40th anniversary of the Friends of the Ridgeway at the Swire Ridgeway Arts Prize Exhibition

The Friends of the Ridgeway (FoR), a charity for the protection and promotion of the Ridgeway National Trail, will celebrate its 40th anniversary during the weekend of the Swire Ridgeway Arts Prize Exhibition on: 2nd and 3rd April from 10am to 5pm, in Thomas Hughes Memorial Hall, Uffington, Faringdon, SN7 7RE.

FoR was formed 40 years ago to campaign for the prohibition of non-essential motor vehicles – recreational ones – on the Ridgeway, especially along the stretch west of the Thames.

The Ridgeway runs for 87 miles through Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and a little of Hertfordshire. Recreational vehicles damage its natural surface, destroy peace and quiet and at times are a danger to the majority of users who are on foot, bicycle or horse.

“The Oxfordshire stretch of the Ridgeway is now free of non-essential vehicles but in Wiltshire and parts of Berkshire the ban is incomplete,” said chair of the Friends Mike Lewington. “Our ambition is for all of the Trail in those counties to have the same status as in Oxfordshire.” The government is currently consulting the public on how best to protect green lanes and on other countryside matters.

The Trail is an inspiration to artists who evoke the spirit of the Ridgeway in all its moods, its history and environs.

The Trail, with its nearby historical and natural features, is evocative for a great many people. FoR started the Swire Ridgeway Arts Prize in 2017, since when it has become an annual event. “We hope that the Arts Prize will again be a successful event, building on the achievements of previous years, celebrating the artistic inspiration of the Ridgeway,” said Anthony Burdall, organiser of the Prize. “The artworks have been divided into four classes – wall art, sculpture, photography and writing – and will be judged by a team of experts. The quality of the artworks is very high and they are a joy to behold.”

The exhibition is open from 10 am until 5 pm on the 2nd and 3rd of April, and entrance is free. Most of the artworks, which will also be shown on the Friends website, are for sale.

CONTACT Mike Lewington, Chair, Friends of the Ridgeway. Email michaellewington@hotmail.com

Kite flying and picnic on White Horse Hill adjacent to the Ridgeway. Photo: Dave Cavanagh.

Cycling on the Ridgeway. Photo: Laureen Roberts.

Walking along the Ridgeway alongside White Horse Hill, Oxfordshire. Photo: Dave Cavanagh.