Watling Street by John Higgs review – the myths and stories of Brexit Britain

An aficionado of the counterculture journeys along the ancient route from Dover to Anglesey in search of glimmers of utopia

You might know Watling Street as a shortcut in the heart of the City of London where crumpled-looking office workers dash on their way to somewhere else or linger after work for an expensive pint. But as John Higgs explains, the street is more than a quaint rat run with a Dick Whittington vibe. While its origins are “far older than recorded history”, it remains one of the great highways of modern Britain, running virtually unbroken from Dover to Anglesey. You probably don’t recognise it because it mostly goes by other names: the A2, the A5 and, when it’s feeling fancy, the M6 Toll. Sometimes, as it wiggles its way through the market towns of central England, it becomes simply “the high street”.

Around the time of last year’s referendum, ...