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Roman Roads

The Romans built roads so that their army could march quickly to where it was most needed.

Roman Road, Blackstone Edge - geograph.org.uk - 1804285

These roads were built very straight to make journey times as short as possible and to stop any robbers from hiding around bends.

A special piece of equipment called a groma was used by Roman surveyors to help build their roads in straight lines - it was a wooden cross with weights hanging down from it.

Groma 01

Roads often had a slope on each side so that rain water could drain away easily and not make the road too muddy. The road surface was normally gravel except for in towns where it was made from close-fitting cobbles instead.


People also used the roads to travel across Britain and move goods like pottery around to sell in different towns. They would travel either on horseback or on carts pulled by oxen. Famous Roman roads include Watling Street (which ran from London to Chester) and the Fosse Way (which crossed from Exeter in the south-west to Lincoln in a north-east direction). 

Roman Roads in Britannia