The Roman Way - a walker's guide following Roman roads

Day 1 - Chesterton to Sturdy's Castle - 8.5 miles

We start the walk at Chesterton.  This is likely to have been a Roman Station nearby to the military fort at Alchester and we begin marching along one of the main Roman roads, Akeman Street.  Now, the motorised traffic takes advantage of the straightness of the road, so we take a footpath route south-west across the quiet agricultural land to Weston-on-the-Green.  The route-finding needs careful attention, so we recommend allowing extra time for this.  Once on the distinctive agger of Akeman Street, it is an easy way to Sturdy's Castle.

Construction of a Roman road

Day 2 - Sturdy's Castle to Ramsden - 9 miles

We follow the agger to pass Sanson's Platt, a settlement within easy marching distance from Alchester.  We then cross the great park of Blenheim Palace to Stonesfield.  Stonesfield was the site where the very first description of a dinosaur was made.  We travel on to the North Leigh Roman villa and pass through a Roman roadside trading centre at Wilcote to reach the village of Ramsden.

Roman mosaic, North Leigh

Day 3 - Ramsden to Burford - 10.75 miles

We follow the same south-westerly direction of Akeman Street, partly on the route of the Roman road, though most of it beside the meandering course of the River Windrush.  This is a quiet place with evidence of the woollen mills that produced the material for the former Witney blanket factory nearby.  There are Minster Lovell Hall and ancient churches to visit but also an opportunity to walk through protected water-meadows where redshank call in winter.

Fettiplace Monument, Swinbrook

Day 4 - Burford to Coln St Aldwyns - 10.1 miles

After leaving Burford we pass through remote hamlets that have grown up around springs in the limestone uplands. These villages are part of three large estates through which we walk:  Bradwell Grove, Hatherop and Williamstrip.  We learn about a curious history of umbrella-making at Holwell, then join Akeman Street to descend into the valley of the River Coln.

Akeman Street, Holwell

Day 5 - Coln St Aldwyns to Cirencester - 11.5 miles

We first follow close to the route of Akeman Street as it heads south-west across the open Cotswold Hills towards Cirencester (the Roman town of Corinium).  We then leave its straight course and approach the town via ancient villages built close to the Ampney Brook and the River Churn, arriving at the huge Roman amphitheatre on the south side of the town.  There is an opportunity to visit the town's museum.  This section could be divided into two halves by parking at the access point in Ampney Crucis which would leave more time for the museum.

Cirencester, Amphitheatre (present day)