AERIAL photographs of the region taken over the past 100 years can now be viewed via a new online tool.

The Aerial Photography Explorer tool, launched by Historic England, will cover nearly 30 per cent of the country and will allow users to search an online map showing more than 400,000 aerial photographs from 1919 to the present day.

Users will be able to browse through a variety of shots, including of the remains of ancient archaeology in Northumberland and St James' Park football stadium in 1927, the year the club won the First Division championship.

A fascinating image at Chew Green between Rochester and Alwinton shows how a light dusting of snow highlights the ditches and banks of Roman military defences. The site includes the overlapping remains of two temporary camps, two fortlets and a fort, indicating that this location was adapted and reoccupied by the Roman army over a number of years.

Hexham Courant: Roman caps at Chew Green, Northumberland.Roman caps at Chew Green, Northumberland.

Around 300,000 of the images are the work of Historic England’s Aerial Investigation and Mapping team, which was set up in 1967 to take photographs from the air in a bid to discover new archaeological sites and create archaeological maps.

It also worked to monitor the condition of historic sites across the country.

The remaining 100,000 images come from the Historic England's archive aerial photography collection, which numbers over two million images in total.

By opening up the images, Historic England hopes to allow residents to make their own discoveries about their local areas.

It is also hoped the tool will be used to help planning, heritage projects and archaeological investigations.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “I am delighted that our new online tool will allow people to access easily our wonderful collection of aerial images and enjoy the historic photography that our team uses every day to unlock the mysteries of England’s past.”

To use the tool, visit