Saturday 23 February 2013

Walk around Uffington Castle and the White Horse, Oxfordshire

The National Trust car park on Woolstone Hill is a good starting point for a fun and scenic family walk around the iron age hill fort of Uffington Castle and the nearby White Horse. Head south on the minor road and the subsequent track that climbs up to The Ridgeway, the historic trail that runs along the dramatic chalk ridges of the Berkshire Downs. The treeless land up here at about 250 metres altitude can be bleak in winter, but it offers sweeping 360 degree views across rolling countryside. On a Saturday, you may spot red jackets, flagging a hunt galloping across the fields below. Kids will enjoy running along the mounds of earth that defended the hill fort. If you head north east across Uffington Castle, you will soon be standing at the head of the White Horse - an equally ancient stencil of a giant horse marked out in the white chalk of the hillside. Rather than descending north down the steep hill, you can extend the walk a little by heading east for half-a-mile until you come to a path that leads down past a small wood and the campsite of Britchcombe Farm. When you get to the road, head back west and then take the minor road, or one of the nearby footpaths, back up past Dragon Hill, the White Horse and Uffington Castle, towards the car park. All in all, this scenic stroll through ancient history is probably less than three miles - ideal for young children. 8/10