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HER Number:MDV20441
Name:Roman road across Sourton Down

Summary

The remains of a Roman road survive as an earthwork across Sourton Down.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 542 917
Map Sheet:SX59SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSourton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSOURTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SW/37

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Cartographical Services, 1972, Okehampton bypass A30 south route, No.320/252047-051 (Aerial Photograph). SDV253699.

Balkwill, C. J. + Silvester, R. J., 1976, Earthworks on Sourton Down, near Okehampton, 86-89 (Article in Serial). SDV346220.

Road described and its date discussed.

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

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.

Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 156 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

Balkwill, C. J., 1977, Archaeology and Development in Rural Devon, 11-12 (Monograph). SDV217976.

This road may be part of the Roman road with associated with the Roman signal station.

King, A. C., 1979, A30 Okehampton Bypass: Final Report, No. 37 (Report - Survey). SDV343861.

Road shown on Courtenay estate map of 1780.

Dyer, M. J. + Manning, P. T., 1988 - 1998, Objective 5B: Okehampton to Polson Bridge Recreation and Land Management Initiative: Cultural Heritage Appraisal, 20 (Report - Assessment). SDV266287.

Weddell, P. J. + Pye, A. R., 1990, A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 1: Summary Report and Recommendations, 5 (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.

Pye, A. R., 1990, A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 2: Archaeological Evaluation of Sourton Down, 5, 7, 11 (Report - Assessment). SDV346205.

Shown on maps of 1765, 1800, 1809 and 1827. On the 1844 map the trackway is not depicted, and it forms a solid boundary line only at the western end. The road embankment was identified during an archaeological evaluation. A trench cut across the embankment revealed three road surfaces. The earliest, a compact gravel metalling surviving to 11.5 metres wide was interpreted as the truncated remains of a Roman road. This was overlain by a thin layer of turf containing a medieval pot sherd. Overlying this was a stone surface circa 4.0 metres wide which contained two possible ruts. A shallow ditch alongside the southern edge of the road may be contemporary with this phase. Later another heavily worn cobbled surface was laid on a bedding of clay.

Griffith, F., 1991, DAP/UQ (Aerial Photograph). SDV253710.

Reed, S. J., 1994, Archaeological Evaluation at East Linnacombe Farm, Sourton Down, 1 (Report - Evaluation). SDV346233.

Parts of the Roman alignment remained in use until the early 19th century as local trackways. By 1844 it had fallen out of use. The alignment is thought to have broadly followed the line of the existing trackway across the down, rejoining Bowerland Road near the railway bridge.

Weddell, P. J. + Reed, S. J., 1997, Excavations at Sourton Down 1986-1991: Roman Road, Deserted Medieval Hamlet and other Landscape Features, 39-147 (Article in Serial). SDV346224.

Dyer, M. J., 1997, Two Castles Trail Survey, Workshet (Worksheet). SDV269358.

roman road on Linnacombe Moor. Road surface excavated in advance of new A30 construction.

Fleming, A., 2012, Devon's Early Roads: Devon Archaeological Society Presidential Lecture 2011, 15, Fig. 9 (Article in Serial). SDV351751.

Roman road leading towards Hatherleigh.

Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 2015-2017, 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV361462.

Course of Roman road visible as earthwork and field boundaries across Sourton Down towards Bowerland Cross.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV217976Monograph: Balkwill, C. J.. 1977. Archaeology and Development in Rural Devon. Archaeology and Development in Rural Devon. DCRA Publication No. 2. Unknown. 11-12.
SDV253699Aerial Photograph: Cartographical Services. 1972. Okehampton bypass A30 south route. Unknown. No.320/252047-051.
SDV253710Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F.. 1991. DAP/UQ. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper) + Digital (Scan).
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. 5.
SDV266287Report - Assessment: Dyer, M. J. + Manning, P. T.. 1988 - 1998. Objective 5B: Okehampton to Polson Bridge Recreation and Land Management Initiative: Cultural Heritage Appraisal. Exeter Archaeology Report. 98.01. A4 Grip Bound + Digital. 20.
SDV269358Worksheet: Dyer, M. J.. 1997. Two Castles Trail Survey. Exeter Archaeology Report. Worksheet. Workshet.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 156.
SDV343861Report - Survey: King, A. C.. 1979. A30 Okehampton Bypass: Final Report. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. Mixed Archive Material. No. 37.
SDV346205Report - Assessment: Pye, A. R.. 1990. A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 2: Archaeological Evaluation of Sourton Down. Exeter Archaeology Report. 90.34. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5, 7, 11.
SDV346220Article in Serial: Balkwill, C. J. + Silvester, R. J.. 1976. Earthworks on Sourton Down, near Okehampton. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 34. Paperback Volume. 86-89.
SDV346224Article in Serial: Weddell, P. J. + Reed, S. J.. 1997. Excavations at Sourton Down 1986-1991: Roman Road, Deserted Medieval Hamlet and other Landscape Features. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 55. Paperback Volume. 39-147.
SDV346233Report - Evaluation: Reed, S. J.. 1994. Archaeological Evaluation at East Linnacombe Farm, Sourton Down. Exeter Archaeology Report. 94.31. A4 stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV351751Article in Serial: Fleming, A.. 2012. Devon's Early Roads: Devon Archaeological Society Presidential Lecture 2011. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 70. Paperback Volume. 15, Fig. 9.
SDV361462Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 2015-2017. 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs. Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. Photograph (Digital).
SDV363692Report - Survey: Balkwill, C. J.. 1976. Okehampton bypass No.2 (ii) north. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Rural Survey. Worksheet. [Mapped feature: #125575 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV18485Part of: Roman road westwards from Okehampton (Monument)
MDV4772Related to: FIELD SYSTEM in the Parish of Sourton (Monument)
MDV4771Related to: Redoubt on Sourton Down (Monument)
MDV51426Related to: Roman road at Fern Ridge, Sourton (Monument)
MDV62959Related to: Roman road on south-west side of Sourton Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:May 7 2020 2:01PM