The Ridgeway Road

When I ran along this route the other evening, it’s comparable length and straightness challenged in a different way from the tiny lanes. As ever, I’m lost in thought and invariably think back. This was the evening exploring local history- something I wanted to do with the written notes I have to hand. Local friends may recognise the places. The poem dips and dives a bit, just like the road itself. Please enjoy.

Long and narrow upland road
Hugs the contour line;
Worn through time of toiling step
From abbey to the Devon coast.
The Ridgeway
For meditation and reflection-
A solitary journey,
A pilgrim on the route.

In Saxon times the name is changed
To Wheel Way, though still rough.
Wheels are made for ease of travel
Yet progress slow 
It's far from flat.
The reddish stain of Devon soil
The rims and soils the boots
Of those who walk.

The views are good  where land is open
A safer way to go,
Yet sheltered too from deep set banks
Stones drawn: soil piled
As fields are made
And native trees line the path 
From the winds that cut across
Forested Dartmoor hills.

Romans may have aligned some straightness
Visible in Five-Mile Lane.
Sketchy knowledge they were here.
The Normans were and used the route
And named a field Vauldeveur.

Medieval times, manorial living
Gifted by the king.
Villain farms, 
A settlement, 
Beenleigh, Trimswell names remain.

From the ridge
Lanes steep and narrow
Connect the valleys
Thread like veins,
Farm to farm 
Hidden deep ,
Long ingrained. 

Still well-used this road through time,
What memories it holds
If only we could see.
The clues are there 
But nothing more- 
The love of history.  
Ruth Partridge 

One thought on “The Ridgeway Road

  1. What an eye and ear you have for beauty, Ruth. I hope you’ll forgive Rachel for sharing this with me! Seeing familiar views is very therapeutic too – tho’ I do find myself easily getting tearful these days. I’m assuming Steve is OK & hope Joseph & Bethan are too – did they come home to lock down? Love to you all, Caroline

    Liked by 1 person

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