Images of flood on
the day of the battle
panoramas of the battle site
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||With the exception of Lincoln (left) , Ermine
Street appears to bypass most towns and settlements for much of its northern
path. But it is also evident that there were
significant towns at all of the river crossings.
The one west of
Peterborough has vanished. Places like Ancaster have survived while Godmanchester/Huntingdon and Ware
||Ermine Street is straight but at the crest of many of the
hills, it makes a small adjustment to its route (above).
But don't be
fooled into thinking that straight means flat! The countryside through
Lincolnshire undulates so you are always going up or down hill.
For marching troops and itinerant monks the shortest distance is the best
route. But the up-and-down old route has been abandoned in favour of one
that follows the contours. I suspect that the flatter route would have made
life easier for wheeled transport that came to dominate the highways in
Now Four-wheel-drivers are re-discovering Ermine Street and gouging out
these 'splashes' (left) through which they drive their vehicles at speed. I found a
few places where they are setting up off-road circuits with cones and old tyres.
It is nice to see Ermine Street being used but a shame to see the old road
||There was an ancient bridge across the Nene just west of Peterborough
but the traces were lost during dredging in the last century. This is
an ancient, paved ford that was probably the normal way to cross smaller
Finding water to drink along the route proved difficult with few streams.
This might be another reason why many parts of Ermine Street fell into disuse as
villages developed where there was easy access to water.
||Some parts of Ermine Street have evolved into
modern roads. On the left is part of the A1 that has incorporated the old route
into one of the lanes for the A1(M).
It was rare to find a footpath beside
these roads so it was necessary to find a parallel road, make a very long
detour or use a means to bypass
the modern road.
||Sometimes one was forced to walk through the
woods alongside the existing road. But this path through the wood looked
very like an ancient track.
||In many places Ermine Street has been
by-passed. The dotted line is just below the route of a
new road to take the traffic off Ermine Street.
This was in Hertfordshire
where the County Council provide and maintain some excellent foot paths.
||There were a number of these 'trig points'
along the route. These were the fixed points from which the Ordnance Survey of
these Isles was conducted. The fitting on the top appears to be made of
bronze and was designed to hold and align the survey instrument.
Visible at the base is the broad arrow that marks this as the property of
the defence ministry as it was the military who surveyed the land for the
purposed of calculating where shell, fired by the artillery, will impact.
One has to hope that the military never planned to fire their big
anger anywhere in the UK.
|Click on any of the images to see a full screen version.
If you are planning to follow the Ermine Street, I should advise you that
there are some extremely busy parts where you will be forced to walk on the
verge because there is only just room for the large vehicles that use the
road to pass.
I carried a dayglow visibility vest that i used on these occasions and a
flashing cycle lamp which I used towards dusk.
Lorry drivers were thoughtful and conscious of my safety. Many
drivers of white vans and larger people carriers seem unaware of the width
of their vehicles so I would 'take cover' when they approached. With a very
few exceptions, car drivers made a suitable allowance for the mad monk
walking beside the road.