Drove Road – An overview

What is a drove road? Drove roads are a method of driving livestock on foot from one location to another, often from the farm to the market; as such, they were designed to accommodate large herds or flocks often falling between 40ft and 90ft wide. The word ‘drover’ refers to those engaged in long-distance trading, which could as long as the length of Britain. Many of the drove roads in England today are of an unknown age, most are likely medieval but we see forms of drove roads existing as early as Roman Britain, with later drove roads often following similar alignments to the old Roman roads. Droving as a method of transporting livestock begun to decline in the 19th century with the introduction of rail transport, which allowed livestock to be moved faster and more efficiently across the country.

In Yorkshire, we see the Hambleton Drove Road which was used to navigate the way from Durham to York. What remains today is a 15-milelong ribbon of white limestone across the North York Moors. Hambleton is referred to by Daniel Defoe as ‘The New Market of the North’. This was not the only drove road in the North, in his interview with York Greenways Steve Masterman tells of his father driving cattle from Bishopthorpe along Copmanthorpe Lane to load them onto the train for sale at York Market, while Naburn station was closer as it was across the river as such it was easier access the rail station in town. Today many of these old drove roads have become roads still in use today, such as the route used by those such as Steve Masterman’s father in the 1940s.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drovers%27_road[accessed 21/11/2019]

http://www.localdroveroads.co.uk/yorks/ [accessed 21/11/2019]


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