4.3 The Road Network

While the enclosures surrounding Dussindale substantially augmented the area's defensive potential, the valley was relatively well connected to Norwich, with several major highways allowing easy access to the site (see Figure 13). The largest of these roads, extending north-east out of Norwich and stretching across Mousehold Heath between Sprowston and Great Plumstead, comprised Ravensgate Way, Herringferry Way, and Randworth Way, while Walsham Way passed to the north of Great Lumners Close and Peke Herne, with a spur of 'green way' descending to the south-east. After passing through the Gargytt Hills, this branch of Walsham Way diverged to cross the Old Ditch in two places, becoming Witton/Haltengate Way to the north and Reading Way to the south. The first of these routes, Haltengate Way, crossed the Old Ditch at the southern edge of the Twenty Acre Close and headed east between the Smee and Doles to Witton, passing by the northern edge of Cranly Close as it did so. The second, Reading Way, traversed the Old Ditch mid-way between the Twenty Acre Close and Readings Close, before crossing Dussindale and running into the Doles.

To the north of Haltengate Way, a further pair of roads, Hallgate and Heathgate Way, led west from Great Plumstead, terminating to the north and south of Drove Lane and emerging onto Mousehold Heath. Heathgate Way ran beneath the enclosures of Plumstead to the site of Brook Farm in Great Lumners Close, while Hallgate Way passed Plumstead Hall and threaded between the same closes and Peke Herne. As it did so, it was also joined by Pedgate Way, which descended from the north-east along the back of Peke Herne. Although these roads occupied near-identical positions to modern highways, they were recorded as 'ancient' by the 1812 enclosure award, and can be identified using Ward's court book (1576), conclusively demonstrating that they dated from the 16th century. Finally, at the southern edge of the diagram, the way from Norwich to Yarmouth shadowed the river eastwards through the enclosures and common fields of Thorpe to Readings Close. From here, the enclosure award and terriers confirm that it skirted along the bottom of the Doles and Postwick Field before connecting with the roads from Postwick, where the Brundal Way split off at a south-eastern angle. The road from Norwich to Yarmouth would have provided an easy and direct route from Kett's camp on Mount Surrey to Dussindale during the night march of the 26/27 August, allowing the rebels to transport troops and artillery to the battlefield without leaving the highway.