The Uffington Walk - Archaeology in the Vale of the White Horse

Walking along a section of the Ridgeway, Oxfordshire - photo courtesy of Andrew Boden
Walking along a section of the Ridgeway, Oxfordshire - photo courtesy of Andrew Boden
Wayland's Smithy Neolithic long barrow - photo courtesy of Dave S.
Wayland's Smithy Neolithic long barrow - photo courtesy of Dave S.
  • Expert archaeologist to explain some first-class sites along the Ridgeway, from the Neolithic to the Iron Age
  • The mysteries of the White Horse - huge, enigmatic Bronze Age carving leaping dramatically from the Chalk downland hills
  • The romance of Wayland’s Smithy, an atmospheric Neolithic tomb

 

This is a fine walk across the classic, rolling downland of Oxfordshire, including a stretch of the Ridgeway, the great hilltop track and Britain’s oldest road, originally connecting the Dorset coast with The Wash in East Anglia.


We begin with Uffington Castle, a hillfort (near Dragon Hill) with origins in the 7th Century BC but rebuilt in the Iron Age and the site of a later Roman shrine. Nearby is the great chalk figure of the famous White Horse, carved into the hillside and visible from a great distance – and in fact more intelligible and beautiful seen from a distance than close-to. Its origins are uncertain -the figure has been remarked on by writers and travellers for centuries, and excavations in 1994 confirmed its antiquity, producing dates ranging from 1400 to 600 BC. We also visit Wayland’s Smithy, a well-preserved Neolithic chambered tomb dating from around 3700 BC, and a site long associated through folklore with Wayland Smith, or the Saxon god Wolund.


A fascinating and beautiful journey - revealing the sacred and ritual places that have marked this landscape over thousands of years.

Themes

  • Prehistory

Itinerary 2017

Day 1

Meeting time/place
10:00 at the Uffington White Horse car park

End time/place
16:00 back at the White Horse car park

 

The Day
Meet ready to walk and follow a 6.5 mile circular route via the Ridgeway, including sites such as Uffington Castle (near Dragon’s Hill), the White Horse and Wayland’s Smithy to finish back at the car park around 16:00. There will be some extra walking involved in exploring the monuments.

Lunch
Pub lunch en route.

 

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Lunch - Pub lunch en route
  3. Fact Sheet - Including background information about your Guide Lecturer, historical context for the Day, detailed itinerary, a suggested reading list and directions to the venue

Reviews

Nov 16

I thought the study day was structured extremely well,it was a brilliant balence between the museum artefacts and the walking tour.personally,it was the fantastic,detailed knowledge of both Jenny and John that was presented in such a user friendly way that made my day..I learnt so much from them and it really brought Roman London to life for me.I would certainly recommend the Tour to my friends.


Guest, 2016
Nov 16

Two superb tutors who really knew what they were talking about, making the capital come alive with voices of the past, and their accessibility and friendliness.


Guest, 2016
Nov 16

We didn't realising how much Roman archaeology still exists in London, it was most interesting visiting those accessible places. I also liked the way the Museum exhibits were used to support the talk. The amphitheatre was a hidden gem, I expect many people walk above ground not knowing of its existence. On a personal level, seeing the bathhouse at Billingsgate was enlightening as it enabled us to compare it with the one we are digging on. Guides were extremely knowledgeable, they communicated well with the group highlighting fascinating information about Romans and London. Food and refreshments were very good. An orderly system which worked well for us.


Guest, 2016
Nov 1

Seeing the White horse, the Castle and the barrow in the company of a knowledgeable arachaeologist.


Guest, 2015

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What to expect 

  • An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
  • A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
  • Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
  • Small Groups 12-25 guests
  • The company of like-minded people!

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2018 Study Day Details

Sat 14th July

Available

£70

without flights

XUW18A

Led By:

Guide Lecturer

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