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HER Number:MDV18485
Name:Roman road westwards from Okehampton


Conjectural route of the Roman road westwards from Okehampton towards the Tamar. The line of the road is particularly clear across Sourton Down where earthworks survive and where stretches of metalled road have been found during excavations. Beyond Bridestowe the names Old Street Down and Portgate probably indicate the route. It is suggested that the road then ran along the ridge to Tinhay, descending steeply to Lifton. Beyond Lifton the line of the road survives in field boundaries. See associated monuments for details of individual sites along the route.


Grid Reference:SX 471 900
Map Sheet:SX49SE
Admin AreaDevon
Admin AreaCornwall
Civil ParishBridestowe
Civil ParishLewtrenchard
Civil ParishLifton
Civil ParishMarystow
Civil ParishOkehampton
Civil ParishOkehampton Hamlets
Civil ParishSourton
Civil ParishStowford
Civil ParishThrushelton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLEWTRENCHARD
Ecclesiastical ParishLIFTON
Ecclesiastical ParishMARYSTOW
Ecclesiastical ParishOKEHAMPTON
Ecclesiastical ParishSOURTON
Ecclesiastical ParishSTOWFORD
Ecclesiastical ParishTHRUSHELTON
Ecclesiastical ParishBRIDESTOWE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX38NE/515

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ROAD (Constructed, Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD (Between))

Full description

Margary, I. D., 1967, Roman Roads in Britain, 121 (Monograph). SDV24025.

Margary suggests that the Roman road out of Okehampton is the old main road called High Street and that it continued in straight lengths for some distance, indicated by the names Old Street Down and Portgate. To the west of Portgate, there is an older road along the spine of the ridge towards Tinhay.

Balkwill, C. J., 1976, Okehampton bypass No.2 (ii) north (Report - Survey). SDV363692.

The road survives as a raised earthwork running south-west -north-east across Sourton Down from SX53899149 to SX54569202. Its course continues north-east following existing field boundaries to lead into Bowerland Road at SX55079288. The course of this road, which is roughly straight, is shown on Donn's map of 1765, Ordnance Survey 1809 1 inch map and by a dotted line on the Tithe Map of 1844. Its date is uncertain but it must predate the field system on Sourton Down. It was first seen on aerial photos.

Weddell, P. J. + Pye, A. R., 1990, A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 1: Summary Report and Recommendations (Report - Assessment). SDV264659.

The road is exceptionally well preserved over much of its length, and represents one of the very few instances in Devon where the line of a Roman road survives as a visible monument.

Weddell, P. J., 1990, A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 6: Alternative Routes A-E Preliminary Assessment (Report - Assessment). SDV351636.

The route of the Roman road [west of Lifton Down] is preserved by field boundaries.

Turton, S. D., 1996, Archaeological Assessment of SWW Roadford Pump Storage, 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV20550.

The old A30 is thought to be on the approximate line of the Roman road, and the main medieval route into Cornwall is likely to have even more closely mirrored the A30. In places the three main phases of this road, Roman, medieval and post-medieval, are likely to have been contiguous.

Ordnance Survey, 2020, MasterMap 2020 (Cartographic). SDV363413.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV20550Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D.. 1996. Archaeological Assessment of SWW Roadford Pump Storage. Exeter Archaeology Report. 96.02. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV24025Monograph: Margary, I. D.. 1967. Roman Roads in Britain. Roman Roads in Britain. Hardback Volume. 121.
SDV264659Report - Assessment: Weddell, P. J. + Pye, A. R.. 1990. A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 1: Summary Report and Recommendations. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 90.33. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV351636Report - Assessment: Weddell, P. J.. 1990. A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 6: Alternative Routes A-E Preliminary Assessment. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 90.38. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV363413Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap 2020. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #125582 ]
SDV363692Report - Survey: Balkwill, C. J.. 1976. Okehampton bypass No.2 (ii) north. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Rural Survey. Worksheet.

Associated Monuments

MDV63907Parent of: Roman and medieval road in the parish of Stowford (Monument)
MDV20441Parent of: Roman road across Sourton Down (Monument)
MDV51426Parent of: Roman road at Fern Ridge, Sourton (Monument)
MDV35628Parent of: Roman road at Lewdown, Marystow (Monument)
MDV18487Parent of: Roman road at Portgate, Stowford (Monument)
MDV128264Parent of: Roman road at Tinhay, Lifton (Monument)
MDV44373Parent of: Roman road in the parish of Lifton (Monument)
MDV62958Parent of: Roman road on Sourton Down (Monument)
MDV62959Parent of: Roman road on south-west side of Sourton Down (Monument)
MDV55843Related to: Cropmark in field at Polson Farm, Lifton (Monument)
MDV18496Related to: High Street, Okehampton (Monument)
MDV20462Related to: Hollow way between Place Cross and Beacon Down Cross (Monument)
MDV44371Related to: Road in the parish of Sourton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 8 2020 10:38AM