I received this message from Theo this week about following the route of King Harold’s march north to York. There is very little recorded about the actual route, just that ‘he marched north to York’ which is of little help when planning a route.
I have posted his message and my reply to seek information from those who have walked, or who plan to walk, that may help Theo.
I’ve been tentatively planning a walk this year from London to Stamford Bridge (Yorkshire). I’ve tried to find references to Harold’s march north, but unsuccessfully using on line sources. At the moment I’m tempted to use what was the Roman Road route.
I’ve found your site and wondered if in your researches into Harold’s Way, you’d also looked towards Stamford Bridge first and possibly found a route Harold had taken to get there. If so, could you offer any clues you’d found, if not thanks for reading this note.
It is good to hear from you and I am sure that there will be many others who would be interested in your project for 2015.
I too have found little information as to the exact route – just that the army moved from London to York – not very helpful in 2015.
If you don’t mind I would like to put your message on the History Walks Blog to see if any additional information is elicited.
As to the route, it is likely that they will have used the Roman roads that were still being used in 1066 – they were the motorways of the time. You will need some poetic licence to avoid all those modern chariots, the Romans prohibited heavy carts during the day reserving the roads for their army and for marching – if only.
What I have done for 1066 Harold’s Way, The Final Journey, an 85 mile walk from Battle to Bosham is to draw a line, which in your case will be Ermine Street, and then link the villages from the Domesday Book.
This gave me a route along roads that would have been used in Saxon times and included bridleways that were formerly stretches of Roman road.
For 1066 Harold’s Way, I did piggy back on existing long distance paths to avoid traffic bottlenecks as walking the A2 is not much fun.
The Nene Way to Peterborough,The Viking Way and The Trans-Pennine Way are potential paths that could be used and I do know that the first two do use old green lanes and Roman roads which would meet your criteria.
Also by using such routes there are detailed walk notes already out there which may help in not getting lost.
The following is an excerpt from ‘The Saxon Times’, a newspaper’s view of the events of 1066, that tumultuous year.