THE WESSEX RIDGEWAY: From the Stones to the Wheel – Introduction

I am ready and prepared to begin my walk through Ancient Wessex tomorrow.  I have called the trek “From the Stones to the Wheel” because I am beginning at the immense stone circle at Avebury that lies inside Britain’s largest henge monument and finishing at St Catherine’s Tower in Abbotsbury.  St Catherine was, of course, the martyr who in truth or legend was put to death on a traditional breaking wheel, which shattered at her touch.  The origin of our present day Catherine Wheel firework.

Much of my walk will be along the Wessex Ridgeway and I am promised long sections of airy walking over high ground with wide vistas and views.  However, I also understand that it is somewhat of a switchback walk – as each height is gained I reach a peak and then walk down and climb back up again…………….. a challenging form of walking, but certainly I shouldn’t be bored!   I will walk across the Marlborough Downs, the edge of Salisbury Plain,  and along the forgotten byways and hills of North Dorset.  Eventually I will reach Cerne Abbas with its symbolic giant (newly chalked I understand).  Here I will be joined by my son and he will walk the final two days of this my sixtieth birthday celebration walk south with me down to Dorchester and on to the coastal village of Abbotsbury.

I am guessing I will cover about 135 miles or so across this chalk downland and through some of the best-preserved landscape in the south of England.  It is also a landscape rich in archaeological sites and literary associations – this is the heart both of the ancient kingdom of Wessex and my beloved Hardy country.   An Index of Posts as I complete my walk can be found :  here

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear…
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing.

Make sure, before you go,
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you towards
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life;
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

JOHN O’DONOHUE

 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Walklizard says:

    Fab!!

    Like

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