Staring at the old maps of my parish, found here, I have been struck by how much detail on the old maps doesn't even appear on the newer maps. Lovely little things, like the actual inscriptions on old milestones (which helps you trace old cross-country coaching routes) and the old names of old tracks and paths.
The boundary between the parishes of Ogbourne St.George and Chisledon is an ancient path called Gypsy Lane. That goes from Barbary Castle towards Aldbourne. Next door, in Aldbourne, the northern boundary is an ancient pathway south of the Ridgeway, known as Socera Weg, or Shuger Waie, or Sugar Way (depending on which map or website you look at), which Andrew Sewell says means "the 'secret way' used by thieves". That continues north east in the direction of Alfred's Castle, which is sadly neglected in our megalithic ramblings.
The two paths are joined by the "earthworks" that climb diagonally out of the Og valley onto the high ground, showing the paths worn down by people and animals tramping up and down the hillside.
Likewise the boundary between the parishes of Ashton Keynes and Somerford Keynes may date back at least 3,000 years to the late Bronze Age.
See http://www.archaeologyuk.org/ba/ba49/ba ... tml#parish
In places the same tracks are called Herepath as well. Which are also found in Somerset.
So, from the isolated example, can ME folk explore any other examples, or project any general rules?
i.e. old parish boundaries are good indicators of old trade paths, especiallly if they mention gypsies and thieves?
Is Lord Sugar descended from a long line of gypsies? "Amstrad" might suggest so ;-)
I ought to mention Tinkers as well (travelling tin smiths). There, I've mentioned them.