Saturday, 21 February 2009

Rambling - Barbury Castle and Smeathe's Ridge

A group of walkers setting off along Smeathe's Ridge today
The Northeast Wiltshire Group of the Ramblers meet in Swindon on Saturdays and Sundays and car share to the start of the walk. The walks are usually around the Marlborough Downs taking in the spectacular views, though they often go further a field.
This morning was just so lovely - the first spring-like day of the year. So I was off for a ramble - car-shared up to Barbury Castle. I didn't know (it was pointed out to me this morning) that the left-hand hillside leading up to Barbury Castle is an Iron Age field system and in the morning shadows it was very apparent today. I couldn't get a decent photo as there were some horse riders using the very narrow road as well, so we couldn't stop. Smeathe's Ridge was just stunning in the morning sunlight, the views are spectacular but it was the sheep running down the hill in single file that pleased me to watch. Just past Liddington the Ridgeway splits in two - the Ridgeway path follows Smeathe's Ridge which is the highest ground and is absolutely beautiful. The Old Ridgeway along this section is lower down and has been tarmaced - it is used a lot by motor cyclists and other vehicles, we came back along this section. If you are walking the Ridgeway along Smeathe's Ridge you will need to walk through or around Barbury Castle and come down the west side hill - the old Ridgeway leading to Avebury is at the bottom of the hill.
For more information about the Ramblers see