I've been walking a leafy track near my home. It leads from the village, crosses the busy modern road, passes a big house called Melbourn Bury, then shortly afterwards it peters out, but seems to be heading in the direction of the Bronze Age burial mound on Greenlow Hill and on towards the chalk ridge beyond.
This row of chalk hills stretches, with a few gaps, from the south coast in Dorset right up to the North Norfolk coast. England's oldest road The Icknield Way followed the crest of these hills because, it used to be thought, everywhere else was thickly forested. Early archaeologists found much to interest them on these bare hills and concluded that this relatively treeless land was easier to settle than the wooded land to the north.
They'd forgotten one important thing - water. And there's very little surface water up on the chalk hills. Water is not only essential for everyday life, it's also heavy and awkward to transport, especially uphill! It seems likely that people would have lived near to a source of water, such as the clear springs which issue forth from the base of the hills.
And those people would have needed a track to lead up to their grazing lands and perhaps towards the more wooded area too. They'd have walked up to their herds and perhaps brought the animals down daily to drink. They'd have gone north into the woods to gather berries and firewood as well as hunting trips.
If this assumption is true then could this track which I'm walking lead us all the way back, past the Bury, past the Bronze Age tumulus and right back to the first people who settled this land. In other words did men, women and children from the Old Stone Age tread this same path I'm walking today?