|Watling Street near Rochester, Kent|
When the Romans arrived, they paved it, starting from where they landed at Richborough (Latin Rutupiae, meaning "muddy estuary") – where today you can still see the remains of a Roman fort and amphitheatre.
|Watling Street, Richborough|
The Roman road went to Canterbury and Rochester, then continued to a ford on the Thames at a place that the Anglo-Saxons would name Thorney Isle (yes, there were thorns). Here, 600 years after the Romans left Britain, Edward the Confessor would build the palace and abbey of Westminster.
The road did not, originally, go through London because there was no bridge. Once a bridge was built, though, in about A.D. 80, what we know today as London’s Watling Street would have led across the bridge into the city, then out of Roman Londinium through the Newgate, along what is today Holborne Street to meet up with the western segment of Watling Street at Tyburn. From there the road went north in a straight line to St. Albans, dubbed by the Romans Verulamium (meaning: "the town above the marsh"), and named Wæclingaceaster (meaning: "Roman fort of Wacol’s people") by the Anglo-Saxons, from which the name Watling Street is derived.
|Watling Street, London|
From High Cross the Roman Road continued northwest to the fort at Viriconium, modern day Wroxeter, 230 miles from its starting point at Richborough. Today you can leave the A5 at Haygate and take the Roman Road to see the remains of Roman Viriconium and a reconstructed villa.
|Roman ruins at Wroxeter|
|Replica Roman villa at Wroxeter|
|Watling Street, Leintwardine, Herefordshire|
When in A.D. 60 Boudicca led a rebellion against the Romans, her army attacked and burned London (and the bridge), and the legions escaped by way of Watling Street, heading northwest. Boudicca’s army followed, and the two forces met near its junction with the Fosse Way.