HomeProjects > Chalk, Cherries & Chairs > Routes to the Past

Routes to the Past Resources

 Useful Resources


Beacons of the Past LiDAR Portal

This website allows you to view the LiDAR imagery for the whole of the Chilterns AONB and overlay it with modern & historical maps and aerial photography. As such it is an invaluable tool for identifying historical routeways such as sunken lanes and ancient trackways. Once you make an account, you can access the LiDAR data, learn how to interpret the data from step by step tutorials, and contribute to the Beacons of the Past and Routes to the Past projects by recording archaeological features.

This is a completely free website that requires no downloads. As mentioned previously, this website is a key resource for recording the routeways – by drawing round them you can define exactly which sections you are talking about. Don’t forget to include “Routes to the Past” and the route ID in the Notes box!


Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past

This is the database containing the Historic Environment Record (HER) for the county. This includes archaeological excavations, find-spots, earthworks and other sites, and historic buildings and landscapes. It is a great resource for exploring the history of an area.

Advanced Search:

This can be used to produce the HER data for each recorded site including the original report cards and photos. Sites can be searched by type, so you can find all roads or barrows recorded in the HER, or by location or using keywords. The original report cards and photos can offer an insight into what the site looked like before today, and can throw up some details that have slipped past the digitisation.

Parish Summaries:

Provides an overview of each parish and their main sites or periods of interest.

Historic Environment Map:

A new interactive map showing the HER for the county of Buckinghamshire. This is particularly useful in visualising where notable sites may be along or in relation to your routeway.


British History Online: Victoria County History


The Victoria County History is an encyclopaedic record of England’s places and people through history.  It describes Buckinghamshire by parish, and may provide useful insights, or references to specific routeways used.


National Library of Scotland: OS maps

This allows a view of various first/early editions of the OS map of the UK as a seamless overlay on a modern map, allowing a comparison of the route network of an area between different periods


Old Maps Online

A collection of digitised historic maps of the local area, similar to the National Library of Scotland’s resource, but occasionally offering older larger scale maps which can help in the identification of long distance routeways.


Heritage Gateway

This site cross-searches over 60 different resources, allowing you to search key-words such as a routeway name or location and view the accumulated results all in one place. It is somewhat clunky, but can be persuaded to produce useful results with a bit of tweaking.


Buckinghamshire Rights of Way

This online map can be used to view public rights if way in the county, and may be more up to date than some OS maps, but equally may not be correct in some locations.


Sharing Wycombe’s Old Photographs

This website allows you to search the several collections of old photographs taken in the Chilterns during the 19th to early 20th century. This could be particularly useful for seeing how some of the routeways looked before the expansion of the road network with the rise of the motor car.


Britain From Above

A free to view map of aerial photos of the UK that date from 1919-1953. These allow a unique view of the countryside and urban areas of the UK during this time, and can show many features that were lost, built over or developed in the second half of the twentieth century. 


Google Earth Pro

A platform to view multiple different flights of aerial photography. Its most useful function is the historical imagery (the little clock icon), which can show how an area has changed through time, and allows you to view images from 1940 and then more regularly from the 80s onward. This is free to download and use.



Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies

The Buckinghamshire County Archives house a large amount of physical material, some of which will be particularly useful for certain routeways. Visits to access the archives as a member of the public requires you to book a space, but allows you to view tithe maps and other historical maps of parishes, estates and farms, alongside written records focusing on various aspects of Buckinghamshire’s past. We will be arranging some training days in the use of the archives in 2020.



How to Research the Routes to the Past of the Chilterns

This Research Guide explains the project in more detail, providing recommendations on how to get started studying routeways, and what resources will help you in your research. The risk Assessment below details the potential risks assosciated with the project and details mitigation precautions that should be followed.

pdf image Routes to the Past Project Guide 

pdf image Risk Assessment


The Record Sheets

The Routes to the Past Record Sheets provide you with a set of criteria to consider when approaching a routeway, and these have been split broadly into three themes.

  • Field Record Sheet: focusses on what you can see today when visiting or from modern maps.
  • Historical Record Sheet: this is aimed more towards historical and contemporary resources such as maps, photos and archives.
  • Community Record Sheet: a general form for recording local stories, anecdotes, poems, songs etc. inspired or relating to a routeway

Use these sheets as a starting point for your investigation. If there are further details that don’t seem to fit any specific sheet, feel free to record them how you see fit. 

pdf imageField Record Sheet (pdf)                  word doc imageField Record Sheet (word)

pdf imageHistorical Record Sheet (pdf)            word doc imageHistorical Record Sheet (word)

pdf imageCommunity Record Sheet (pdf)        word doc imageCommunity Record Sheet (word)



Examples of Completed Record Sheets can be seen here, which will hopefully help you get an idea of what you might record

 pdf imageExample - Field Record Sheet

pdf imageExample - Historical Record Sheet


map icon

Chilterns Map

Find walks, cycle routes, rides, places to visit
Search the map

Stay in Touch

Sign up for our email newsletter to ensure you never miss out on news about the Chilterns, just enter your email address below.

See our Privacy Policy

Don’t forget, you can always follow us on our social media channels

Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr RSS

Bookmark and Share