How I walked the Ridgeway Path

I walked the Ridgeway long distance path in April 2010. I researched the walk by using the national trail web site and subsequently speaking to the national trail office. I wondered how many people did the walk and how did they do it. I was surprised that the national trail office could not tell me this but then I was told that it would cost a lot of money to do a survey to find this out, and the money would be better spent on maintenance of the path. I also surfed the net for any blogs descibing how someone had done it, but without success. So, I have written this as a record of my achievement but also hoping that it might inspire someone else to do the walk.

I chose this walk because I live in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, and so it is my local long distance trail. I live about 10 miles from Ivinghoe Beacon. I also chose to walk it from west to east so that I finished on Ivinghoe Beacon. I think this was a good decision because Ivinghoe Beacon is a definite hill with a triangulation point on top, whereas the other end, near Ovington Hill, is by a main road with no view.

The next decision was how to do it: take a week off work and try to do it in sections as suggested on the national trail site, or not. I do not do any long distance walks, and so I was concerned that I might not be able to walk the 15 miles or so, of some of the sections, and do another 15 miles the next day. Inevitably there would have been more mileage on top of this with getting to a camp site or overnight accommodation. There did not appear to be any camp sites close to the end of each section. The accommodation would have to be booked in advance and then you are committed to walk whatever the weather. When I enquired about the price of a single room at the end of the first recommended section, I was told 55 single. So, to do it as recomended, I would have to get to Wiltshire by public transport in time to walk the first section (in daylight) and then buy a meal and stay at a bed and breakfast accommodation. I would also have to ask the accommodation to provide a packed lunch for the following day. When I worked out the cost of this, my friend, with whom I wanted to make the walk, decided it would be better to spend the money on a beach holiday abroad. I decided walking it in one week, as recommended, was not suitable for me but I wanted to do the walk in the spring of 2010. I decided to do the walk at weekends and commute by car: this worked out cheaper than evening meals and accommodation costs, and meant that I could choose to walk when the weather was good.

What happened on the actual walk

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