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The Icknield Way

Ancient Trackway


It's widely believed that the Icknield Way was a long distance route in prehistoric times, being a continuation of the Ridgeway from Buckinghamshire to Norfolk. The original paths would have weaved along the high chalk ridges and open dry areas across East Anglia (today the Icknield Way Path keeps you to a narrower route).

Upsettingly for those with a romantic turn of mind, there are recent suggestions that any ideas of long distance prehistoric routes* are a myth begun in medieval times (check out Sarah Harrison's idea here!theprospect_1.pdf )

Fair enough, that a lot of unlikely things have been said (for example, the idea that the Anglo Saxons made their move into England along it). Indeed, some stretches of the route only got the Icknield name when antiquaries started looking for them.. and apparently adding bits in that needed to be there for a continuous long route. (Have a read of this: )

- But can't we cling on to the undeniably ancient use of some sections, surely? There are ancient places on and near it (can you hear the anxious rising tone of my voice) - lots of them. Prehistoric people had to get from A to B.. didn't they have trade routes? Oh don't tell me this is a fancier version of my folklore favourites.. is anything true at all.. or is this just the latest tale we are telling ourselves about the route? Hmm..

*and this includes your beloved Ridgeway too no doubt.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd July 2008ce
Edited 2nd July 2008ce

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