Historic Routes in Oxfordshire

This innovative project in Oxfordshire looked at the heritage significance of historic routes, ranging from prehistoric trackway to Parliamentary enclosure roads. The objectives were to assemble a gazetteer of significant routes and to prepare guidance for their protection within development and land use changes.

Potential routes were identified from discussions with historians and archaeologists, map regression and the relationship between public rights of way and the many deserted settlements in the study area. Fieldwork identified many different types of survival from the banks of Roman roads and holloways to centuries-old routes now marked only by a line across a cultivated field.

A method of assessing significance was developed based on the place in the national-local road hierarchy, landscape context and function. This led to the publication of advice for developers and landowners on conserving and enhancing routes.

This Roman road with its distinctive bank has remained in more or less continuous use as a route

Old Brackley Road was a drove road from Oxford to Northampton that became a byway when alternative routes were improved under turnpike acts

Isolated inns and overnight watering places are often found on drove roads