Bishop Stone walk
Over the years I have walked many stretches of The Ridgeway. One day I might do the whole thing in a go, but in reality picking it off bit by bit is a rather nice way of doing it. This walk is 10.12km or 6.2miles and involves a steady climb up to the Ridgeway through some lovely narrow valleys and then another steady descent to Ashbury for a return via Idstone.
Distance: 10.12km / 6.2 miles
Total Climb: 145m
Walked: Early October 2018
Meet at the car park of the Royal oak in Bishop Stone. From the front of the pub turn left and walk through the village, at the crossroads go straight over following the footpath well signposted towards the Ridgeway.
If you’re not in a hurry right by the primary school at your find a lovely little duckpond.
The footpath continues between the back gardens and is a delightful little alleyway with lovely planting and thatched cottages. Short way along the pathway divides take the left turn coming up some steps it’s well signposted towards the Ridgeway.
You will pop out onto the road where you turn right following the road itself for short way.
You will soon find another signpost taking you off to the right down a track way it’s signposted Ridgeway circular walk. You then continue down the track way along the beautiful valley in the direction of the Ridgeway.
The trackway soon becomes a pathway which opens up into the valley via a gate continue following the obvious footpath through the fields and enjoy the scenery.
The valley opens out and you get to see you can take in the stepped fields that climb up towards the Ridgeway. Go throug several gates and then follow the valley which veers to the left - don’t go over the tempting old style to the right.
Has the valley narrows it turns to the right go through the gate brackets it was open for me) and then continue the climb is still to come.
At the top of the valley it opens up and not too far away your find the Ridgeway. Turn left. It’s signposted Ridgeway circular walk. Don’t follow the bridleway that heads off to the right.
The route now follows the Ridgeway for over 3 km. It is in affect the highway for hikers carved out of the chalk running across the top of the hills. Watch out before mountain bikers and horses.
Past Ridgeway farm and it’s crossroads. Take a deep breath if the pigs are out!
Watch out for views of Ashdown house off to the right and the cost down into the Vale of White horse to the left including the Watchfield wind turbines Faringdon folly and Shrivenham
The Ridgeway slowly will sounds a bit more of a footpath rather than a roadway. You’ll soon find a signpost for the spec Valley and the permissive footpath which could take you on a shorter route back to Bishop Stone, continue on the Ridgeway past them.
Another half a kilometre long and your find another set of crossroads and farm buildings. You could choose to turn left and it’s on the hill to Idstone. There is also some drinking water here. For this route though continue straight on the Ridgeway.
Next object of interest is a signpost to the Rosen Crown Inn, you could turn left here and cut the route a little short. But my plan is to continue on following the Ridgeway little further.
Cross the Ashbury Hill Road and it’s carpark sticking with the Ridgeway a little further. Look out for the Ashbury folly. Not that I can find it.
500 m along before you cross a long tree line your find a signpost on the footpath to the left that takes you across some open field take a left it’s time to go downhill.
As you cross the field path does a little dog like before you get to a friends and go through a gate into another field.
The pathway follows the fence to the left down to the V of the valley and then follows the V all way Down to the village.
At the bottom of the valley there is a gate, another field, then some allotments and the pathway runs to the left of those.
Cross the road. The footpath picks up a little bit to the right the other side and continues across some overgrown common land.
The path continues into a thicket, with quite a drop to the right into a little Valley. Careful.
You come out at a little pond and then a hard surface to footpath goes to the left taking you back into the village.
The path brings you out onto the main road cross straight over and follow Chapel Lane.
Where Chapel Lane turns left with its pretty thatched cottages continue straight on on to Berrycroft.
Staying in a straight line take the trackway that goes past Kings close East cottage. The pathway continues to the right of the cottages and then a hedged field (going to go into the field!) The alleyway brings you to a kissing gate and once more out into open countryside.
Continue in a straight line in the direction back to Idstone and Bishop Stone.
At the end of the field descend down to Lidl trackway cross that pick up the footpath the other side which again crosses fields.
The footpath descends down to a bridge over the stream which looks really rather rickety! Then returns to the field just outside idstone where we then cross Featherbed Lane. you go through some farm buildings and a gate and have picked up the Ridgeway circular path signs again.
Cross the style and your back into fields in open countryside again.
Pathway follows to the right of the next field. Turning a little to the north
Eventually you go through another gate in the corner of the field cross the bridge through another gate and continue this time to the right of the hedge Until you find another gate ( fighting the nettles ) into a tree lined Lane. Which takes you back to Bishop Stone.
At the end of the lane cross the road and find a style into a field which is a permissive path further into the village. Cross the next stile or maybe go through the gate if you can. Turn to the right and then take the first left to follow along the narrow lane, so be careful, it will take you back to the pub