Ancient lanes and old main roads

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mjr
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Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby mjr » 5 Mar 2020, 12:13pm

I suspect there are lots of old roads that are quite good cycling. Some are fairly obvious, like the bypassed former A12 through Copdock, Suffolk, while others need you to look on old maps like the Bartholomews 1920s on https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/maps/ which reveals the wide unlabelled C-class "Lynn Lane" Roydon-Grimston-Massingham-Weasenham used to be part of the main route between Lynn and Fakenham. Another locally is Swaffham to Stoke Ferry.

The maps don't find everything, such as the Swaffham-Shipdham road isn't there and only part of Banbury Lane (from Northampton) is, although being a named route on the 1920s map hints at it.

What ancient roads good for cycling do you know near you and is anywhere mapping these?
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Cyril Haearn
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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby Cyril Haearn » 5 Mar 2020, 12:25pm

Parts of the Fosse Way and other roman roads
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rotavator
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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby rotavator » 5 Mar 2020, 1:19pm

The old A road around the top end of Loch Crenan is well worth doing and has hardly any traffic on it. Add it onto a loop around Appin for an easy day out and stop at the cafes at Appin on the main road (?Stalker Castle View) or even better at Port Appin. Or for a longer route, tag on the NCN track up to Ballachulish, however, the improvements to eliminate the two A-road sections were still being done last month (February 2020).

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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby ambodach » 5 Mar 2020, 2:35pm

Loch Creran to be pedantic. On the proposed off road cycle route south of Duror I think there has been a change of ownership which may be complicating matters. From Appin Station there is apparently a path up to the cafe above Castle Stalker but I have never managed to find it. It is probably easier to go up to the busy and narrow A848 and climb up a steepish hill to get to the cafe. I would agree that Port Appin is a better bet but if going the bottom route from there to South Shian there are some short pretty steep hills.

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Mick F
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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby Mick F » 5 Mar 2020, 3:57pm

My favourite Old Main Road is the Old A30 from Launceston all the way to Exeter.
Other than a dog-leg just before Okehampton, it's all complete as per the 18th Century turnpike.
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Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 5 Mar 2020, 5:24pm

There are good bits of Akeman Street around here - i.e. between Bicester and Cirencester. The bit south of Bicester is the A41 and decidedly not a good bit for cycling!

Routes like this are often mapped as historic route relations in OSM, though I don’t know of anywhere that renders them. Perhaps I should...
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Tigerbiten
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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby Tigerbiten » 5 Mar 2020, 6:58pm

Around here it's the A5199.
The road is the direct road from Northampton to Leicester.
It was formerly part of the A50 trunk road that ran from Bedfordshire to Lancashire.
Most of the traffic is now on the M1 which runs parallel around 5 miles away.
So it's wide and quite.

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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby nirakaro » 5 Mar 2020, 7:11pm

The B7076, which used to be the main road from Carlisle to Glasgow before they built the motorway. Now quiet (-ish – the motorway's often quite close, though not that busy), wide, smooth and scenic.

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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby Bmblbzzz » 5 Mar 2020, 9:40pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:Parts of the Fosse Way and other roman roads

Don't know if CH is anywhere near me (though he's clearly read some of the same books) but this. For me it's the sections from Bath (yes, up Bannerdown, stop for a breather at the Three Shires Stone) to Cirencester.

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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby millimole » 6 Mar 2020, 6:28am

The old A6 North of Leicester towards Loughborough is wide and quiet. The small towns it passes through are calmed.

The A46 (now defacto motorway between Leicester and Newark) between Widmerpool and Bingham appears to have a gated service road - I keep meaning to try it, and then between Bingham and Newark the old A46 is a good quieter route.

I believe that parts of the previous A1 around Peterborough are now cycle-friendly.

These roads are certainly worth knowing about, and it would be a good idea to have them documented. The devil is often being able to access the 'good' road without having to use the 'bad'
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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby climo » 6 Mar 2020, 7:47am

A4 in Wiltshire. Used to be the main road from Bath to London. Wide and quietish.

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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby mjr » 6 Mar 2020, 8:23am

millimole wrote:I believe that parts of the previous A1 around Peterborough are now cycle-friendly.

Sadly, there's only 5 miles from the south edge of the green wheel to Stilton that that might arguably be true for, then the southern exit from Stilton is cut by the motorway. From the north end of Stilton south to Alconbury, there's a B road parallel to the motorway but I don't think it's the previous A1 and I think it's quite busy.

Past Peterborough and North, the A1 route still occupies most of the previous A1, although there's a poor cycleway between Wansford and the Stamford turn
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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby pwa » 6 Mar 2020, 8:43am

Bmblbzzz wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:Parts of the Fosse Way and other roman roads

Don't know if CH is anywhere near me (though he's clearly read some of the same books) but this. For me it's the sections from Bath (yes, up Bannerdown, stop for a breather at the Three Shires Stone) to Cirencester.


The White Way north from Cirencester is a long stretch of very quiet country road. I have been up there on a very still early morning and had a barn owl drift across the road just in front of me.

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.75433,- ... 6?hl=en-GB

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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 6 Mar 2020, 8:51am

That's an old saltway, I believe - hence the name. If you continue north to Hailes Abbey it's called Salt Way or Salter's Way at times.

We have another saltway here in Charlbury, cutting across from the A44 near Chipping Norton across to Stonesfield. Most of it is bridleway/byway but it's variably rideable, shall we say. Here's one of the more rideable bits: https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3213808
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Re: Ancient lanes and old main roads

Postby Bmblbzzz » 6 Mar 2020, 8:55am

pwa wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:Parts of the Fosse Way and other roman roads

Don't know if CH is anywhere near me (though he's clearly read some of the same books) but this. For me it's the sections from Bath (yes, up Bannerdown, stop for a breather at the Three Shires Stone) to Cirencester.


The White Way north from Cirencester is a long stretch of very quiet country road. I have been up there on a very still early morning and had a barn owl drift across the road just in front of me.

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.75433,- ... 6?hl=en-GB

Akeman Street is another good one.

And if we're talking about paralleled roads, bits of the old A419 alongside the not-quite-a-motorway that it's become are decent.