Tring is a small market town and civil parish in the Borough of Dacorum, England. It is situated in a gap passing through the Chiltern Hills, classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 30 miles north-west of London, linked to London by the old Roman road of Akeman Street, by the modern A41, by the Grand Union Canal and by the West Coast Main Line to London Euston; as of 2013 Tring has a population of 11,730. Settlements in Tring date back to prehistoric times and it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Tring received its market town charter in 1315. Tring is now a commuter town within the London commuter belt, residents drive or cycle to the nearby Tring railway station; the name Tring is believed to derive from Trehangr. Tre', meaning'tree' and with the suffix'ing' implying'a slope where trees grow'. There is evidence of prehistoric settlement with Iron Age barrows and defensive embankments adjacent to the Ridgeway Path, later Saxon burials; the town straddles. Tring was the dominant settlement in the area, being the primary settlement in the Hundred of Tring at the time of the Domesday Book.
Tring had a large population and paid a large amount of tax relative to most settlements listed in the Domesday Book. The Manor of Treunga is described in the Domesday Book, it was assigned to Count Eustace II of Boulogne by William the Conqueror. In 1315 the town was granted a market charter by Edward II; this charter gave Faversham Abbey the right to hold weekly markets on Tuesdays, a ten-day fair starting on 29 June, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. It prevented the creation of any rival markets within a day's travel of the town; the tower of the Church of St Peter and St Paul was built somewhere in between 1360 and 1400. Until 1440, there was a small village east of Tring called Pendley; the landowner Sir Robert Whittingham received a grant of free warren from King Henry VI. He enclosed 200 acres and tore down the buildings on the land, returning the estate to pasture, built a manor house, Pendley Manor; this house was variously inhabited by the Verney and Harcourt families until the mid-19th century.
The mansion of Tring Park was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was built in 1682 for the owner Henry Guy, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Charles II. John Washington, the son of the Reverend Lawrence Washington and Amphyllis Twigden, was born and brought up in Tring. In 1656 he left Tring to go on a trading voyage to Virginia, but after a shipwreck on the Potomac River he remained in Virginia and started a family which included his great grandson, George Washington, the first President of the United States; the town's prosperity was improved at the start of the 19th century by the construction nearby of the Grand Junction Canal, soon afterwards in 1835 the London and Birmingham Railway. Industries which benefited included flour milling, silk weaving, lace-making and straw plaiting. In 1835, the medieval Pendley Manor was destroyed by fire. A local landowner, Joseph Grout Williams, commissioned a new manor house to be built in Jacobean Revival style, this building still stands today on Station Road.
In 1836 Thomas Butcher, a wholesale seed and corn merchant, his son called Thomas, established a private bank, Thomas Butcher & Son in Tring High Street. The business was subsequently run by Thomas's grandsons and George, was known locally as Tring Old Bank. By 1900 it had branches in Aylesbury and Berkhamsted. From this time it became the subject of successive bank consolidations becoming a branch of the National Westminster Bank, the last to be represented in the town. In the late 19th century the estate became the home of the Rothschild family, whose influence on the town was considerable. Nathan Mayer Rothschild's son Lionel Walter Rothschild built a private zoological museum in Tring; this housed the largest collection of stuffed animals worldwide. As the Natural History Museum at Tring, it has been part of the Natural History Museum, London since 1937. In April 2007 the museum changed its name to the Natural History Museum at Tring in order to make people more aware of the museum's link to London's Natural History Museum.
In 1902 the 2nd Lord Rothschild released the edible dormouse into Tring Park. He used to ride around the town in a carriage drawn by zebras. In the town centre of Tring there is a pavement maze in the shape of a Zebra's head in order to remember the link that Tring has to the Rothschild family; the former livestock market in Tring, redeveloped in 2005, was believed to be the last remaining example of its type in the UK. It is now the home of a fortnightly Saturday farmers' market; some of the former livestock pens have been retained. The old livestock market office is now the home of the Tring Local History Museum, which opened in September 2010. In 2008 Tring became a Transition Town with the support of Tring Town Council. Tring is run by Tring Town Council; the current composition of the Council is: 8 Liberal Democrats, 3 Conservatives, 1 Independent. Tring contains three wards: Tring East and Tring West and Rural. For elections to Dacorum Borough Council Tring Central elects three members and Tring East and Tring West and Rural each elect one member.
On Hertfordshire County Council Tring is represented with one seat held by the Liberal Democrats. Tring is part of the South West Hertfordshire Parliament constituency represented by the Conservative David Gauke. Tring is part of the East of England constituency, which el
Swindon is a large town in Wiltshire, South West England, situated between Bristol, 35 miles to its west, Reading, the same distance to its east. The town is 71 miles west of London. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 182,441; the Town Development Act 1952 led to a major increase in its population. Swindon railway station is on the line from London Paddington to Bristol. Swindon Borough Council is a unitary authority, independent of Wiltshire Council since 1997. Residents of Swindon are known as Swindonians. Swindon is home to the Bodleian Library's book depository, the English Heritage National Monument Record Centre, the headquarters of the National Trust, on the site of the former Great Western Railway works, the Nationwide Building Society, a Honda car manufacturing plant; the original Anglo-Saxon settlement of Swindon sat in a defensible position atop a limestone hill. It is referred to in the Domesday Book as Suindune, believed to be derived from the Old English words "swine" and "dun" meaning "pig hill" or Sweyn's hill, Sweyn being derived from the German word „Schwein“, meaning pig.
Before the Battle of Hastings the Swindon estate was owned by an Anglo-Saxon thane called Leofgeat. After the Norman Conquest Swindon was given to Wadard, a knight in the service of Odo of Bayeux, brother of the king; the Goddard family were lord of the manor for many generations, living at the manor house, sometimes known as The Lawn. Swindon was a small market town for barter trade, until 1848; this original market area is on top of the hill in central Swindon, now known as Old Town. The Industrial Revolution was responsible for an acceleration of Swindon's growth, it started with the construction of the Wilts and Berks Canal in 1810 and the North Wilts Canal in 1819. The canals brought trade to the area and Swindon's population started to grow. Between 1841 and 1842, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Swindon Works was built for the repair and maintenance of locomotives on the Great Western Railway; the GWR built a small railway village to house some of its workers. The Steam Railway Museum and English Heritage, including the English Heritage Archive, now occupy part of the old works.
In the village were the GWR Medical Fund Clinic at Park House and its hospital, both on Faringdon Road, the 1892 health centre in Milton Road, which housed clinics, a pharmacy, baths, Turkish baths and swimming pools, was opposite. From 1871, GWR workers had a small amount deducted from their weekly pay and put into a healthcare fund. In 1878 the fund began providing artificial limbs made by craftsmen from the carriage and wagon works, nine years opened its first dental surgery. In his first few months in post the dentist extracted more than 2,000 teeth. From the opening in 1892 of the health centre, a doctor could prescribe a haircut or a bath; the cradle-to-grave extent of this service was used as a blueprint for the NHS. The Mechanics' Institute, formed in 1844, moved into a building that looked rather like a church and included a covered market, on 1 May 1855; the New Swindon Improvement Company, a co-operative, raised the funds for this programme of self-improvement and paid the GWR £40 a year for its new home on a site at the heart of the railway village.
It was a groundbreaking organisation that transformed the railway's workforce into some of the country's best-educated manual workers. The Mechanics' Institute had the UK's first lending library, a range of improving lectures, access to a theatre and various other activities, such as ambulance classes and xylophone lessons. A former institute secretary formed the New Swindon Co-operative Society in 1853 which, after a schism in the society's membership, spawned the New Swindon Industrial Society, which ran a retail business from a stall in the market at the institute; the institute nurtured pioneering trades unionists and encouraged local democracy. When tuberculosis hit the new town, the Mechanics' Institute persuaded the industrial pioneers of North Wiltshire to agree that the railway's former employees should continue to receive medical attention from the doctors of the GWR Medical Society Fund, which the institute had played a role in establishing and funding. Swindon's'other' railway, the Swindon and Andover Railway, merged with the Swindon and Cheltenham Extension Railway to form the Midland & South Western Junction Railway, which set out to join the London & South Western Railway with the Midland Railway at Cheltenham.
The Swindon, Marlborough & Andover had planned to tunnel under the hill on which Swindon's Old Town stands but the money ran out and the railway ran into Swindon Town railway station, off Devizes Road in the Old Town, skirting the new town to the west, intersecting with the GWR at Rushey Platt and heading north for Cirencester and the LMS, whose'Midland Red' livery the M&SWJR adopted. During the second half of the 19th century, Swindon New Town grew around the main line between London and Bristol. In 1900, the original market town, Old Swindon, merged with its new neighbour at the bottom of the hill to become a single town. On 1 July 1923, the GWR took over the single-track M&SWJR and the line northwards from Swindon Town was diverted to Swindon Junction station, leaving the Town station with only the line south to Andover and Salisbury; the last passenger trains on what had been the SM&A ran on 10 September 1961, 80 years after the railway's first stretch opened. During the first half of the 20th century, the railway works was the town's largest employer and one of the biggest in the country, employing more than 14,500 workers.
Alfred Williams wrote about his
Droving is the practice of moving livestock over long distances by walking them "on the hoof". Droving stock to market on foot and with the aid of dogs, has a long history in the Old World. There has been droving. Romans are said to have had their flocks following their armies to feed their soldiers. An individual owner of livestock cannot both take care of animals on his farm and take other stock on a long journey to market. So the owner might entrust this stock to an agent a drover, who will deliver the stock to market and bring back the proceeds. Drovers took their herds and flocks down traditional routes with organised sites for overnight shelter and fodder for men and for animals; the journey might last from a few days to months. The animals had to be driven. There would have to be prior agreement for payment for stock lost; until provincial banking developed, a drover returning to base would be carrying substantial sums of money. Being in a position of great trust, the drover might carry to the market town money to be banked and important letters and take with them people not familiar with the road.
Drovers might take the stock no more than a part of their journey because stock might be sold at intervening markets to other drovers. The new drovers would finish the delivery. Cattle drives were an important feature of the settlement of both the western United States and of Australia. In 1866, cattle drives in the United States moved 20 million head of cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas. In Australasia long distance drives of sheep took place. In these countries these drives covered great distances, with drovers on horseback, supported by wagons or packhorses. Drives continued. In some circumstances driving large herds long distances remains economic. Drovers' roads were much wider without any form of paving; the droving routes which still exist in Wales avoided settlements in order to save front gardens and consequential expense. A weekly cattle market was founded midway between North Wales and London in Newent, Gloucestershire in 1253. In an Ordinance for the cleansing of Smythfelde dated 1372 it was agreed by the "dealers and drovers" to pay a charge per head of horse, ox, sheep or swine.
Henry V brought about a lasting boom in droving in the early fifteenth century when he ordered as many cattle as possible be sent to the Cinque Ports to provision his armies in France. An act passed by Edward VI to safeguard his subject's herds and money required drovers, from the mid-sixteenth century, to be approved and licensed by the district court or Quarter Sessions there proving they were of good character, married and over 30 years of age. Considerable expertise meant that flocks averaging 1,500 to 2,000 head of sheep travelled 20 to 25 days from Wales to London yet lost less than four per cent of their body weight. Obliged to trek much further than from Wales Scottish drovers would buy the cattle outright and drive them to London, it has been estimated that by the end of the 18th century around 100,000 cattle and 750,000 sheep arrived each year at London's Smithfield market from the surrounding countryside. Railways brought an end to most droving around the middle of the 19th century.
Turkeys and geese for slaughter were driven to London's market in droves of 300 to 1,000 birds. In the 18th century English graziers of Craven Highlands, West Riding of Yorkshire, went as far as Scotland to purchase cattle stock, thence to be brought down the drove roads to their cattle-rearing district. In the summer of 1745 the celebrated Mr Birtwhistle had 20,000 head brought "on the hoof" from the northern Scotland to Great Close near Malham, a distance of over 300 miles. William James Browne owned Nilpena Station in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia in 1879, he contracted the drover Giles to take 12,000 sheep from there and overland them all the way to his new properties Newcastle Waters and Delamere Stations in the Northern Territory. Only 8,000 sheep survived the journey; the Tibbett brothers drove a flock of 30,000 ewes in the early 1890s from Wellshot Station to Roma in Queensland, Australia, a distance of over 700 kilometres, in search of grass for the stock. The sheep were all sheared in Roma and lambing started as relieving rains came to Wellshot.
The flock was brought back with an additional 3,000 lambs. In 1900 a drover named Coleman departed from Clermont with 5,000 sheep, the country was drought stricken and he had been instructed to keep the mob alive. Coleman wandered an incredible 5,000 miles through south-western Queensland finding feed as they went; when he returned he brought back 9,000 sheep, had sold over 5,000, killed nearly 1,000 for "personal use". Twenty thousand head of cattle were removed from Wave Hill Station and overlanded to Killarney Station, near Narrabri in New South Wales, in 1904. At the time it took 18 months to complete. Another famous drove is by William Philips in 1906 who overlanded 1,260 bullocks from Wave Hill Station some 3,400 kilometres to Burrendilla, near Charleville in just 32 weeks. Cattle drives in the United States Drover Drover Drovers' road Livestock transportation Stock route Transhumance Historic droving journey—Video, September 2013, one of the largest Australian cattle drives in 100 years.
18,000 head, 1,500 kilometres. Whole mob is 80 kilometres long
Vikings were Norse seafarers speaking the Old Norse language, who during the late 8th to late 11th centuries and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, explored westwards to Iceland and Vinland. The term is commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Norse home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age; this period of Nordic military and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, Kievan Rus' and Sicily. Facilitated by advanced sailing and navigational skills, characterised by the longship, Viking activities at times extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East. Following extended phases of exploration and settlement, Viking communities and governments were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, Belarus and European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America.
This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions. Popular, modern conceptions of the Vikings—the term applied casually to their modern descendants and the inhabitants of modern Scandinavia—often differ from the complex picture that emerges from archaeology and historical sources. A romanticised picture of Vikings as noble savages began to emerge in the 18th century. Perceived views of the Vikings as alternatively violent, piratical heathens or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century. Current popular representations of the Vikings are based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy; these representations are not always accurate — for example, there is no evidence that they wore horned helmets.
One etymology derives víking from the feminine vík, meaning "creek, small bay". Various theories have been offered that the word viking may be derived from the name of the historical Norwegian district of Viken, meaning "a person from Viken". According to this theory, the word described persons from this area, it is only in the last few centuries that it has taken on the broader sense of early medieval Scandinavians in general. However, there are a few major problems with this theory. People from the Viken area were not called'Viking' in Old Norse manuscripts, but are referred to as víkverir,'Vík dwellers'. In addition, that explanation could explain only the masculine and ignore the feminine, a serious problem because the masculine is derived from the feminine but hardly vice versa; the form occurs as a personal name on some Swedish runestones. The stone of Tóki víking was raised in memory of a local man named Tóki who got the name Tóki víking because of his activities as a viking; the Gårdstånga Stone uses the phrase "ÞeR drængaR waRu wiða unesiR i wikingu", referring to the stone's dedicatees as vikings.
The Västra Strö 1 Runestone has an inscription in memory of a Björn, killed when "i viking". In Sweden there is a locality known since the middle ages as Vikingstad; the Bro Stone was risen in memory of Assur, said to have protected the land from vikings. There is little indication of any negative connotation in the term before the end of the Viking Age. Another etymology, one that gained support in the early twenty-first century, derives Viking from the same root as Old Norse vika, f.'sea mile', originally'the distance between two shifts of rowers', from the root *weik or *wîk, as in the Proto-Germanic verb *wîkan,'to recede'. This is found in the Proto-Nordic verb *wikan,'to turn', similar to Old Icelandic víkja'to move, to turn', with well-attested nautical usages. Linguistically, this theory is better attested, the term most predates the use of the sail by the Germanic peoples of North-Western Europe, because the Old Frisian spelling shows that the word was pronounced with a palatal k and thus in all probability existed in North-Western Germanic before that palatalisation happened, that is, in the 5th century or before.
In that case, the idea behind it seems to be that the tired rower moves aside for the rested rower on the thwart when he relieves him. The Old Norse feminine víking may have been a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers, i.e. a long-distance sea journey, because in the pre-sail era, the shifting of rowers would distinguish long-distance sea journeys. A víkingr would originally have been a participant on a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers. In that case, the word Viking was not connected to Scandinavian seafarers but assumed this meaning when the Scandinavians begun to dominate the seas. In Old English, the word wicing appears first in the Anglo-Saxon poem, which dates from the 9th century. In Old English, in the history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen written by Adam of Bremen in about 1070, the term referred to Scandi
Wantage is a historic market town and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England. Part of Berkshire, it has been administered as part of the Vale of White Horse district of Oxfordshire since 1974; the town is on Letcombe Brook, about 8 miles south-west of Abingdon, 24 miles north-west of Reading, 15 miles south-west of Oxford and 14 miles north north-west of Newbury. It is notable as the birthplace of King Alfred the Great in 849. Wantage was a small Roman settlement but the origin of the toponym is somewhat uncertain, it is thought to be from an Old English phrase meaning "decreasing river". King Alfred the Great was born at the royal palace there in the 9th century. Wantage appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, its value was £61 and it was in the king's ownership until Richard I passed it to the Earl of Albemarle in 1190. Weekly trading rights were first granted to the town by Henry III in 1246 Markets are now held twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Royalist troops were stationed in Wantage during the English Civil War.
In the 19th century, Lord Wantage became a notable national benefactor. He was involved in founding the British Red Cross Society. In 1877 he paid for a marble statue of King Alfred by Count Gleichen to be erected in Wantage market place, where it still stands today, he donated the Victoria Cross Gallery to the town. This contained paintings by Louis William Desanges depicting deeds which led to the award of a number of VCs, including his own gained during the Crimean War, it is now a shopping arcade. Since 1848, Wantage has been home to the Community of Saint Mary the Virgin, one of the largest communities of Anglican nuns in the world. Wantage once had two breweries. In 1988 the town was thrust into the headlines after a Brass Tacks programme entitled "Shire Wars" exposed the drunken violence that plagued the town and surrounding villages at that time. Wantage has a town council consisting of 16 councillors, 11 of whom are Conservatives with the remaining five councillors being made up of four Liberal Democrats and one Labour councillor.
It is part of the district of the Vale of White Horse. Until 1974, Wantage had two local government councils: Wantage Rural District, which had its headquarters in Belmont and Wantage Urban District, which had its headquarters in Portway; these bodies were both abolished as part of the Local Government Act 1972 and became part of the Vale of White Horse District Council. The Wantage constituency is represented by Conservative MP Ed Vaizey. Vaizey was first elected in the 2005 general election and was re-elected again in 2010 and 2015; the nearby towns of Didcot and Wallingford are part of the Wantage constituency. At the time of the 2010 general election, the Wantage constituency had a total electorate of 80,456. Wantage is at the foot of the Berkshire Downs escarpment in the Vale of the White Horse. There are gallops at Black Bushes and nearby villages with racing stables at East Hendred, Letcombe Bassett and Uffington. Wantage includes the suburbs of Belmont to Charlton to the east. Grove is a separate parish.
Wantage parish stretches from the northern edge of its housing up onto the Downs in the south, covering Chain Hill, Edge Hill, Wantage Down, Furzewick Down and Lattin Down. The Edgehill Springs rise between Manor Road and Spike Lodge Farms and the Letcombe Brook flows through the town. Wantage is home to the Downland Museum. There is a large market square containing a statue of King Alfred, surrounded by shops some with 18th-century facades. Quieter streets radiate including one towards the large Church of England parish church. Wantage is the "Alfredston" of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. Wantage is at the crossing of the B4507 valley road, the A417 road between Reading and Cirencester and the A338 road between Hungerford and Oxford. Bus services link Wantage with Oxford and other nearby towns and villages including Abingdon, Didcot and Grove. Stagecoach in Oxfordshire provide the main services between Wantage and Oxford with up to three buses per hour Monday to Saturday and up to two buses per hour on Sundays and bank holidays, operated under Stagecoach's luxury Stagecoach Gold brand.
Route S8 links Wantage with Grove, East Hanney, Marcham and Oxford, along with a late-night service on Friday and Saturday evenings with buses running to Oxford until 2am and buses from Oxford to Wantage until 3am. Route S9 provides a more direct service between Wantage and Oxford. There are up to two buses per hour between Wantage and Didcot via Harwell Campus which are operated by Thames Travel. Thames Travel operate the Faringdon to Wantage service which runs up to every 60 minutes, a local service to Grove. Wantage does not have a railway station; the Great Western Mainline is just north of Grove where the former Wantage Road railway station used to be. It was closed during the Beeching cuts in 1964; the Wantage Tramway used to link Wantage with Wantage Road station. The tramway's Wantage terminus was in Mill Street and its building survives, but little trace remains of the route. One of the tramway's locomotives, alias Jane, is preserved at Didcot Railway Centre. Oxfordshire County Council have ambitions to re-open the former Wantage Road railway station and has stated that the station is a priority in their Connecting Oxfordshire plans.
It is hoped that the station could be served by a direct service between Bristol. The
Ridgeways are a particular type of ancient road that exploits the hard surface of hilltop ridges for use as unpaved, zero-maintenance roads, though they have the disadvantage of steeper gradients along their courses, sometimes quite narrow widths. Before the advent of turnpikes or toll roads, ridgeway trails continued to provide the firmest and safest cart tracks, they are an opposite to level, valley-bottom, paved roads, which require engineering work to shore up and maintain. Unmaintained valley routes may require greater travelling distances than ridgeways. Prehistoric roads in Europe variously comprised stretches of ridgeway above the line of springs, sections of causeway through bog and marsh, other trackways of neither sort which crossed flat country. A revival of interest in ancient roads and recreational walking in the 19th century brought the concept back into common use; some ancient routes, in particular The Ridgeway National Trail of southern England, have been reprised as long-distance footpaths.
Along ridge lines of hills, soil is exposed and dry because of wind and natural drainage, vegetation tends to be thinner. Where a beaten track evolves into a busier "road," constant passage by beasts and wheeled vehicles suppresses regrowth of vegetation. With the help of rain, a shallow trail can be worn down into the topsoil and smoothed without any purposeful road-making work; the thin soil and rocky subsoil, combined with the natural drainage provided by the slopes on each side tended to keep such roads dry. In western Europe, where prehistoric roads have been extensively documented with the help of itineraries, traces on old maps and extant marks on the landscape, ridgeways are a typical feature of long-distance ancient routes through rugged, high-rainfall parts of Germany and across the island of Great Britain; these ancient trackways ran along the hilltops, only descending when necessary to cross valleys. As such, they are an opposite to modern-style roads, which tend to run along the valleys and only ascend when necessary to cross the hilltops.
In rugged parts of central Germany, ridgeways tend to follow the watershed line proper, since traversing steep slopes was difficult for wheeled vehicles and uncomfortable for foot travellers unless someone had cut a track into the hillside and shored it up against washouts and slips. However, deviations around high peaks were common taking the south side of the peak because the warmer side was drier. On flatter British hills, the line of the tracks runs a little below the actual crest of the ridge to afford some shelter from the wind or to avoid travellers presenting themselves to marauders as a target on the skyline; the discomfort of following ridgeways arises from their exposure to harsh weather and the fact that they are level. The ridge line falls. Moreover, at some point the ridge ends, so that the route must descend to ford a stream before rising again to follow the next ridge. Loads on two-wheeled carts had to be shifted to the back during descents and to the front during ascents so that the animals could draw efficiently.
In medieval and times ridgeways in England were used as drovers roads. Since ridgeways were informal routes, the rounded tops of many British and German ridges might be hundreds of metres wide, the track might change seasonally, or spontaneously, if any land alongside the trail appeared drier and firmer, but where the tracks were seen as marking boundaries, the course could no longer change without causing a property dispute. English ridgeway routes became fixed in the course of enclosures beginning about 1750. Notable prehistoric ridgeways include: in EnglandThe Ridgeway between Avebury and Streatley in southern England The Icknield Way on the escarpment of the Chiltern Hills and extending towards Norfolk in southern England The Old Shaftesbury Drove and the Ox Drove leading from Shaftesbury and Blandford to Salisburyin GermanyThe Rennweg, an old trade route along the Arnsberg Forest The Brüderstrasse between Cologne and Siegen, Germany The Rennsteig from Gerstungen through the Thuringian mountains of Germany, restored from 1896 onwards as a 169-kilometre trail Some modern authors have suggested several advantages a ridgeway might possess: A ridgeway trail preserves itself without paving and constant maintenance, which were not available in medieval or early modern times in Europe.
A watershed route can cover long distances without crossing water: valley roads require fords or bridges over tributary streams. In some landscapes, a line along a hill is more direct, taking a route as the crow flies, whereas valley routes tend to meander. Routes well away from arable land in valleys can avoid tolls and customs charges imposed by land-owners or potentates. Despite laws on rights of way, lowland farmers encroach on paths. Travellers can bypass villages on higher ground. Treeless hilltops may be safer from attack by robbers or fierce animals than densely forested valleys; some ridgeway routes were adopted and paved by the Romans though the prevailing Roman road-construction practice was to build straight roads from point to point and falling with the landscape. Some German ridgeways were deliberately closed to force traffic into towns. In one instance, the central purpose of the Rheingauer Gebück, a 38-kilometre fence erected in the 12th century, may have been to close down a German ridgeway and force traffic onto the Rhine river.
Many ridgeways have continued in use with macadam or paved surfaces in modern times. Others fell into disuse when more level paved routes, either along valley bottoms or cut transversely along hillsides, were built paral
Uffington White Horse
The Uffington White Horse is a stylised prehistoric hill figure, 110 m long, formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk. The figure is situated on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill in the English civil parish of Uffington, some 8 km south of the town of Faringdon and a similar distance west of the town of Wantage; the hill forms a part of the scarp of the Berkshire Downs and overlooks the Vale of White Horse to the north. The best views of the figure are obtained from the air, or from directly across the Vale around the villages of Great Coxwell and Fernham; the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The Guardian stated in 2003 that "for more than 3,000 years, the Uffington White Horse has been jealously guarded as a masterpiece of minimalist art." The Uffington Horse is by far the oldest of the white horse figures in Britain and is of an different design from the others inspired by it. The figure has long been presumed to date to "the prehistory" – the Iron Age or the late Bronze Age.
This view was held by scholars before the 1990s, based on the similarity of the horse's design to comparable figures in Celtic art. This theory was confirmed following a 1990 excavation led by Simon Palmer and David Miles of the Oxford Archaeological Unit: deposits of fine silt removed from the horse's'beak' were scientifically dated to the late Bronze Age, some time between 1380 and 550 BC, they discovered the figure was cut into the hill up to a metre deep, not scratched into the chalk surface. Iron Age coins that bear a representation comparable to the Uffington White Horse have been found, supporting the early dating of this artefact. Darvill dismisses as "folklore" the suggestion that the horse had been fashioned in the Anglo-Saxon period, more during Alfred's reign: there is no evidence to support this; the medieval Welsh book Llyfr Coch Hergest states: "Gerllaw tref Abinton y mae mynydd ac eilun march arno a gwyn ydiw. Ni thyf dim arno." This translates as "Near to the town of Abinton there is a mountain with a figure of a stallion upon it and it is white.
Nothing grows upon it." Until the late 19th century, the horse was scoured every seven years as part of a more general local fair held on the hill. Francis Wise wrote in 1736: "The ceremony of scouring the Horse, from time immemorial, has been solemnized by a numerous concourse of people from all the villages roundabout." After the work was done a rural festival was held sponsored by “the lord of the manor.”If regular cleaning is halted, the figure becomes obscured. Periodic scouring continues, organized by the National Trust: on chalking day volunteers with hammers, buckets of chalk, kneepads kneel and smash the chalk to a paste, whitening the paths cut in the grass inch by inch. During the Second World War the figure recognizable from the air, was covered over with turf and hedge trimmings so that Luftwaffe pilots could not use it for navigation during bombing raids. In August 2002 the figure was defaced with the addition of a rider and three dogs by members of the "Real Countryside Alliance".
The act was denounced by the Countryside Alliance. Soon afterwards for a couple of days in May 2003, a temporary hill figure advertisement for the fourth series of Channel 4's series Big Brother was controversially placed near the figure. In March 2012, as part of a pre-Cheltenham Festival publicity stunt, a bookmaker added a large jockey to the figure, it has long been debated whether the chalk figure was intended to represent a horse or some other animal, such as a dog or a sabre toothed cat. However, it has been called a horse since the 11th century at least. A cartulary of Abingdon Abbey, compiled between 1072 and 1084, refers to "mons albi equi" at Uffington; the horse is thought to represent a tribal symbol connected with the builders of Uffington Castle. It is similar to horses depicted on Celtic coinage, the currency of the pre-Roman-British population, on the Marlborough Bucket. Another theory proposed by University of Southampton archaeologist Joshua Pollard points to the horse's alignment with the sun in midwinter when the sun appears to overtake the horse, to indicate that it was created as a depiction of a "solar horse", reflecting mythological beliefs that the sun was carried across the sky on a horse or in a chariot.
The most significant nearby feature is the Iron Age Uffington Castle, located on higher ground atop a knoll above the White Horse. This hillfort comprises an area of 3 hectares enclosed by a single, well-preserved bank and ditch. Dragon Hill is a natural chalk hill with an artificial flat top, associated in legend with St George. Whitehorse Hill is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it is a geological SSSI due to its Pleistocene sediments, a biological SSSI as it has one of the few remaining unploughed grasslands along the chalk escarpment in Oxfordshire. To the west are ice-cut terraces known as the "Giant's Stair"; some believe these terraces at the bottom of this valley are the result of medieval farming, or alternatively were used for early farming after being formed by natural processes. The steep sided dry valley below the horse is known as the Manger and legend says that the horse grazes there at night; the Blowing Stone, a perforated sarsen stone, lies in a garden in Kingston Lisle, two kilometres away and produces a music