Although there are minor roads which were formerly footpaths crossing the countryside, and roads linking towns which have existed for several centuries, it is rare to come across a road with a life stretching back into antiquity, probably part of an ancient network of trackways which traversed the region.
|Pre-development Beaumont Avenue at the Hatfield Road end.|
COURTESY ANDY LAWRENCE
Remove the homes which line each side of the Avenue, all but three of which arrived since 1899, and you are left with the remains of a double stand of fine trees.
The track which wandered through the former manor estate had extended through wooded land of uncertain age north of Sandpit Lane. Today we know this as The Wick. Also part of Beaumonts Farm was a continuation of the track towards Hill End. Now Ashey Road, it is a mix of early 1930s semi-detached homes, a post-war industrial estate and the green acres which are now Highfield Park, formerly Hill End Hospital. How this section of the track contrasted with the Avenue: it had been dug for the clay and was home to a brickworks as a result; and with the exception of isolated groups of trees did not appear to have been treelined.
One further difference: the southern section, though a track snaking through the farm, was a permissive route for traffic other than that which was farm business. The Avenue, on the other hand, had always been considered private (whether legally so is another matter) and gates were installed at both the Sandpit Lane and Hatfield Road ends.
|The former BT building next to the railway, now Alban Away, Today|
part of an industrial estate and earlier a brick works and rubbish tip.