INTRODUCTION

The Roman road of the Silver Route, which linked the cities of Emerita Augusta (Merida) and Asturica  Augusta (Astorga), has historically constituted the principal support of the Peninsular west . Against the self-interested actions of those, who under the protection of the spurious denomination of Silver Route, coinciding with the current A road N-630, try to usurp its identity, the organization “Association of Towns in Defence of the Silver Route" works for the recovery, respect and acknowledgement of its historical and heritage singularity, besides the promotion, help and collaboration of the small towns which form it and the commitment to the people who live there.

HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER

According to its statutes, all the towns, rural districts and Associations, which have a relation with the road of the Silver Route and its historical uses (such as Cattle track and Way of St James) may become members. 

For such purpose, they need  an appropriate written request for a membership agreement, taken by the Board of Directors, in which  they may express their will of incorporation and the acceptance of the Statutes.

The Registration must be requested by the presiding- Mayor of the Corporation (or the president of the Association) by means of a document addressed to the president of the Association  enclosing a document of agreement of the Board. (See application form and Statutes).

THE SILVER ROUTE TODAY

The Roman roads did not all have the same type of construction, varying substantially in terms of finishing of the upper cover, which could range from a strong pavement to a layer of compacted gravel. These different types coexisted in the Silver Route, which was paved until the crossing of the river Tormes in Salamanca, changing its final cover from this point. Several hypotheses have attempted to explain these differences by the administrative divisions of the Empire, or even by the scarcity of stone materials in the area.

Either way, the truth is that the current continuation of the Roman road from Salamanca is particularly difficult, not only for the reasons stated, but because of the fact that the modern agricultural organization of the territory through land consolidation has not respected the historical roads, resulting in their virtual disappearance in many ways

PROBLEMS OF THE ROMAN ROAD

Wire fences, fences, and wrought-iron gates (open or closed)
On numerous occasions the Roman road passes through private estates where, in general, the right of way has not been respected. Thus, wire fences  interrupting the path are common, requiring to jump them, as the open gates that allow continuity are indeed rare. It is therefore necessary to raise awareness of both the owners and passers-by in order to devise solutions that combine both interests. 

Abscence of bridges 
The Roman road passed through numerous volumes of water, crossing them by means of several solutions which ranged from  great bridges to simple sewers. Currently, most have disappeared, making the transit really difficult in certain rivers and streams, and even impossible in certain times of the year. The cases of the River Aljucen crossing at the end of Mirandilla and the River Jerte at the end of Carcaboso are particularly significant as well as the stream of Chortera del Canalizo, in the district of Casas de Monte, and the stream of La Encina, in the district of Castellanos de Villiquera.
 
Crops  and land consolidation
The agricultural planning by land consolidation has made several sections of the Roman road disappear, particularly in Castilla y León. The old ways have not been respected when proposing it, resulting in the destruction of their routes by the farm work.
 
In the same state, we have more visible sections that have not been object of land consolidation,but where the ploughing has spread to the solid ground of the Silver Route, and are even reducing the width of the cattle routes coinciding with it.

Paved roads on the Roman road
Another problem is the paving that has made the stony cover of the Silver Route disappear.
 
The proposed solution goes through the marking of the identity of both routes, the modern and the Roman.
 
Constructions and industrial estates on the Roman Road.
In the outskirts of urban areas, the construction of industrial estates has led to the disappearance of the original course.
 
On the other hand, the access to urban areas have, in general, a deplorable  neglect, should its tidying- up be advisable.
 
Disappearance and re-use of milestones
Milestones are still kept in large numbers throughout the route. Nevertheless, they have been re-used over time for very different usages from the original ones, such as boundary stones in properties and demarcations, cattle troughs, stands for gates and  wrought-iron gates and even as columns in several constructions. For this reason, there are others moved from their original places coexisting with the ones kept in situ.
 
Wrong or poor Signposting
To give the Roman road value, it is of paramount interest to promote the real transit on it, either on foot, or by bike. To do so, apart from solving the above problems, a proper signposting of its route is vital.
 
This fact has been worsened by the yellow marks of painting that the associations of friends of the St. James way have made throughout the route. Although they have been done with a good will, which we do not doubt at all, they follow the principle of taking advantage of any existing  path, whether or not it coincides with the Roman road. What you get with this is not only to confuse the traveller, but also to contribute to the loss of the Roman road due to lack of use, avoiding the pressure on property owners and administrations that involves the fact that transit through the Silver Route is a permanent claim to its proper conservation.
 
It is therefore imperative a proper signposting of the Southern Way of St. James so as to not to change the real course of the Roman road, and in case they coincide with each other this circumstance must be reported, always  prevailing, as the main criterion, the Roman road.
 
Water supply: the absence of fountains
The transit through the Silver Route involves that often, we find ourselves in nature and far from population centres, which, moreover, is one of its main attractions. However, the provisioning is necessary and while food can be solved by stocking up at the beginning of each day, water is a major problem, especially in view of the summer months. 
 
Provision of services
The emerging use of this route as long-haul route is a recent phenomenon. For this reason, the reception infrastructure for the walkers is precarious. This forces to do excessively long stages in order to find overnight accommodation in hostels and even campings, hotel complexes or rural cottages. This situation also affects the characteristic absence of light refreshment places, only excepting, at this time, the existence of some grocery shops or markets that some of the locations hold a given day of the week.

PROPOSALS FOR ACTION 

As already mentioned, the development of the Route goes through an immediate and clear signposting that will be identical in all the way and well differentiated from St. James Way in the South and West of the  historical Cattle routes of Soria and Vizana. 
 
The second aspect to consider is the installation of information points for walkers, cyclists and people who want to make the journey by car using the conventional routes. 
 
The third issue is the provision of a rational infrastructure of accommodation in the form of lodgings, provided they do not overshadow the original character and adventure that  the journey has. At all times, travellers must bear in mind the idea that they are passing through a Roman road, the beginning of a natural corridor in which the sediment of history has been deposited. The Silver Route must be regarded as a CULTURAL JOURNEY in which there are so ample incentives such as interest, even for those who want to tackle physical challenges or recreation.

Produced by: Imagen MAS / indi.es

Graphic designs and web developer: indi.es

The Route in 3D: Inventa Multimedia

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