Stane Street, sometimes called Stone Street (Stane is simply an old spelling of "stone" which was commonly used to differentiate paved Roman roads from muddy native trackways), is the modern name given to an important Roman road in England that linked London to the Roman town of Noviomagus Reginorum or Regnentium renamed Chichester by the conquering Saxons.
Stane Street is especially interesting as it shows clearly the principles of planning that the Romans used. The overall alignment is based on an accurate line "sighted" from London Bridge to Chichester, with subtle local variations to allow for not only the nature of the intervening terrain (gentle slopes are used to climb the line of the South Downs) but also the underlying geology (the preferred line stays on chalk ground and avoids London clay as far as possible).
There are four known posting stations along Stane Street where official messengers could change horses and travellers could rest. These are at Merton Abbey, Dorking, Alfoldean and Hardham. These stations were normally rectangular fortified sites of about 1 hectare (2.5 acres). The station at Alfoldean has been excavated.
The alignment turns west at this point to make a beeline for Chichester, and passes the notable Roman villa at Bignor, before making a slight detour from the line where it climbs the escarpment of the South Downs. At Hardham south west of Pulborough there was a junction with the Greensand Way road to Lewes and a posting station near the junction. Up on the open heath of the downs the line of the road can be followed very well on foot and is free of modern roads and paths. Walking south from Bignor Hill one soon comes to open sheep grazed pasture at Gumber farm where the scale of the agger of the road can be clearly seen. The spire of Chichester cathedral can be seen above the distant trees, slightly to the right of the road line as the road heads for Chichester's east gate. Further on at Eartham Woods where the Monarch's Way long-distance path follows the route, the flint surface of the well preserved road is exposed, the trees are mostly cut back to the boundary ditches, and the road seems little different from the time when the Legions left Britain. Although the invading Saxons made Chichester the capital of the South Saxon kingdom only the southern 7 kilometres of this superbly engineered road into the western weald have remained in use as the A285.