Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Ghosts of Forgotten Roads

There’s something fascinating about ancient forgotten roads. They crisscross our countryside. So often we pass along them and do not see them for what they really are.

This looks like any other path through the forest but if you take notice you’ll see it is so much more – the width - the ditches to either side – the way it is ever so slightly raised above the surrounding heath. And then of course, its straightness – the final clue that betrays its true origin – a Roman Road.

For the best part of two thousand years people have trodden this path. First the Roman legions heading west, seeking out Cornish tin. Now the only people I meet are hikers and dog walkers. But we all tread the same road.

They say, if you come here late on a summer’s eve, as the shadows lengthen and the nightjars start to call, that Roman legionnaires have been seen marching through the dusk, the sound of Roman footsteps, the clank of armour and weapons.

Do all those people who once walked this road walk here still?

Only the forest knows.

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Catherine, it's a wonderfully atmospheric place :-)

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