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Harrogate & District Walks

Aldborough Roman Ramble

Date: 17th May 2015
Distance: 3.5 miles
Ascent: None
Time: 2 hours 30 mins
With: Lisa, Rhiannon and Shannon
Start Grid Ref: SE397667

Walk Summary:
The waymarked Roman Ramble walk from Boroughbridge to Aldborough via the banks of the River Ure including a visit to English Heritage's Aldborough Roman Site.

Route Summary: Boroughbridge - Aldborough Ings - Hall Arm Lane - Aldborough - Aldborough Road - Boroughbridge

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

The start of the Roman Ramble in St James Square, Boroughbridge
Red Campion on the path leading to the riverbank path
My daughter leading the way on the embankment running above the river
My daughter leading the way on the embankment running above the river
Looking back along the embankment
Another view of the River Ure
The large maypole in Aldborough
The stocks on the village green in Aldborough
Scanty remains of the Roman wall that once encircled the Roman town of Isurium Brigantium
A fairy among the forget-me-nots
An old Roman column
One of two well preserved mosaics, the chief attractions of the site
St Andrew's Church, Aldborough, that stands on the site of the Roman forum
The medieval cross commemorating the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322

Walk Detail: As with the Myton Loops walk I did earlier in the year this is one of a series of waymarked routes called 'Ure Walks Through Time'. I picked this particular walk because I was looking for a short walk do with the family. In addition my daughter was learning about the Romans for the first time so it seemed the perfect time to visit the Aldborough Roman Site which is on this walk's route.

The walk officially starts from the 'Roman Ramble' information panel on the library in St James Square, Boroughbridge. From the panel we walked a short way along the road leading to Aldborough before turning off on a path leading toward the riverbank. The initial section above the river, opposite Milby Cut, was the scene of fighting over a strategic ford in the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322 which saw the defeat of the rebellious Thomas, Earl of Lancaster.

The next mile or so was a pleasant walk on the flood bank above the river in the area marked on the map as Aldborough Ings. Just past Blenthorpe Hall on the opposite bank the river makes a dramatic loop, shortly after we left the riverbank path to follow Hall Arm Lane in to the pretty little village of Aldborough.

The present day village of Aldborough stands on the site of the Roman town of Isurium Brigantium, one of the main Roman administrative towns in the north of England. After passing the village green, with its stocks and large maypole, we made our way to English Heritage's Aldborough Roman Site.

It is quite a small site so it best not to go in with too high expectations. The entrance shop doubles up as a small museum containing a portion of a mosaic that was found nearby together with numerous coins and other small finds from the few excavations that have taken place. Outside there are a couple of mossy sections of what was once the perimeter wall of the Roman town and two small buildings which provide shelter to a couple of mosaics, easily the most impressive part of the site.

In addition to the Roman artefacts there was also (rather randomly) a Victorian fairy hunt. It proved to be a good distraction for Rhiannon and Shannon as they walked around trying to find the ten fairies that were hidden in various places. Overall though it seemed a very under developed site and I was interested to note that they were hoping to open up more to the public in the future including an old Roman quarry. For anyone visiting the site I'd definitely recommend buying the small guidebook which puts the scanty remains into context.

Retracing our steps back to the green we then passed St Andrew's Church, thought to stand on the site of the old Roman forum, and then a medieval cross commemorating the Battle of Boroughbridge. From the outskirts of Aldborough it was then a simple stroll on the roadside path back in to Boroughbridge.

Overall this was a nice little walk. While the Aldborough Roman Site was a tad underwhelming it was still interesting and, together with our visit to Hadrian's Wall earlier in the month, served its purpose in giving my daughter more knowledge of Roman Britain. For anyone interested interested in this walk the official walk leaflet can be downloaded from the Boroughbridge Walks website.

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