Hidden Britain

- Wiltshire By-Ways

Stuck in a traffic jam - ever wished you could have Britain to yourself? Amazingly, our busy modern road system by-passed many roads which had existed for centuries; by-ways open to, but often rarely used by, any traffic. These make up an intriguing alternative network.
A gentle scene from the past? Experiencing  alternative "green" roads can be like meeting a time-warp from a long-vanished past. You wouldn't seriously expect a scene like this on most of Britain's roads today.
Wiltshire has the most in the country, hundreds of miles of them, signposted by the County Council (but also check your Ordnance Survey map!). Here's a glimpse of an entire Alternative England, going  approximately 50 miles clockwise across Salisbury Plain to Stonehenge and back to Trowbridge, the county town.
A track leads up to the Imber Range Perimeter Path from the A 3098 near Erlestoke, between Westbury and Devizes. The "official" sign as we join the Path, points both ways along it. Leaving the B3098 at Erlestoke Gaining the Imber Range Perimeter Path
Driving east, with expert enthusiast Andy Gale at the wheel, the brilliantly sunny evening light from the south-west throws shadows across the road surface - maintained by the Army - as we pass the occasional cyclists, walkers, and a farm vehicle. The date is 19th June - just before the Solstice.
A worker...
There are wide-ranging views wherever the Plain drops away. Here the Path was and is the Wessex Ridgeway, belonging to the Great Ridgeway - a main "motorway" of Prehistory carrying bronze, iron, and other trade goods. At that time, the lowlands were deep forest. It must also have witnessed victory, defeat, and the spoils of war - Alfred's famous definitive victory over the Danes at the battle of Ethandune took place nearby, in 878, creating Wessex - and England itself.
The view north-east

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