Through Towcester to Weedon

North of Stony Stratford the road passes Towcester Racecourse as it enters the small town of Towcester. Beyond here the road switch-backs on to Weedon Beck. On this section there are some sharp bends, these are Roman bends. When they had to they preferred to change direction sharply rather than build sweeping curves. Telford cut through seven hills to improve the road at this point.

Weedon is a natural route through the low hills of the area. Not only the A5 but also the Grand Union Canal, London & Birmingham Railway and, most recently, the M1 pass through here.

It was at Weedon that the Barracks and Powder Rooms were built during the Napoleonic Wars. The authorities were convinced there would

be an invasion, Weedon was considered to be

at the very centre of the country and hence the safest place for an inland HQ. They also built a pavilion here for George III to flee to should Windsor have come under threat from the supposed invaders.

Weedon is also where Telford’s road leaves

Watling Street (they will come together again in Shropshire). Telford’s road (yellow on map above) took a routhe through the major cities of Coventry and Birmingham, whereas the Romans kept to the Trent Valley en route to Wroxeter. In order to improve the speed of the Holyhead Road, the 1919 Ministry of Transport classification took the A5 along the Roman route, avoiding the cities.