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Dreaming Of Roman Roads

2nd of October 1997

We had just had a lesson on Roman history at Chipperfield Primary School from Mr. Pettit, the headmaster. As I wandered home up Queen Street, my imagination was running riot. What if Queen Street with its flint surface was a Roman road?
A ten year old boy can have a big imagination! Sadly, this dream was doomed to disappointment.
However Queen Street got its metalled surface, the Romans were not responsible. It would be some years later that I was to find a Roman road in Chipperfield. A real one this time!
My great interest in history continued, as indeed it still does, but on a wider scale. Our little village seems to have been bypassed by most great events in history, and any limited Roman activities locally passed out of my mind.
All that changed recently as I became friendly with some people who have a great interest in local history. One night the conversation came round to discussing the exact location of Akeman Street (see map), one of the great Roman roads which runs up through Berkhamsted and Tring and on to Cirencester. This road ran nowhere near Chipperfield, but could another one come our way from St. Albans, which was called Verulamium in Roman times?
So I undertook some research, and bingo!! There it is!

The road in question ran from Verulamium across the Chilterns towards Chalfont St Giles where it met the road to Silchester. This was a big road, about 30ft across and clearly meant to carry plenty of traffic. It started from Verulamiums south west gate, then passed across country to the Gade Valley, crossing the valley more or less where the present M25 bridge does. From there it struck off towards Model Farm and from there to Bucks Hill.
The road first appears in Bucks Hill at Little Westwood Farm. It then follows the farm road to
Bucks Hill Road, from where it passes under Bucks Hill Cottage and then goes along the
northern edge of High Spring Spinney towards Bottom Lane. Some 40 yards west of the
Spinney a section of the road metalling can still be made out, 3Oft wide.
From here the road descends to Bottom Lane and then up to Newhall Farm, following the line of the footpath, then on to Micklefield Green along the line of the farm road. It then turns west towards Sarratts Church End and from there down to the Chess Valley towards Chorleywood Station.
So there we have it! At last I have found my Roman Road! Mind you, the presence of a road does open the possibility that a Roman Villa may have existed quite close. This road linked the two known Roman villas at Kings Langley and Sarratt. Could there have been another in between? Here I go again, dreaming my dreams!
But who knows? Perhaps in another 30 years something might turn up. Until then, Im going to rest on my laurels and enjoy my real Roman Road!

This page is edited by Tony

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