The western (rideable) section of The Ridgeway

Submitted by: Rafe
Start: Overton Hill
Finish: Streatley
Direction: East or West
Distance: 70 Km
Rating: Medium
Description: This is the entire western section of The Ridgeway. Although The Ridgeway continues for many miles to the east, this section is largely footpath and therefore not rideable.
Route: View on map
Download: GPX file (right-click and select “Save Target As…” or “Save Link As…”)
Profile: The Ridgeway Elevation Profile
Notes: This section of The Ridgeway is largely made up of byways and restricted byways. It is signposted but it does get a bit confusing in places, mainly on the few (very short) road sections. I’ve had to confirm to more than a few people over the years that they’re still on the right path!

Over time various sections have taken on different purposes – leisure, farming, roads – and so The Ridgeway varies enormously along its length. Near the main points of interest and larger car parks (e.g. the hill forts) you’ll find lots of families and walkers, but away from these it can be very quiet. Some sections are still used for farm access and the use of recreational vehicles is still permitted in places.

I’d call it “undulating” – none of the hills are massive but it’s certainly not flat, see the profile above for a better idea.

The surface varies enormously from smooth, fast compacted gravel or tarmac scalpings to chalk to grass/mud. The chalk is lethal in the winter – like riding on a polished granite floor covered in toothpaste. Being very exposed it tends to dry out fairly quickly but that also means it can get quite chilly up there even when the sun is out.

Outside of the wet winter months it’s not technical terrain except for where it gets rutty. Though the really deep ruts are largely gone these days there are still plenty of ruts about so take care.

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