Lancs Roman Roads

The Roman Road from Manchester to Buxton

Margary Number: 71b

Distance: 23 miles

Whilst the general course of this route is not in doubt pinning down its precise position especially between Manchester and Hazell Grove has proved difficult. For once historic records are very minimal and the street names at Heaton Norris and the crossing of the Mersey at Stop Ford are about the the only reliable clues. Nevertheless putting the few records together and consulting various old maps a logical route can be surmised with a degree of confidence. It does at least look like a plausible Roman alignment. Beyond Hazell Grove and into more open country then we are on much firmer ground.

Note: Given the length of this road an intermediate fort would to have been expected, possibly around High Lane.

For a set of detailed route maps see the bottom of this page.

 

 

Historic Counties: Lancashire, Cheshire & Derbyshire

Current Counties: Greater Manchester & Derbyshire

HER: Greater Manchester, Derbyshire & Peak District National Park

 

routemap
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map


Manchester Roman Road Map

From the fort the Roman road to Buxton would almost certainly shared the first part of it route with that of the road to Melandra and probably a common bridge over the River Medlock too. Unfortunately the Melandra road's course is not precisely known and has two options! Having said that, the alignment to Longsight of our road would probably fit best with the OS line for the Melandra road.

Note: the course the River Medlock is taken from the OS first edition map of 1845.

 

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manchester

OS First Edition Map - Longsight

We are reliant on OS first edition maps to plot the road's course through the suburbs of Manchester. Two straight alignments of the modern A6 towards and through Longsight more than likely indicates its course.

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longsight

OS First Edition Map - Levenshulme to Heaton Norris

Perhaps the best clue on the section to Stockport occurs at Heaton Norris. Stockport Road through Heaton Norris was formerly called High Street, Streethouse Lane and Streethouses (ref: Crofton, 1905 Transactions of Lancs. & Cheshire Antiquarian Society, published 1906).

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leneshulme

OS First Edition Map - Stockport

The modern A6 looks very straight and convincing but is not the original line - it is a turnpike. The ancient crossing of the Mersey was by way of Stop Ford. This was reached via Old Road to the bottom of Lancashire Hill . On the Stockport (old Cheshire side) then Bridge Street and Church Street would look to be its probable course

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stockport

Contour Map - Stockport

Lidar is of limited use in such an urban area so a switch to a contour map was employed here. This is very much a "suggested" route based on the site of the old Stop Ford across the River Mersey. It the Roman era it would more than likely have been a bridge.

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contour map

OS First Edition Map

Having climbed up from the River Mersey valley, the road would have crossed Great Moor before joining the current A6 through Hazel Grove.

The turn for High Lane would have been at or very near to Mill Lane.

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hazelgrove

Lidar Image & Route Map

We hit some open country at last and can start to make some use of the Lidar data. The Roman road appears to be south of the modern Buxton Road A6 approaching the former High Lane Station.

Beyond High Lane the Roman line is up Carr Brow to Jackson Edge Lane. The top of the hill is about half way between Buxton and Manchester and would be an ideal spot for a small intermediate fort. Unfortunately quarrying and a reservoir have probably removed any trace if there were any.

 

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lidar

Lidar Image & Route Map

After the drop from Jackson Edge Lane down to Disley, our road climbs again following the old road to Whaley Bridge. The old and modern routes coincide most of the way apart from approaching Stoneheads. Here the modern road makes a large curving detour whereas the Roman road carries straight on.

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lidar

Lidar Image & Route Map

The big obstacle at Whaley Bridge is Todd Brook now a reservoir. There are clear signs on the descent and ascent of a series of zig-zags to ease the steep gradients here.

The Roman line is faint but clear at Horwich End crossing Ebor Lane and heading for the Old Road to Buxton

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lidar

Lidar Image & Route Map

Excellent Roman engineering, as we would expect, to build a remarkably direct road across this high terrain to Buxton.

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lidar

3D Oblique Lidar Image - Old Road

Impressive climb up to the Wainstones giving a very direct route to Buxton.

This image is an animated gif - with and without the Roman route overlaid.

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3D wainstones

Lidar Image & Route Map - Buxton

The final descent to Buxton rejoins the modern road and heads for the centre but quite where is unknown, as is the nature of what type of fortification/settlement was actually here. All that is certain is that there were Roman baths enjoying the Buxton springs, hence its name Aquae Arnemetiae.

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lidar Buxton

Detailed Route Maps

Route Map 1 - Manchester to Heaton Chapel

Route Map 2 - Heaton Chapel to Hazel Grove

Route Map 3 - Hazel Grove to Whaley Bridge

Route Map 4 - Whaley Bridge to Buxton

 

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map1

map2

map3

map4


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Last update: April 2018

© David Ratledge