The Ridgeway is an ancient path that takes you from the Thames at Goring into the chalk downlands of Wessex finishing at the stone circles of Avebury. The modern Ridgeway National Trail extends this old way east up to Hertfordshire, but only the western section is accessible to bicycles. It was this section we decided to do.

I took my bike on the train from Lancaster to Oxford. This cost me the bargain sum of £32 including seat reservations and bike reservations both ways. But I had to book it a month in advance and I had to travel on that train or pay full fare.

From Oxford station I pedalled round the town a couple of times until I found my way onto the river and headed south past Abingdon and on to Caroline's house at Didcot. After watching the frogs in her pond and having dinner on the grass, we fixed up her new tyres ready for the ride.

The next day we hit the road to Wallingford and then along the Thames to Goring and the start of the Ridgeway proper. From there it was all off-road up to Mrs Reid's farm near Uffington, after 33 miles.

After breakfast at the farm we set off and explored the ancient monuments on this section of the track. The afternoon brought a long descent down to The Sanctuary at the official end of the Ridgeway, and then we went on to Avebury and our pub B+B a mile out of the village. That day we covered 30 miles.

Finally we went our separate ways, Caroline headed back to Didcot on the quieter roads, and I took the National Cycle Trail to my sister's house in Chippenham, another 20 miles on tracks and lanes through little villages and fields.

All photographs are © Barry Rowlingson 2006 and are not to be used without permission.

Day 1