The official opening of the Jurassic Way on 19th September 1994, is commemorated on this stone, situated on the south slope of Honey Hill, about one mile from the centre of Cold Ashby:
The Rambler suggests that this site was chosen because it is close to the middle point of the central section of the path and has prominence - particularly in a hard winter!
The Way, about 88 miles in length , is mainly in Northamptonshire, though it starts and ends at Banbury (Oxfordshire) and Stamford (Lincolnshire).
The choice of name was, perhaps, a little esoteric and, since the invention of internet search engines, slightly misleading - after all, it’s a long way from the ‘Jurassic Coast‘!
‘Jurassic‘, in this case, refers to the date of the rocks beneath our boots - hence the distinctive, fossilised brachiopod on the waymark arrows:
It seems likely, though by no means certain, that much of the present path follows close to ancient trackways.
It has long been believed that from Neolithic times, travellers and traders would have used the natural ridges in our landscape and that limestone escarpments, which tend to be quite sparsely wooded and relatively dry, would have provided easier and safer passage than other densely forested areas.
In the mid-twentieth century there was much interest in linking the relatively few known Bronze and Iron Age centres by imagined highways. Consequently a theory emerged that there had been a ‘Jurassic Way’ linking the estuaries of the Humber and Severn.
Since then we have knowledge of many more archaeologically significant sites which evidence a larger population, clearance of forests and increased settlement. This suggests that there were many available routes in use, rather than a few major ones.
Nevertheless, the present Jurassic way has become one of the major waymarked recreational routes in the Midlands.
Though the route is linear, it connects with many local paths, bridleways and byways making interesting circular walks possible and this its main appeal. The publicity given to the Way has meant that the signage on connecting routes has improved considerably in the last twenty years.
The Honey Hill area has always been popular with walkers and riders and its accessibility has been much improved by the establishment of the Jurassic Way.
Why not visit the commemorative stone this coming weekend and enjoy the typical, rolling Northamptonshire landscape which surrounds it?