Avebury Ridgeway walk

Walking trail

Ranger's highlight: "This walk is great for birdwatching. If you walk down the West Kennet Avenue at dusk you stand a good chance of seeing a barn owl - look up in the day and you will be likely to see red kites riding the thermals."

Along the way

It is hard not to be impressed by the Neolithic Avebury henge when you remember it is over 4,500 years old and the chalk would have been dug out using only deer antler picks and that it was once much deeper (30ft/9m) and with steeper banks (13ft/4m). The double line of stones at West Kennet Avenue was once a ceremonial route joining the henge with a timber circle at Overton Hill. The stones at Avebury are huge, the largest weighing at least 100 tonnes, the heaviest in Britain. They are formed of a hard, grey sandstone known as sarsen, often used in building.

Stone circle and village

Map

Avebury Ridgeway walk

Start:

Avebury National Trust car park

1

From the National Trust car park follow the signs to the henge and stone circle. Turn right into the High Street, enter the stone circle via the first gate on your right and follow the curve of the huge sarsen stones and the ditch. Cross the road and head right along the fence line past the bank and trees. Go through the gate and cross the road into the West Kennet Avenue.

2

This part of the Avenue was excavated by Alexander Keiller in the 1930s. He re-erected the stones, putting markers where he found holes that once held stones that had been broken up and taken away for building.

3

At the end of the re-erected part of the Avenue, cross the road and follow the footpath straight ahead. Look out for the sole remaining stone of Falkners Circle in the hedgerow on your left. Continue on this footpath until you reach a crossroads.

4

Turn right and walk uphill along the track. As you gain height, looking across the valley, you'll be able to see the top of Silbury Hill. Stay on this track until it meets the well defined track that is the Ridgeway. The Ridgeway was set out in the 18th century when the downland was split up into fields. The use of this route along the high ground extends much further into the past.

5

Turn right for a short detour to explore Overton Hill barrow cemetery (Seven Barrows). The chalk burial mounds date from around 4,200 years ago and are called barrows. Some of the best preserved are on Overton Hill. Nineteenth-century landowners planted trees on top of some of them - you can see why they are known locally as hedgehogs. See if you can spot the grassy remains of a Roman road running across the field. Retrace your footsteps along the Ridgeway.

6

Continue along the Ridgeway until you meet the junction with Green Street. Turn left along here, heading downhill. Green Street was once the main road from Marlborough to Bath. It's also known as the Herepath, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning army road.

7

Passing through the banks of the henge, go through the gate on your right into the north-east sector of the henge. Cross the road at the gateway behind the giant Cove stones to explore the north-west part of the henge.

8

The steps down from the henge bring you into the Old Farmyard. Turn left for the footpath back to the car park, or turn right to explore the Museum, café, shop and Avebury Manor. The displays in the Alexander Keiller Museum will explain more about the archaeology you have just visited.

End:

The Old Farmyard, Avebury

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Avebury Ridgeway walk

Terrain

This walk follows hard tracks, pavements and gently sloping downs, as well as permissive open access land along rights of way, with pedestrian gates. Surfaces can be uneven, muddy, with potholes or long tussocky grass. Dogs are welcome on a lead and under control as livestock graze the fields. This route also crosses a road so please take care.

Avebury Ridgeway walk

Contact us

Call 01672 539250 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury.

If you would like this information in alternative formats, please call us on 01672 539250 or email avebury@nationaltrust.org.uk

Avebury Ridgeway walk

How to get here

Address
National Trust car park, Avebury. Grid reference: SU 09960 69654
By train

Pewsey; Swindon

By road

6 miles west of Marlborough on the A4361. Our main car park is a short walk from the stone circle and our facilities in the Old Farmyard

Parking: pay and display. National Trust and English Heritage members free. Overnight parking prohibited. Please respect the community and do not park on the village streets

SatNav: Sat Nav users please use the postcode SN8 1RD to find our main visitor car park

By foot

Ridgeway National Trail

By bus

Frequent buses pass nearby, more information can be found at www.connectingwiltshire.co.uk/plan-a-journey/tourism/travelling-to-avebury There is a £1 discount on entry for those who have travelled by bus to Avebury (please show a valid ticket or a bus pass when buying tickets).

By bicycle

NCN4 and 45

Avebury Ridgeway walk

Facilities and access

  • Pay & display parking, 500 yards from stone circle (off A4361). National Trust and English Heritage members park free. Note: parking during the Summer Solstice in late June may be limited. Arrive early to avoid crowds in busy times.
  • Overnight parking prohibited.
  • Enjoy local, seasonal food at Circles Café in the Old Farmyard and the Coach House Cafe on the High Street.
  • Toilets are open 9.30-18.00 daily. Baby-changing facilities available.
  • Picnic Area in the Old Farmyard.
  • Buy a memento of your visit at the shop, including a range of locally sourced giftware.
  • Dogs on leads are welcome across the site apart from the National Trust cafe and Avebury Manor and Garden.
  • Information trailer in car park, information panels and leaflets.
  • As part of erosion control, some parts of the henge and stone circle may be temporarily fenced off.
  • Accessibility:
  • Separate parking, 200 yards. Drop-off point
  • Museum galleries and manor are accessible with ramped entrances
  • Accessible toilets located behind Barn Gallery
  • Only parts of the stone circle are accessible due to slopes. Some cobbles and undulating terrain in the old farmyard