As part of my recovery from Plantar fasciitis I have decided to walk the Ridgeway, west to east, from Wiltshire into Oxfordshire, over one week in May. The trail has been called the oldest road in Britain, or even Europe for that matter, but that is probably pushing it a little. Certainly it is a route travelled by Neolithic and Bronze Age people who in addition to trade, also took their time to build monuments and bury their dead. Ancient ditches, earth embankments, Iron Age forts litter the way across the North Wessex Downs and Chiltern Hills. I am very much looking forward to my week.
I have been struggling in my recovery from injury. Plantar fasciitis and associated arthritis having severely reduced my capability over the past fourteen months. I have doubts that I will ever again reach my twenty and twenty five mile days I was knocking out only a couple of years ago. Once I had been properly diagnosed and bespoke orthotics created. I began a series of exercises and stretches, combined with some long term lifestyle changes. I then undertook the (full) 153 mile North Downs Way and 150 mile London LOOP as a series of day walks as part of my recovery, only having some thirty miles of the former still to complete. I have steadily increased my daily distance from six to eight to ten, then twelve miles. More recently there have been a couple of fourteen and sixteen mile days, with not TOO much pain. It is now time to see what I can manage over a week, hence the Ridgeway.
The Ridgeway stretches 87 miles (139km) to Ivinghoe Beacon , but for some reason it starts in a car park at Overton Hill, which makes no sense at all. So I will start a little further back, at Avebury, thereby adding another couple of miles to the total. Easily worth it to include and explore the huge stone circle, ditches and embankments that encircle the village.
So, planning is under way. There is a degree of information online, including the National Trails website. Though to be honest, I haven’t found much of interest or real help. The handful of publications I purchased, shown above, are more than enough to enable a bit of planning for my six day walk. I will be camping the whole way, other than one night in the YHA Hostel at Streatley. Beyond that, I need to sort out the gear I am taking, meals etc. I will follow this post up with a couple more over the next few weeks as these decisions get firmed up.