cheshire map

The Cheshire North Ridge Roman Road(?)

Margary Number: 70aa

Distance: 9? miles

A very odd road that supposedly follows a ridge of high ground rather than having as its primary purpose of getting from A to B. Its discovery is down to the work of one man, Ted Hughes of Lymm. Attention was drawn to it by Jermy (Britannia, 1990). Jermy reports it as being 14 to 18 metres wide with ditches - if true this is enormous. Several excavations have taken place and this width was confirmed. Two Sections between Appleton and Stretton are scheduled as an ancient monument 1006770.

Jermy's explanation for its odd course was that perhaps it was an early frontier - pre Agricola. However, as such should it not have had watch towers like the Gask Frontier in Scotland?

Unfortunately there is currently very little Lidar coverage - only 1.5 kilometres - so proving or disproving its existence is difficult. Having said that the 1.5 kilometres available is not too convincing which is very worrying and during construction of the A556 road bypassing Mere no trace was observed there either. Perhaps best to regard this road as "probable" until further evidence becomes available.



Historic Counties: Cheshire

Current Counties: Cheshire

HER: Cheshire



cheshire map

Route - Jermy's Figure 5 + Modern Map

I have overlaid Jermy's figure 5 on top of a modern map. To get a definitive line the Cheshire HER was also consulted and what is shown below is an amalgam of the two. Note The Cheshire HER shows the road going to Mere Crossroads but Jermy quite clearly indicates a straight-on route north of the mere.


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jermy fig5

Route Map 1 - Hatton to Redbank Bridge

Perhaps the most convincing stretch is the straight track at Bradley Hall and this is the longest section not covered by a modern road. When Lidar becomes available for here then it should go a long way to resolving the authenticity this road. The big turn at Redbank Bridge is very odd - Manchester would have been straight-on.

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Stretton Church

Jermy takes the road via Stretton Church - on the right of this image. We are looking west here towards Hatton. King Street passes right to left behind the cyclist.

Jermy quoted the names Stretton and Pepper Street as supportive evidence. However, Stretton almost certainly would derive from King Street. Jermy's line doesn't actually align with Pepper Street or even pass through it.

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stretton church

Lidar Image and Map - Stretton to Appleton

This is the 1.5 kilometres where Lidar data currently (2018) exists.

This stretch of the road has been excavated in several places by Lymm & District History Society in 1968, in road works and pipe laying. You would think that it was therefore the most secure. One length is even scheduled as an ancient monument. The 1968 ecavation area is now covered by car park for a village hall. Grid reference is given as SJ 637 837 (see arrow). For further details follow HER Link

So this is probably the best authenticated length of the North Ridge Roman road but............ the Lidar data offers little supporting evidence! This is very worrying - a reportedly plainly visible agger over 14 metres wide visible in several place is none too obvious.


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Oblique 3D Lidar Image - Stretton to Appleton

This is a 3D view of the above plan lidar image looking towards Appleton. The section excavated near the village hall is at the top of this image but the road is supposed to be obvious elsewhere. This road will probably remain a puzzle until more Lidar imagery is available.

Note the illumination angle of this and the above image was set to the optimum angle to reveal an agger if there was one there.


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3D lidar

Route Map 2 - Redbank Bridge to Mere

This stretch basically follows the A50 modern road. Mere Bypass A556 crossed the supposed line but during contruction of the new road no trace was observed.


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Lidar Image/Aerial - possible Eastern Link to Margary 7a

The evidence for an old road east of Margary 7a is reasonable but unfortunately Lidar is only partially available. It could be a Manchester to North Ridge road link. It would be sensible to short cut the corner rather than the route to Mere suggested by Jermy. Proof will have to wait for the new Lidar coverage.


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possible link east

Lidar Image - possible Western Link to Preston-on-the-Hill

Some slight evidence of a link to Margary 701 but nothing I would regard as convincing. The most prominent "agger" like feature on this image is a pipeline!


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Last update: September 2018

© David Ratledge & Neil Buckley