Our B&B hostess treated us to a savory vegetarian English breakfast…fuel for the miles to come. Afterwards we visited the Sanctuary, a prehistoric site on Overton Hill. The site consists of six concentric rings of timbers erected around 3000 BC. In 1930, excavators found 162 postholes, some with double posts. It is believed that he timbers may have supported a roof of turf or thatch and had been a ritual site or mortuary house where corpses were kept. There are also two concentric stone circles. To the right is an interpretation of what the Sanctuary might have looked like (taken from an information panel.)
Across the street from the Sanctuary is the start of the Ridgway Path. Most of the path is packed earth, sometimes grassed-over, and the walking is easy. (After working out the kinks, I managed to develop a good pace in spite of my injured foot, and without a heavy pack)
We walked along one of the most important geological areas in England, the Fyfield Downs with its dry valleys and sarsen stones.(sandstone blocks). People have lived and worked in this area for more than 7000 years.
We passed the Berwick Bassett Dewpond, with its lovely flowers and dragonflies. In the area are a series of dewponds which form “a necklace across the downs”. These ponds attract wild flower, insects, and are habitat havens for wildlife. This one is enclosed to prevent cattle from destroying it.
We were running low on water and looking forward to getting to Barbury Castle. After we passed the area for the Barbary Castle Horse trials with all the jumping gates, we could see impressions in the earth and a flat top hill–Barbary Castle, an iron age hill fort. All that is left of the 11 acre fort are two deep defensive ditches and rampart. The Ridgway runs through Barbury Castle. The panorama from the top, made the steep climb worth the effort.
It was a gentle descent to the valley of Og and to the town of Ogbourne St. George. As we walked to the bus stop, the bus arrived. We could not have asked for better timing.
In all, we walked about 15 miles. Tomorrow we will do the same, but with packs.