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Roman road on eastern edge of Beaulieu Heath, 220m north east of Hardley Bridge Ford

A Scheduled Monument in Hythe and Dibden, Hampshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8427 / 50°50'33"N

Longitude: -1.403 / 1°24'10"W

OS Eastings: 442131.84231

OS Northings: 104971.641129

OS Grid: SU421049

Mapcode National: GBR 88N.03R

Mapcode Global: FRA 76YW.37Y

Entry Name: Roman road on eastern edge of Beaulieu Heath, 220m north east of Hardley Bridge Ford

Scheduled Date: 20 March 1969

Last Amended: 14 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016747

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32544

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Hythe and Dibden

Built-Up Area: Hythe

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Details

The monument includes a section of Roman road extending in a north west-south
east direction for approximately 1100m along the eastern edge of Beulieu
Heath, immediately south west of the A326 where it forms the Hythe Bypass. It
was constructed to take advantage of a strip of relatively high ground lying
between Southampton Water and the relatively low lying ground of Beaulieu
Heath, and forms the longest surviving section of a road between Dibden and a
possible Roman port located near Lepe at Stone Point. This road would have
formed part of a network of roads connecting the Roman town of Venta Belgarum
(Winchester) with the New Forest and the Solent. The monument is cut by the
A326 to the north and by a modern forestry track to the south, and is bisected
roughly midway along its length by another forestry track, 20m wide, which
divides the monument into a northern and a southern section. The northern
section is the most prominent where the road passes over relatively level
ground, whereas the less well defined, southern section of the road is
relatively undulating and has been disturbed by its modern use for forestry
and as a bridleway.
Along most of its length the monument incudes a raised agger, 6m-7m wide
overall and 0.4m high, with a flat topped, central platform, 3m-4m wide. It is
constructed of compacted gravel and earth which was excavated from shallow
quarry pits which are visible along the length of the road on both sides. The
agger is flanked on both sides by flat berms and/or shallow drainage ditches,
3m-4m wide, sometimes with an outer bank. The berms provide a foundation layer
for the road where it passes over shallow hollows, raising the agger to a
total height of up to 0.7m. They are replaced by the drains and banks where
the surrounding heath is relatively high or boggy, particularly along the
eastern side of the northern section.
Along its course, the road passes through a series of five deep combes where
great care has been taken to minimise the gradient by using a cut and fill
technique: cutting the road into the combe at the edges and raising it at the
base by constructing a paved ford up to 1m high across the combe floor, in
some cases creating shallow ponds. Some of these fords retain low banks or
dykes on the upstream side and, although modern drains have now been excavated
across them, the remains of original drains or culverts may survive as buried
features.
Two prehistoric round barrows immediately east of the road, and another to the
north east, are the subject of separate schedulings.
The modern concrete manhole situated near the north western end of the
monument and all wooden posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the
Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province
and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus
Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150
miles per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe,
changing horses at wayside 'mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles on
major roads) and stopping overnight at 'mansiones' (rest houses located every
20-25 miles). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads
acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry.
Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in
the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property
boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the
withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have
continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath
modern roads.
On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are
distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad
elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second
usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three
successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the
sides of the road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs,
kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the
original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south-
west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and
extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the
period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil
engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A
high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be
worthy of protection.

The Roman road on the eastern edge of Beaulieu Heath, 220m north east of
Hardley Bridge Ford, survives well despite some later disturbance and can be
expected to retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating
to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Margary, I D, Roman Roads in Britain, (1967), 95-96
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of the New Forest, (1917), 74-76
Sanders, I, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Ancient Road from Purlieu to Lepe, , Vol. 10, (1926), 35-9

Source: Historic England

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