THE WESSEX RIDGEWAY: From the Stones to the Wheel – Avebury to Devizes

Monday 9 September. Left Talbothays, travelled via the bookshop in Marlborough where we bought “Dig, dig, digging” and arrived at a peaceful home in Trusloe, Avebury. Incense, affirmations and crystals added to the energy inherent in this landscape. The Neolithic stone circle is the world’s largest and the Dalai Lama, is said to have declared Avebury “the most sacred place in Britain”.

Tuesday 10 September. Felt connected to the source of our ancestors as I strode along The Wessex Ridgeway today. Left the sheep gently grazing by the sacred stones and meditated on the legend of King Sil supposedly buried in his gold armour and mounted on his horse under the mist shrouded mound.

I passed the Adam and Eve standing stones which appeared to have wandered off from the others and soon crossed the busy A4 and found myself back in open country.

Tumulus and earthworks littered the way as I passed along to Cherhill and the Iron Age hill fort of Oldbury. I passed only one dog walker and it was to be a while before any more human contact. Instead I was accompanied by the peewit of a distant lapwing; sheep,cattle and two young roe deer who ran straight across my path. The landscape was wide, open and clear. I followed the line of the ramparts and took in the views of the dips and rises, hollows and bends of the Wiltshire countryside. Eventually the path descended and I moved on in history to follow an old Roman road.

Another climb followed with views back towards the hillfort on one side and banks of the last wildflowers if summer on the other. Still emptiness, quietness and the feeling of connection to an ancient trackway. I passed the great Anglo Saxon earthwork if Wansdyke and heard a shout of “nice shot,Matty”. All of a sudden I was jolted back into the 21st century and a golf course.

After sitting a while and watching the entertainment whilst I ate my banana I went on my way and was soon back away from the modern world. I followed a path across the large fields and flatlands if the plain – a place where the King’s troops met the Parliamentary forces in battle in 1643. Hedges then closed in around me as again I wandered completely alone – save for one local in a digger clearing a ditch.

The picturesque hill fort Oliver’s castle was my next stopping point. A far ranging view to enjoy whilst I ate my lunch. Dogs started to arrive on the scene, with their owners as I began the last haul down towards Devizes. A surprisingly interesting town set alongside the Kennet and Avon canal.

11 miles (13 miles including detours and walk to accommodation)

OS Map 157

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