Old Roads

Prehistoric Trackways in Worcestershire


Category: Old Roads

Worcestershire was once part of a large river estuary with the range of the Malvern Hills on the west side, and the hills of Clent and Lickey leading to the Ridgeway on the eastern border. The rivers were tidal to Bewdley at the least, with great areas of mud and swamp, and beyond were vast forests.

At first, the animal tracks across the swamps an forests were followed by hunters, but then came more definite pathways made by those that travelled from one high settlement to another, keeping to the high ground and running along the ridges of the hills. The primary function of the earliest trackways was to give access to waterways, with interlinking tracks to all the nearby settlements. Later, some of these tracks became established roads leading to convenient river crossings, where settlements were formed.

Thses trackways radiated from the settlements along the high ground of the Malvern Hills, and follow a line along the hills from end to end. In the south of the county, they link the Bredon Hill with the settlements on the foothills of the Cotswold, and from there follow a system of contour forts right down to the Bristol Channel, and these are seldom more than a day's journey, or 10 to 12 miles apart. Barrows were always connected by trackways, and along most of their way they were cleared of woodland. They can be tracted today for until the coming of the railways they were used as drover's roads.



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