I have been watching this subject for some while, and, indeed, have been
weighing up the 'evidence' one way and another.
This matter is unfortunately somewhat fraught with varied opinions from
different professional opinion, and, to date - it seems - never the twain
shall meet. I consider this a pity, since, with proper open and considered
debate, the matter will not be resolved. My opinion is that there are factors
to be considered on both sides... oh how this sounds like sitting on the
fence... not so.
From what I have read recently ( and I am not at this stage going to quote
same, simply for the reason that my Mother died yesterday and am not up to
fine detail just at the moment), that there is every reason to believe that
raised 'was' were erected for the passage of packhorse routes. They were
indeed many and in varied construction.
Old passage routes (W.Country particularly), were historically many and
varied, and followed all sorts of boundaries. They indeed criss-crossed all
over the place, simply due to whatever Port, destination or market they had
to reach... furthermore, and to complicate matters further, there were other
older routes that were partially or directly followed that were non mining
related, but, in some way shape or form became incorporated. This leads to
the question of what was where first... and there were many, BUT, the
packhorse routes needed a sounder construction... however... so did the main
footway routes... of which there were many. Do not forget we are not talking
about wagon or coach ways, these either followed entirely new routes due to
terrain, or partially followed the old routes where they were able.
Ok, this does not answer the original question of these so called
boundaries - or whatever one may call them. Raised 'walls' are common in some areas
for the use of packhorses. I have seen them myself. Such elevated
constructions can easily be mistaken for simple boundaries. Moorland terrain makes
this judgement even more difficult, but as far the West country is
concerned, don't be blinkered into thinking that such constructions are only to be
What I have said might stimulate conversation I hope. I am looking for
something to take my mind off things, and such a seemingly volatile subject
might just be the thing!!!