Link road marks Cromwell's famous victory and protesters' defeat

Click to follow
THIS IS the site of the 1645 Civil War Battle of Naseby, Oliver Cromwell's famous victory but in recent times scene of defeat for anti-road campaigners, writes Christian Wolmar. For yesterday, John MacGregor, Secretary of State for Transport, opened this final 17-mile section of the A14, built at a cost of pounds 210m to link the A1 with the M1 in Northamptonshire.

The road lies about half a mile south of the main field of battle (see map, right) where 5,000 troops died. The Naseby church spire can be seen in the photograph, which looks east, at right background. Cromwell's forces built up to the left of where the link road runs, before engaging the King's forces over the hill.

After a 15-year legal fight, the Department of Transport won the modern skirmish. Mr MacGregor called it the most important new strategic route since the M40, adding that careful route selection, the planting of 1 million trees, shrubs and hedges, and the construction of badger tunnels and deer fencing had minimised the environmental impact.

(Photograph omitted)