The sighting line was called the ley or lay. Numbers of farms and places on sighting lines bear this first name, viz., the Ley Farms, Weobley, Grafton, Stoke Edith, and many other places. Wyaston Leys, Monmouth, Tumpey Ley and Red Lay, near Letton, and Redley in Cusop parish.
There were cleverly planned high level mountain tracks which, although on an average sighting line, could not (being on the side of a mountain ridge) keep straight, but took a serpentine course, in round the cwms, and out round the headlands. But viewed edgeways they are a straight line (see Plate VIII) as keeping a uniform level or slope. Such are found high on the Malvern ridge, the road (on three leys) through Oldcastle to Blaen Olchon, the lovely Bicknor Walks near Symonds Yat, the Precipice Walk near Dolgelly.
There are signs of parallel trackways quite close together, whether one to take the place of an older one I do not know. And between Malvern Wells and Hanley Swan are three symmetrical triangular woods (see Map, Plate XIX.), which I find indicate parallel roads, one-sixth mile apart, running northwards, and with a collecting road here at right angles, which comes over the ridge and through Mainstone Court. There are six of these equidistant parallel roads.
The fact of the ley is embedded in the rural mind. A country man in directing your path will invariably bring in the now misleading, but once correct, "keep straight on." It was once absolutely necessary to "keep straight on" in the ley, for if you did not you would be de-leyed on your journey. This is not said as a pun, but as in some succeeding sentences, to point out the place of the ley in the evolution of our language.
Where the ley laid in a wood became a glade (see Frontispiece). We came through one over Worsell Wood in a Club excursion on our way to Gladestree. Where the ley had lain for a time often became
a lane. This last noun became a verb used in the 18th century enclosure acts, where ground was "laned out." Where it was so laned out it became land. There is a Laynes Farm near Huntley.
It is still a common phrase to go out to see "the lay (or lie) of the land."
The trackways are chiefly 6 feet 6 in. to 9 feet wide. I illustrate two pitched causeways at Longtown, a fine one through the Monnow near the Tan House, and the other close to a ford over Olchon Brook (Plate VI.). Another through the farm yard at Ingestone (Ross) going to the centre of the sighting pond (Plate VII.).