Roman road found in Puddletown Forest

Dorset Echo: English Heritage’s Pete Wilson and Laurence Degoul of The Forestry Commission English Heritage’s Pete Wilson and Laurence Degoul of The Forestry Commission

A ROMAN road has been unearthed in the depths of Puddletown Forest.

Forestry workers discovered the 1,600-year-old remains of the road during clearance work.

A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said: “By clear felling a plantation of Norway Spruce fir trees in Puddletown Forest, the Forestry Commission has painstakingly uncovered one of the UK’s most remarkable sections of ancient Roman road.”

Now, in partnership with English Heritage, the Forestry Commission is undertaking an extensive restoration project to reveal the hidden archaeological treasure.

The 26-metre wide road is a combination of a central cobbled ‘street’, which would have been used for rapid troop movements, and outer ‘droving’ roads for livestock.

It is thought the road is part of the Ackling Dyke Roman Road, built to link Old Sarum (Salisbury) with the Roman fort at Exeter.

Pete Wilson, head of research policy (Roman archaeology) for English Heritage said: “Roman roads were built in support of the military and civilian administration of a newly conquered province.

“The well-preserved length surviving in Puddletown Forest pays eloquent testimony to the power and determination of the Romans to consolidate their new territory. The scale and solidity of their work has allowed the road to survive the 1,600 years since the end of Roman Britain.”

Previously a stretch of Roman road was uncovered running through Thorncombe Woods outside Dorchester.

Dorset Countryside’s inland team worked to clear the road, a scheduled ancient monument that runs through the woods and heathland made famous by Thomas Hardy as Egdon Heath.

Laurence Degoul, the Forestry Commission’s Wareham-based forester, said: “We are delighted with the results of this project.

“Work started last winter and we should see the final clearing of any remaining brash, plus the erection of some simple signage, imminently.

“Everyone involved – including our timber harvesting contractor Euroforest – has worked incredibly hard to ensure the archaeological significance of the area could be fully restored for local people to enjoy.”

She added: “We’re thrilled that local people can now find echoes of the Roman Empire and its engineering prowess hidden amongst the unassuming trees of Puddletown Forest.” An English Heritage spokesman said the organisation is ‘grateful’ for the Forestry Commission’s work.

Comments (9)

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4:22pm Sat 29 Jan 11

iampuzzled says...

'An English Heritage spokesman said the organisation is ‘grateful’ for the Forestry Commission’s work.'
This may not last for long if the Great Sell Off of the forests goes ahead.
'An English Heritage spokesman said the organisation is ‘grateful’ for the Forestry Commission’s work.' This may not last for long if the Great Sell Off of the forests goes ahead. iampuzzled
  • Score: 0

5:15pm Sat 29 Jan 11

gerbil112 says...

The Romans were renowned for building straight roads from A to B, however this is not exactly a straight route from Salisbury to Exeter! Maybe they'd had a little too much to drink when they detoured south to Puddletown...
The Romans were renowned for building straight roads from A to B, however this is not exactly a straight route from Salisbury to Exeter! Maybe they'd had a little too much to drink when they detoured south to Puddletown... gerbil112
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Sat 29 Jan 11

james_spider says...

iampuzzled wrote:
'An English Heritage spokesman said the organisation is ‘grateful’ for the Forestry Commission’s work.'
This may not last for long if the Great Sell Off of the forests goes ahead.
Quite. I've been waiting all week to find out what local politicians, walkers, cyclists and ecologists think of the potential sell-off of Puddletown Forest and no mention of it in the newspaper. Get digging Echo!
[quote][p][bold]iampuzzled[/bold] wrote: 'An English Heritage spokesman said the organisation is ‘grateful’ for the Forestry Commission’s work.' This may not last for long if the Great Sell Off of the forests goes ahead.[/p][/quote]Quite. I've been waiting all week to find out what local politicians, walkers, cyclists and ecologists think of the potential sell-off of Puddletown Forest and no mention of it in the newspaper. Get digging Echo! james_spider
  • Score: 0

8:56pm Sat 29 Jan 11

X Old Bill says...

I think that this particular 'discovery' is part of the road from Vidocladia (North of present day Wimborne) and Durnovaria.
It is shown on the Ordnance Survey map of Roman Britain.
If A Roman wanted to go from Sorviodunum to Isca then he could go by this route, or via Lindinus.
I think that this particular 'discovery' is part of the road from Vidocladia (North of present day Wimborne) and Durnovaria. It is shown on the Ordnance Survey map of Roman Britain. If A Roman wanted to go from Sorviodunum to Isca then he could go by this route, or via Lindinus. X Old Bill
  • Score: 0

9:59am Sun 30 Jan 11

wyke resident says...

"The 26-metre wide road..." obviously a roman motorway or usual cockup of facts by OHEC?
"The 26-metre wide road..." obviously a roman motorway or usual cockup of facts by OHEC? wyke resident
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Mon 31 Jan 11

Dorsetdumpling says...

The really interesting finds were the remains of towers at intervals, on top of which a trained centurion with a pad and stylus would sketch details of carts passing at excessive speed......
The really interesting finds were the remains of towers at intervals, on top of which a trained centurion with a pad and stylus would sketch details of carts passing at excessive speed...... Dorsetdumpling
  • Score: 0

3:07pm Mon 31 Jan 11

badgerboi says...

Roman road relief road now!
Roman road relief road now! badgerboi
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Wed 2 Feb 11

Atilla says...

It is absolutely untrue that there was still a queue of chariots on the road held up by the roadworks for the 0012 Olympics!!
It is absolutely untrue that there was still a queue of chariots on the road held up by the roadworks for the 0012 Olympics!! Atilla
  • Score: 0

10:41am Fri 4 Feb 11

fishman68 says...

I bet the Romans would have carried out roadworks in a far more efficent manner unlike the current chaos caused by non-essential roadworks on Dorchester Rd/Little moor junction. Why these muppets could not wait until the relief road was open first confirms what a shower they truely are.
I bet the Romans would have carried out roadworks in a far more efficent manner unlike the current chaos caused by non-essential roadworks on Dorchester Rd/Little moor junction. Why these muppets could not wait until the relief road was open first confirms what a shower they truely are. fishman68
  • Score: 0

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