I live in the flatlands of the Thames Vally so almost all riding would be confined to footpaths and bridleways... plenty of mud but nothing even vaguely resembling anything gnarly without getting in the car. Going for a spin along the Ridgeway also sounds pretty fun.
My neck of the woods...I spend a lot of time in the Ridgeway
Much the same as you in 2010. Bought and rode a Boardman FS for a couple of years. Tried various FS and HT thereafter. Would say on balance a 100mm 29er HT does everything in this area well apart from more than a few hours in the Ridgeway in Summer.
I really like my Whyte 29er - try Rides on Air in Wallingford for a demo.