Sparsholt - The Ridgeway - The Letcombes - Sparsholt

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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 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! This section is shared with Walk 4670. 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.

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 Additional Infornation.

Near the highest point of this walk is the Iron Age barrow at Hackpen Hill and close to that is the impressive and attractive topography of Crowhole Bottom, which is very popular with birdwatchers. The walk descends from the Ridgeway through the villages of Letcombe Bassett and Letcombe Regis. There are interesting churches in both villages and the route passes some attractive old buildings. You then follow paths back across the Vale of the White Horse, through Childrey, then a quiet road completes the route back to Sparsholt.

There are two pubs en route, one in Letcombe Regis and one in Childrey; perhaps more importantly, there is a third pub at the finish point in Sparsholt.

England - Central England - Oxfordshire - Ridgeway

Features

Birds, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Pub, Wildlife, Woodland

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