Roads require continual maintenance to ensure they are fit for travellers but now seven of the world’s very oldest have been named.
Motoring experts from LeaseCar.uk have researched and compiled a list of seven of the oldest remaining roads and passageways on the globe, and one of the oldest can be found in England.
The oldest known paved road in the world can be found in Egypt and has been used for more than 4,000 years, but an ancient track in the UK is believed to have been used by traders for around 5,000 years.
In some cases, only parts of these routes still remain today, but others can be journeyed in much the same way as its original travellers will have done.
A spokesperson for LeaseCar.uk said: “Thousands of years ago, roads will have looked very different to those we’re familiar with today – many will have been little more than well-worn tracks or wide paths, for example.
“In ancient times, transport by river was far easier and faster than transport by road, but still, these roads served a purpose, and many will have been developed along the way to fit more in line with modern day requirements.”
- The Road to Giza, Egypt
The Road to Giza is a path that’s been beaten for more than 4,000 years. It is the oldest known paved road in the world, and it covers a distance of 7.5 miles from the Southwest of Cairo to the Quay located at Lake Moeris, which connects to the Nile. During its thousands of years of existence, the road was at one time used to transport enormous blocks of stone to Giza.
- The Nakasendo Highway, Japan
This narrow, 17th-century highway runs 310 miles along the shores of Lake Biwa, linking Kyoto and Edo (modern Tokyo). It was built along the route of an even older trail and was meant for horses and pedestrians, as the Japanese did not use carts. Parts of the tranquil route have been restored and preserved, which means that you have to walk them, as most of its original travellers will have done.
- The Silk Road, Rome – China
This passageway, which spanned across Asia and connects the centre of the Roman Empire, Rome, with the capital of the Han Dynasty at Chang’An in China, was first used around 200 BC and was an essential trade route for hundreds of years. Part of the Silk Road still exists, in the form of a paved highway connecting Pakistan and the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, China.
- The Ridgeway, UK
As part of the Icknield Way, The Ridgeway has been identified as Britain’s oldest road. The Anglo-Saxons mentioned it in the early 10th century and historians believe this ancient track has been in use by traders making their way from the Dorset coast in the west to The Wash in East Anglia for around 5,000 years. The Ridgeway is now a National Trail nearly 90 miles long and filled with historical sites from the Bronze and Iron Ages. Sadly, much of this road is closed to motor vehicles but it makes for a wonderful hiking trip.
- The Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail, Hong Kong
For centuries, people travelled along this rugged footpath between Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan in what is now Hong Kong’s New Territories. Today, both ends of the trail are embedded in an urban sprawl of malls and traffic jams, but the middle section remains a peaceful haven.
- The Old Great North Road, Australia
This road is known for two things: being a masterpiece of 19th-century engineering, and the fact forced convict labourers, some of them in leg irons, were used to build it. It started in Sydney and ended in Newcastle in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. Some sections even follow ancient Aboriginal tracks!
- The Old North Trail, North America
This trail originally stretched nearly 2,000 miles from Canada to Mexico, and was travelled by The Blackfeet Indians along the “backbone of the world” which Americans would later call the Rockies. It took the Blackfeet four years to go from end to end on trips to trade, make sacred journeys, or find a wife. You can visit fragments still visible in Glacier National Park in Montana.