Richard Jefferies (1848-1887)
 
Richard Jefferies was a novelist, naturalist and a mystic; he grew up in a house (now the Richard Jefferies Museum) close to Coate Water on the outskirts of Swindon. In his book, Wildlife in a Southern County, published in 1879, Jefferies writes of the Ridgeway –
  

A broad green track runs for many a long, long mile across the downs, now following the ridges, now winding past at the foot of a grassy slope, then stretching away through a cornfield and fallow. It is distinct from the wagon-tracks which cross it here and there, for these are local only, and, if traced up, land the wayfarer presently in a maze of fields, or end abruptly in the rickyard of a lone farmhouse. It is distinct from the hard roads of modern construction which also at wide intervals cross its course, dusty and glaringly white in the sunshine… With varying width, from twenty to fifty yards, it runs like a green ribbon… a width that allows a flock of sheep to travel easily side by side.

Richard Jefferies (1848-1887)

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