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HER Number:MDV8434
Name:Roman Road between Prestons and North Down, Colebrooke


Possible course of the Roman road to the south of Colebrooke. It is suggested that the road eastwards from the fort at North Tawton turned to the south-east in the vicinity of Preston Farm, its alignment indicated by a long line of hedgerows. It is believed to have crossed the River Troney in the vinicty of the modern bridge and then continued down the Yeo valley to the south of Neopardy and Gunstone Mill towards Uton. However, a road is also clearly visible heading straight on towards Keymelford and doubt has now been expressed about this being a Roman road.


Grid Reference:SX 762 989
Map Sheet:SX79NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishColebrooke
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCOLEBROOKE

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and cropmarks of possible Roman road and fort to south-west of Colebrooke

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX79NE/4
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

REED, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1862.

Possibly crossed the river on or near the site of troney bridge (sx79ne/63/1), but bridge reinforcement work has destroyed any remains.(reed).

MAXFIELD IN KEPPIE, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV38901.

Road metalling visible in the east bank of the r. Troney (stevens in megaw). Undoubted but undated agger clearly visible in both banks of the troney (maxfield in keppie).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV38906.

Aph=os 69/405/016-7(018-0869)in exeter university geography dept.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV38907.

Megaw, v. S (ed)/to illustrate the monuments. /(1976)242/c. E. Stevens:the sacred wood.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV38908.

Keppie, k (ed)/roman frontiers studies,1979/bar int. Ser.71(1980)300/ v. A. Maxfield:the roman military occupation of sw england:further light on fresh problems/copy in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV38910.

Maxwell, g. S. + wilson, d. R. /britannia/18(1987)42/air reconnaissance in roman britain 1977-1984.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV38911.

Reed, s. /archaeological recording during bridge reinforcement,troney bridge,yeoford/(1992)1/(emafu report 92.53).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV38912.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV38913.

Ea/archaeological assessment of tongue end to crediton water main replacement/(1998)9/(ea report 98.42).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV38914.

Des=ea/archaeological assessment of swwl mid devon water mains rehabilitation schemes (overall route)/(2000)5/(ea report 00.21).

Margary, I. D., 1967, Roman Roads in Britain, 120 (Monograph). SDV24025.

Margary suggests that the Roman road from North Tawton turned south-east near Preston, the new alignment indicated by a long line of hedgerows as far as the crossing of the River Troney to the south of Pennylands. Margery states that traces of the road remain beside some of the hedgerows.
Beyond Pennylands Margary suggests that the road ran along the southern bank of the River Yeo past Neopardy to Gunston Mills towards Uton, marked by further rows of hedgelines.

Lambert, M. J., 1973, Roads to the Roman Camp at North Tawton, 136-137 (Article in Serial). SDV274717.

The hedgeline running along the hill summit near Preston Farm on the road to Colebrooke may be the remains of a Roman road. To the north lie fields OS 509,515,565 and 572. On the south lie fields 519, 573,574,588 and 589. After field 783 another hedge starts on the same alignment, with fields 571 and 590 to the north and field 832 to the south. A strip of barren land, about 6m wide, runs alongside the hedge in some fields particularly 573, 574 and 588. A mixture of stone and clay, could have been a clay embankment. If it was a Roman road, it probably continued towards the Yeoford-Hittisleigh road and then down the Yeo valley. A number of small embankments south of the river to the south of Neopardy and Gunston Mills could be further remains of a Roman road.

Maxfield, V. A., 1980, The Roman Military Occupation of South-West England: Further Light and Fresh Problems, 300 (Article in Monograph). SDV224826.

The case for the road is based on the straight alignment of the hedgebanks and an undoubted, although undated, agger which is visible in both banks of the River Troney.

Griffith, F., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 56 (Monograph). SDV64198.

Line of a a probable Roman road at Colebrook. The line has been followed by some of the field boundaries but, particularly, where these have been removed, the parchmark of the buried road can be seen to be broader than the hedges themselves.
The was part of the main route into Cornwall in the Roman period. It ran from Exeter past Crediton, westwards to the military complex at North Tawton, then to the fort at Okehampton and on to Launceston.

Reed, S., 1992, Archaeological Recording During Bridge Reinforcement, Troney Bridge, Yeoford, 1 (Report - Assessment). SDV355112.

The line of the Roman road is preserved in the alignment of hedgebanks running along the spine of a ridge between two small valleys. Evidence from aerial photos suggest that the Roman road was aligned towards a crossing point of the River Troney close to the present bridge.
During reinforcement work in 1992 trenches were dug at either end of the bridge without archaeological recording. Limited examination of the trenches failed to identify road surface, make-up or associated ditches.

Exeter Archaeology, 1998, Archaeological Assessment of Tongue End to Crediton Water Main Replacement (Report - Assessment). SDV323202.

Exeter Archaeology, 1998, Archaeological Assessment of Tongue End to Crediton Water Main Replacement, 9 (Report - Assessment). SDV323202.

The road is believed to have crossed the River Troney on or near the site of the present bridge.

Kaye, S., 2019, Map of Roman roads Exeter Hinterland (Interpretation). SDV363001.

It was previously thought that the road eastwards from North Tawton Roman fort turned to the south-east below Colebrooke. However, Lidar imagery cleary shows that the military road headed straight towards Crediton to Keymelford. There is now some scepticism about the south-east deviation being a Roman road.

Toller, H., Unknown, Probable North Down Roman Road (Aerial Photograph). SDV356131.

Possible Roman road visible on aerial photos at SX761990 [following hedgeline and cropmarks on either side of possible Roman fort].

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1862Migrated Record: REED.
SDV224826Article in Monograph: Maxfield, V. A.. 1980. The Roman Military Occupation of South-West England: Further Light and Fresh Problems. Roman Frontier Studies 1979: Papers Presented to the 12th International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies. Photocopy + Digital. 300.
SDV24025Monograph: Margary, I. D.. 1967. Roman Roads in Britain. Roman Roads in Britain. Hardback Volume. 120.
SDV274717Article in Serial: Lambert, M. J.. 1973. Roads to the Roman Camp at North Tawton. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 105. A5 Paperback. 136-137.
SDV323202Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 1998. Archaeological Assessment of Tongue End to Crediton Water Main Replacement. Exeter Archaeology Report. 98.42. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV355112Report - Assessment: Reed, S.. 1992. Archaeological Recording During Bridge Reinforcement, Troney Bridge, Yeoford. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 92.53. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV356131Aerial Photograph: Toller, H.. Unknown. Probable North Down Roman Road. Photograph (Digital).
SDV363001Interpretation: Kaye, S.. 2019. Map of Roman roads Exeter Hinterland. Digital.
SDV38901Migrated Record: MAXFIELD IN KEPPIE.
SDV38906Aerial Photograph:
SDV38907Migrated Record:
SDV38908Migrated Record:
SDV38910Migrated Record:
SDV38911Migrated Record:
SDV38912Aerial Photograph:
SDV38913Migrated Record:
SDV38914Migrated Record:
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 56.

Associated Monuments

MDV20580Related to: Roman Fort, Colebrooke (Monument)
MDV125746Related to: Roman Road south of Colebrooke (Monument)
MDV6863Related to: Roman Road to East of North Tawton Fort (Monument)
MDV45489Related to: Troney Bridge, Colebrooke (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 19 2019 6:06PM