An amateur archaeologist, 72-year-old retired Bill Trow, discovered a long-forgotten Roman road that stretched from Lanchester in County Durham to Hadrian’s Wall.
Divers also found wooden logs and stone paving stones that were once part of the Roman bridge over the Derwent River – at Bludder Burn Dene, near Ebchester.
Historians have believed for years that Roman legionaries used the well-known Dere Street to move from the forts of Lanchester, Ebchester and Corbridge towards Hadrian’s Wall and Scotland. However, the latest discovery sheds a whole new light on this issue. The new route, named Proto Dere Street, may have been built earlier and was intended mainly for the rapid transport of supplies and troops towards the embankment.
The road is only 2.7 meters wide and made of stone, clay and cobblestones, which proves that the trail was used mainly by legionaries. The aforementioned Dere Street was over 6 meters wide and was mainly used by civilians and merchants.