by vehicles, illegally or otherwise and it is still rutted in places and very muddy at times. But it is well worth it for the view, the hill-fort and the overall satisfaction of a good ten-mile walk!

The highest point of the walk is the summit of White Horse Hill, where you will come across Uffington Castle, an impressive Iron Age hill-fort. If you deviate from your route for a while, below the fort to the north overlooking the vale are the White Horse itself, thought to be the oldest hill figure in Britain and now maintained by English Heritage, plus Dragon Hill; see Additional Information.

The walk descends from the Ridgeway to Woolstone. There is a small 12th Century church here and the White Horse Inn and the route passes some attractive old buildings. With the large village of Uffington a mile away to the north, you follow a series of footpaths eastwards along the vale, back through Kingston Lisle with a third church and third pub. The return leg is pretty easy to navigate but heavy going on clay at times.

You miss Uffington, but you may like to know a little about its former transport links, the Great Western Railway and the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal; I've included a link to each in Additional Info'. That famous supporter of our railway heritage John Betjeman lived for a while at Uffington and later in Farnborough, further along the Ridgeway (Walk 4624 passes his house there).

Try the Sparsholt - The Ridgeway - Uffington Castle - Sparsholt walk out on the FREE WalkExplorer app for iPhone. This walk will be on the Android app soon.

Other nearby Walks

Bourton-on-the-Water - The Slaughters
Begbroke - Bladon
Oddington - Noke - Ot Moor
Oxford Parks and Spires
Oxford, Godstow and Port Meadow
Sparsholt - The Ridgeway - Uffington Castle - Sparsholt
Ecchinswell - Nuthanger Farm and Watership Down - Ecchinswell
Amesbury - Stonehenge
Weston Subedge - Dover's Hill - Weston Subedge
Brailes - Cherington - Brailes
Broadway - Chipping Campden via Cotswold Way
Shenington - Tysoe - Epwell
Buckland - Great Brockhampton - Stanton -Laverton - Buckland
Snowshill - Stanway - Stanton - Snowshill
Broughton - Lower Tadmarton
Giant's Cave Circular
Temple Guiting - Cutsdean - Beckbury Monument - Temple Guiting
Banbury Town and Canal Walk
South Newington - Wigginton
Bodicote - Twyford Wharf - Bodicote
Great Tew - Ledwell - Little Tew
Lower Middleton Cheney - Farthinghoe - Thenford
Bourton-on-the-Water - Lower Slaughter
Church Westcote - Nether Westcote - Icombe
King's Sutton - Charlton - Aynho - King's Sutton
Nell Bridge Wharf - Clifton - Deddington
Duns Tew - Middle Barton - Ledwell - Duns Tew
Charlton - King's Sutton
North Aston - Middle Aston - Somerton
Burford - Widford
Caulcott - Upper Heyford - Lower Heyford - Northbrook
Stoke Lyne - Bainton
Bibury and Leachbrook Covert
Bibury and Coln St Aldwyns - Circular
Bampton - Rushey Lock - Bampton
Cricklade to Lechlade via The Thames Path
Bishopstone - Ashbury - Ashdown Park - Ridgeway
Dorchester - Long Wittenham - Wittenham Clumps Circular
Shillingford Bridge Hotel - Brightwell-cum-Sotwell
St Birinus Part 3 Long Version: Wallingford - Brightwell
Barbury Castle - The Ridgeway - Rockley - Barbury Castle
East Ilsley - The Ridgeway - Compton - Circular
Chaddleworth (West Berks) - Four Churches and Three Pubs - Circular
Thurle Down (Streatley) - Aldworth - Thurle Down
Ramsbury, Chilton Foliat and the Kennet Valley
Avebury - West Kennet - Silbury Hill - Avebury
Avebury, East Kennett and the Ridgeway - Circular
Hungerford - Kennet and Avon Canal - Bagshot - Hungerford
Kintbury - Hamstead Marshall - Kennet & Avon Canal Circular
Around Bradfield and Stanford Dingley
Wootton Rivers and Martinsell Hill
Newbury - Speen Moor - Marsh Benham - Enborne
Upper Woolhampton - Kiff Green - Beenham - Upper Woolhampton
Figheldean - Brigmerston - Around the Downs
Winterbourne Dauntsey - Figsbury Ring
Totford, in the Candover Valley - Circular

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