For thousands of years before the road network was developed in the 18th Century (Turnpikes); farms, villages and towns were connected by narrow tracks called byways. They were the means for people, animals and goods to travel around the country. Because they were not surfaced, they would have been impossibly muddy during most of the year.
Shallow rivers and streams were crossed by means of fords. When the water was deep, more or less sophisticated bridges were built. They were called Packhorse Bridges after the horses and ponies which carried commercial goods in side-baskets or panniers.
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This narrow Pack Bridge connects the formerly sheep-wealthy villages of Woolverton and Rode in Somerset over the River Frome which, as you can see, would be impossible to cross when it is in flood.