The Oxfordshire town of Wantage is in a great location for exploring a lovely section of the Ridgeway. There's fine views over the Berkshire Downs from the high points on the trail.
This walk takes you from the town onto the Ridgeway, visiting the Wantage Monument and Cuckhamsley Hill to the south east of the town.
Starting in the town you head east along a footpath to Lockinge. Here you turn south to climb onto the Ridgeway at Middlehill Down. Near here you will pass the memorial cross and monument to Robert Loyd Lindsey, Lord Wantage. Lord Wantage was a distinguished soldier and one of the first to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the Crimean War. The copses of trees in the vale below were planted by Lord Wantage and are believed to represent the battle lines at Alma. There's fine views over the Vale from here.
To extend the walk you can head west along the trail and visit the nearby Segsbury Camp. The periodic occupation of the hill fort between the 6th and 2nd centuries BC suggests that it was a communal centre for various activities, including sheep management and exchange.
Continuing west will take you to another of the highlights of the area at the Uffington White Horse. The area is historically significant with the 3000 year old prehistoric hill figure and an Iron Age hillfort located close together. The castle sits at a height of 860 feet (262m) above sea level making it the highest point in Oxfordshire.
Near here you can also visit the fascinating Wayland's Smithy. The Neolithic long barrow dates from 3460–3400 BC and includes a burial chamber consisting of a narrow and partially constricted passage, leading to a pair of small side chambers. The site is located close to the Ashdown House Estate. The National Trust owned estate has nice woodland walks and attractive grounds.
Wantage Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Wantage Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Wantage OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Wantage Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Just to the east you'll find the interesting village of Chilton. Near here you can pick up the epic Ridgeway National Trail, one of the walking highlights of the area.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Oxfordshire Walks page.