Roman Road from Cambridge to Cambourne/Ermine Street

Margary Number: 231

Distance: 8 miles

This road is perhaps best regarded as "probable". It is a direct road that heads out of the Roman settlement at Cambridge, follows a ridge of higher ground and connects Cambridge to Ermine Street so does have something going for it. Ermine Street was clearly the earliest road in the area and so connection(s) to it from Cambridge would make sense. As such it would form a pair with RR 23a with this road being for northern destinations and RR23a for southern ones. If the Via Devana was a later road then this would be a very logical arrangement.

There is a very prominent agger visible where the road reaches Ermine Street - see below.



Historic Counties: Cambridgeshire

Current Counties:Cambridgeshire

HER: Cambridgeshire



mini map

Lidar Image - Cambridge to Ermine Street

Looked as a whole the alignments do look very typically Roman so perhaps I was doing it an injustice categorising it as probable.

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full route

Oblique 3D Lidar Image - Full Route

A logical ridge route but makes most sense if it pre-dated the Via Devana to Godmanchester - the road heading to the top right in this view.

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3D lidar

Madingley Rise

This is climb up Madingley Hill known as Madingley Rise. The hill is probably steep enough to justify this dog-leg approach and explain why a straight course was not adopted here.


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madingley hill

Lidar Image and Route Map 1

The alignments would seem to imply initially this road branched off RR23a just west of the settlement. The bend up Madingley Rise does exhibit Roman characteristics, i.e. zig-zagging to reduce the gradient.

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Oblique 3D Lidar Image - Approaching Ermine Street

Definitely the best evidence for this road being a genuine Roman one is the prominent agger approaching Ermine Street, well to the north of the modern road.

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Lidar Image and Route Map 2

The Roman line leaves the modern road at Cambourne and heads direct to Ermine Street.

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Last update: Jan 2024

© David Ratledge