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Old trackways and routes near Melksham

I've often wondered why Statton's Walk leads into the road past the Co-op, through Dorset Crescent and out into the countryside on a public footpath that's well defined at first but then crosses another path, and a broken style. It can only then be followed by scanning the far side of the field and spotting the matching remains of a style.

Two hundred years ago, Melksham was the largest town for many miles around. A thousand years ago, it was mentioned in the doomesday book, and two thousand years ago, the Romans built a road straight across the countryside, just to the North.

Ancient footway to pack horse bridgeCirca 1725 Melksham Pack Horse BridgeEaster Sunday, and I went out to research some of these. The track across the ploughed field was probably one of those ancient ones. It crosses road and rail from Broughton Gifford,and runs down, straight as a die, to the Pack Horse Bridge over the today-swollen Avon. I can't tell you much more about the bridge or its history; online research tells me little - WikiPedia lists surviving Pack Horse Bridges in England, but doesn't tell when they were built, nor does it even this hidden secret of Melksham. [BUT see end of article for updates!]


PillboxNot so old - 70 years ago - Pillboxes were built as a line of defence against Hitler's planned invasion. The Kennet and Avon was one line of defense, the River Avon was another. This example - much more complete than many I have seen - stands slightly up from the floodplain off the path to the Pack Horse Bridge. I didn't look inside - I didn't have my Wellingtons with me.


Roman Road near BeanacreRoman Road and style near WhitleyThe northern boundary of the parish of Melksham Without - where it leads into Lacock - is a straight line on the map - much of it field boundaries, and some of it public right of way. And there's a clue in the straighness - it was Melksham's own Roman Road. After 2000 years, there's sadly very little nothing left to see - but you can see the straight edges, and wonder at who may have passed though these now-remote valleys on their way from London to Bath and beyond.


Out with the horsesBut on a lovely Easter Sunday, it's good to see that the old roman route has some new uses - people were out cycling and walking, and here and there a horse. Yes, some of the tracks were hard to follow, and some clearly used horse routes were shown as just footpaths on the map - but this is the way the dynamics of the countryside develop.


Update"The packhorse bridge c.1725, near Monkton House, linking Broughton and Whaddon is a good and well preserved example and replaced a smaller wooden bridge" according to Wiltshire Council web site

(written 2010-04-05, updated 2010-04-07)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
M202 - Well House Manor - West Wiltshire
  [4653] Coats of arms - towns and authorities in Wiltshire - (2016-02-21)
  [4623] Rambling from Westbury - (2016-01-16)
  [3722] Walking by the wiver - (2012-05-06)
  [3641] Swindon to Trowbridge - transport and travel options - (2012-03-06)
  [3498] Which West Wilts Town? A picture quiz for you - (2011-10-28)
  [3493] West Wilts Rail User Group - Walk yesterday from Bradford-on-Avon to Trowbridge - (2011-10-23)
  [3216] Images of a Spring Walk - (2011-03-27)
  [3195] Sunny day - Clanger and Picket Woods, Shearwater, and Westbury - (2011-03-06)
  [2852] Atworth Village Fete - on the Melksham Community Area Partnership stand - (2010-07-04)
  [2677] Blowing out the winter cobwebs - (2010-03-14)
  [2305] Hot Tap at West Wilts Show - (2009-07-26)
  [2302] See us at the West Wilts Show - (2009-07-23)
  [2224] Trowbridge - a missed opportunity? Melksham - into the breach? - (2009-06-08)
  [2142] Riverside Development - (2009-04-26)
  [2131] Patterns in street names - (2009-04-17)
  [1834] Seend, near Melksham, Wiltshire - (2008-10-11)
  [1710] At the Westbury Bypass Enquiry - (2008-07-15)
  [1583] Businesses in West Wiltshire - networking - (2008-03-20)
  [1252] Westbury Bypass - how it would effect Melksham - (2007-06-29)
  [1154] As I came back from Tesco - (2007-04-19)
  [1103] Dilton Marsh - (2007-03-08)
  [1030] Hotel for Trowbridge - (2007-01-12)
  [938] Bratton and Edington new town, Wiltshire - (2006-11-23)
  [929] Presenting Melksham - for a weekend away in Wiltshire - (2006-11-17)
  [880] Celebration circles - (2006-09-27)
  [842] Dramatic Skys at Longleat - (2006-08-22)
  [840] Computers, Brides and Cream Teas - (2006-08-20)
  [814] Melksham Railway Calendar 2007 - (2006-07-25)
  [812] Minimal Signage - (2006-07-23)
  [804] The Courts, Holt - (2006-07-16)
  [713] Pictures from my travels - (2006-05-07)

Z531 - Cycling and Walking
  [4022] A request for all of Melksham transport groups to work integrated - (2013-03-01)
  [3938] A long overdue meeting - a steeping stone towards coordinate transport user inputs - (2012-12-02)
  [3904] Want to help us improve transport in Wiltshire? Here is how! - (2012-10-26)
  [3771] Fine evening, country walk from Melksham - pictures - (2012-06-21)
  [3689] Can I cycle or ride my mobility scooter on the pavement? - (2012-04-07)
  [3580] Melksham Area - buses, trains, cycles, and roads. Meeting, 17.1.2012 - (2012-01-15)
  [3579] Transport in Cambridgeshire - seen by an outside observer. What can Wiltshire learn? - (2012-01-15)
  [3376] Kennet and Avon - Walk from Bedwyn to Pewsey. TransWilts day out. - (2011-08-01)
  [3231] Footpath, Bridleway, Byway, Road used as Public Path - (2011-04-04)
  [3228] What can you take on a public footpath? Pram? Wheelbarrow? Dog? Shopping Trolley? Horse? Cycle? - (2011-04-03)
  [3023] Autumn walk from Bowerhill - (2010-10-31)
  [2958] What do these road markings mean? Could Confusion Kill? - (2010-09-17)
  [2858] The healthy option - away from the private car - (2010-07-07)
  [2707] A walk on the Kennet and Avon - (2010-04-04)
  [2704] A walk within without - Melksham Without - (2010-04-02)
  [2666] Random thoughts on Melksham Town Planning and development - (2010-03-08)
  [2490] Friendly Hotel in Melksham, near Bath - (2009-11-02)
  [2253] Walks in and around Melksham, Wiltshire - (2009-06-21)
  [1802] Motorcycles welcome at Well House Manor - (2008-09-19)
  [1640] Walking on The Wiltshire Downs - (2008-05-12)


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Error trapping in Lua - no exceptions.
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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