There’s a lot of good (quite easy) walking is to be had around Wantage. The thread that seems to connect much of it is the Ridgeway National Trail. Because it is so near, you can pop out for an hour during your lunchbreak, try a day’s walking, a weekend trek, or maybe be a more ambitious and walk the whole trail. Think about using the Court Hill Centre as a base.
The Ridgeway is an ancient track, 87 miles (139km) long, much of it following the ancient chalk ridge route used by prehistoric man. It offers the chance to get away from the bustle of life. There are various places near to Wantage where you can park and go for a walk or bicyle ride. The Court Hill Centre is made from several converted barns and a great place for teas and coffees after your walk.
THE COURTHILL CENTRE
The Court Hill Centre is set in the beautiful countryside of the Thames Valley and Berkshire Downs. The buildings are made from 5 renovated barns arranged around a pleasant courtyard, providing a unique facility for exploring the Ridgeway (a National Trail). Whatever your interests – walking, cycling, photography, teaching, games or camping, the centre provides a range of facilities including catering and accommodation.
LORD WANTAGE MONUMENT
Situated on the Ridgeway, just off the B4494, is 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.
Lord Wantage was one of the founders of the British Red Cross. The memorial is located high on the Ridgeway, commanding superb views of the Vale.
SARCEN BLOWING STONE
Situated south of Kingston Lisle, local legend has it that it was used by King Alfred to summon his troops to battle.
Uffington Castle sits on the very top of White Horse Hill, just by the White Horse itself. Known as an ‘Iron Age Hillfort,’ recent excavations have shown that, like the horse and nearby settlements on Ram’s Hill (Uffington) and Tower Hill (Ashbury), it was originally constructed in the late Bronze Age, probably in the eighth or seventh century bc.
Like White Horse Hill, its a great place for walking to, picnicking on, morris dancing and kite flying.
Wayland’s Smithy is one of the most impressive and atmospheric Neolithic burial chambers in Britain. Somehow this ancient grave became associated with Wayland, the Saxon god of metalworking, from whom it takes its name.
You get there on foot from The Ridgeway.
WHITE HORSE HILL
The stylised form of the White Horse, an icon of the English landscape, has been a subject of discussion since the 17th century. Written records date back to the 12th century but do not give proof of the Horse’s age or why it was there.
Recent tests on soil samples from the base of the trench have shown that the Horse is much older than had been thought and is in fact about 3000 years old (late Bronze-Age).