Britain’s Ancient Tracks with Tony Robinson Episodes
Ancient Tracks weaves archaeology with on location interviews to bring the history of the tracks to life as we snake through landscape and time.
The Ridgeway is the oldest continuously used road in Europe, dating back to the Stone Age. Situated in southern England, travelled by our Neolithic ancestors, it’s at least 5,000 years old. Over the centuries Celts, Romans, Romano-Britons, Saxons and Vikings fought along its heights. The ancient track starts at a lay-by on the busy A4, west of Marlborough, Wiltshire, a nondescript spot to the modern motorist but significant in terms of prehistory.
THE ICKNIELD WAY
The Icknield Way is unique among long distance tracks because it can claim to be “the oldest road in Britain.” Extending from the Dorset coast to Norfolk, the ancient route of the Icknield Way consists of prehistoric pathways. Dotted with archaeological
remains, it survives as splendid tracks and green lanes along the chalk “spine” of England.
THE PILGRIMS WAY
The Pilgrims Way is a series of tracks in the south of England following the ancient track of the North Downs which bore many a pilgrim to the shrines of Winchester and Canterbury along its chalky arc. But there’s more to the Pilgrim’s Way than pilgrims. The North Downs is the most ancient route to Europe having been connected by that very chalk to the continent from the Ice Age. Through retreating glaciers and rising sea levels the chalk was cut by the North and Atlantic seas so that between 5500 to 3500 years ago the Dover coast first began to resemble its iconic white cliffs profile. This ancient track-way passes some of the earliest areas of settlement in England and visits sites such as the Neolithic megalith Kits Coty, and Leeds Castle, once the home of Catherine of Aragon, and famed as ‘the most beautiful castle in England’. The route passes through the Iron-Age hill fort at Bigbury where Julius Cæser is purported to have fought the Belgæ in 54 BC.