Before railways, your ancestor would use turnpike roads to get quickly between cities in the 18th and most of the 19th century in England and Wales.
The turnpike road system was not planned centrally but resulted from local enterprise, regulated through Acts of Parliament. Bodies of local trustees were given powers to levy tolls on the users of a specified stretch of road, generally around 20 miles in length. Using money secured against this toll income, a trust arranged to improve and maintain a particular stretch of turnpike road.
The development of the system meant average speeds increased from 4 mph in the 1700s to 8 mph in the 1800s
Find out just about all you could want to know about turnpikes, gates, tollhouses and associated infrastructure, with maps by county, at http://www.turnpikes.org.uk/.
This topic was a presentation at a Travel and Mobility Seminar on 13 May this year and summarized in the Journal of One-Name Studies, Volume 14, Issue 11 July-Sept 2023,