Monday 4 May 2020

Lockdown Day 42 - Roman Road

Today I went for a walk with my eldest daughter onto an old Roman Road, which connects York with Tadcaster. Most of the route is still traceable and the Ebor Way footpath follows it. Along the route are fragments of old woodland with carpets of bluebells, and you wonder whether these woodlands are the fragments that remain of woods that were present during the Roman occupation of Britain, albeit several generations of trees hence.
Whether the road has been used for all that time by people, I don't know, but limestone from around Tadcaster was used in the building of York Minster in the Middle Ages and there will have been much use and trade since. Nowadays, the actual Roman road surface, if it still survives at all, will be buried, and for much of the way, the route is a footpath. However, some sections near Copmanthorpe and into York and also near Tadcaster are still tracked by modern day roads.
I would like to think that we were just the most recent of walkers in a long history of feet walking this ancient way. Can you imagine the year 3700 and whether anyone will still be around or need the motorways or other roads we have carpeted the country with? Will there even be a record of where they were? Will a future archaeologist try to guess what the white lines - if they survive - or cat's eyes were used for and what measurement system we used to mark out the way?

In some woods along the Roman road are some abandoned caravans, horse boxes and derelict buildings. They've been like this for at least ten years, before the first time I came along this road. Nature is taking over, trees and bushes are covering the site, brambles climb the outside. This photo is of an old freight wagon, minus wheels. This wagon is perhaps eighty to a hundred years old and would have been pulled by steam engines. 

On the way back, we tried to see a garden warbler whistling away from a bush, but as is usual with this type of warbler they seem to stay in the middle of bushes and are not showy like blackcaps, willow warblers and chiffchaffs can be - and they can be hard enough to find once trees are in full leaf!

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