THE grand vistas of the ancient Ridgeway are brought vividly to life in a new photography exhibition.

Wantage photographer Matthew Wright has spent the past three years capturing Britain’s oldest road and the surrounding North Wessex Downs in all seasons.

His exhibitions, The Downs, will open at The Vale and Downland Museum in Church Street on Monday.

Professional photographer Mr Wright, 42, who lives in Grove Street said: “I wanted to create an exhibition which spoke of my experiences and feelings for this wonderful part of the country.

“I also wanted to capture the special character of the Downs for the viewers – whether familiar or new to the area and its geography.”

Specialising in landscape, architectural, commercial and travel photography, Mr Wright graduated with a first class degree in photography in 1996. Since then, he has travelled the world, capturing seascapes from the North Sea to the mediterranean, the mountains of Andalucia and the fjords of Norway.

But he said he returned to his home turf driven by a desire to know more of the “inspiring countryside on his doorstep”.

The Ridgeway, said to be Britain’s oldest road, stretches 87 miles from Avebury, through southern Oxfordshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.

It was used in prehistoric times by travellers, traders, herdsmen and soldiers to avoid marshy low-lying land.

West of the Thames, The Ridgeway’s broad track passes through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

In Oxfordshire, the trail runs past Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts and Uffington’s White Horse Hill.

The free exhibition, runs until Saturday, August 23, in the museum’s Upper Gallery and the Dr V F Squires Room.

Non-limited edition and limited edition prints of the photographs will be for sale.

  • For more information on the exhibition, contact the museum on 01235 760176 or email


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