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Wayland’s Smithy (3590 BC): Hiking the Ridgeway

The ancient trackway following the high ridge of the hills, from which the name ‘Ridgeway’ stems, spans 85 miles from Buckinghamshire through to Wiltshire and is rich with history and stories of the last 5,000 years. Used by armies in the early medieval period, farmers in the centuries following the Norman invasion, and travellers throughout history, the route is littered with ancient sites, illustrating its importance across the centuries.

Photograph: Eliza Ader, 2021

Eliza Ader and Genista Astell are walking the Ridgeway Trail in sections as Covid-19 UK national lockdown restrictions allow. Now a National Trail, this ancient trackway remains a well-trodden route full of stories and sites to explore. Over time, they are building an interactive heritage map on The Earth Museum. Their first instalment published here begins with the Wayland’s Smithy – a Neolithic long barrow dating to 3590 BC.

Hike through England’s ancient history, along Britain’s oldest road, to delve into its history with Eliza and Genista as your guides; taking you on a tour of the landmarks along the track bringing the sites to life.

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