You could easily mistake it for a shingle beach, in fact it's a ploughed and harrowed field on the chalk ridge a few miles east of Cambridge. I was walking with Cliff, who is devising a new 15 mile walk for the local walking group, and we were testing out the first (or last) section of the route which leads up to The Roman Road, now part of a brand new long distance footpath: The Fleam Dyke and Roman Road Walk. There it is – the Roman Road is between the double hedge line on the horizon . . .
Once on the Roman Road we headed west towards Cambridge, at first the road went steadily uphill . . .
And then at the crest of the ridge we got this wonderful view, in the dip is the A11 which actually follows the route of the ancient braided tracks of the Icknield Way; then the Roman Road snakes around to Wandlebury, the site of an Iron Age hill fort on the Gog Magog hills just outside Cambridge – you can see the dark mound of trees which now cover Wandlebury.
The fact that the trackway heads straight to Wandlebury is a clue that the Romans probably upgraded a existing and, even then, ancient way.
At this time of year the hedges along this section of the Roman Road are laden with fruit . . .
Blackberries and Sloes
Late summer flowers still studded the grass with colour . . .
Yarrow and the dry seed-heads of Knapweed
We returned to the starting point just as the sun was setting and we thought of all the people who had walked that track . . . Iron Age, Roman, Saxon, medieval wool traders . . . layers of footprints striding the landscape.