Country diary: in the slow lane of an old Roman road


A14, Huntingdonshire: Taken at a chariot’s pace the highway reveals its pockets of wilderness and unexpected beauty

Two thousand years after the Romans cut an urban vein through rural Huntingdonshire, naming it Via Devana (Chester Street), the road is scheduled to shift its course. I decided to follow the old highway at a chariot’s pace, stopping often to seek out the oddities and glimpses of character you invariably find in the slow lane.

My first layby, outside Godmanchester, was jammed with a bumper-to-tail trio of container lorries. A weather-battered and lichen-encrusted fence divided us from a bank of blackthorn bushes bursting with unpickable sloes, and hawthorns with shrunken berries.

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