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.Wansdyke Project 21
is part of
Vortigern Studies

VORTIGERN STUDIES

 

Wansdyke visits
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Saturday 4th January 2003
'Wayne'

relevant
Large map
click here for a parish map of Section 5a

maps
new map
click here for a new map of Section 5


Roman Road, Box Quarry and Box Tunnel

The day started fresh and early, well, as early as I can manage this side of Xmas!
Got set up and headed down near the Swan mine in Kingsdown to have a look accross the valley
down to Farleigh Down sidings and up the other side towards Monkton Farleigh, in search of
the Roman road I was.

Just to the left of the pylons running up the hill is what seems to be some kind of raised trackway,
standing in some places nearly 2 metres tall, this is most likely the old route of the roman road running up to meet or cross with the Wansdyke ditch.

The route running from Kingsdown

Possible Roman Road between Monkton Farleigh and Kingsdown.
Possible Roman Road between Monkton Farleigh and Kingsdown.

 

Possible Roman Road north of Monkton Farleigh.
Possible Roman Road north of Monkton Farleigh.

 

Possible Roman Road north of Monkton Farleigh. Looking due east, the road should follow a track parallel to the pilons.
Possible Roman Road north of Monkton Farleigh.
Looking due east, the road should follow a track parallel to the pilons.

However it could just be an old quarry track which runs up to the hillside through the woods,
above the mines, but the majority of the tracks run at 90 degrees to this one and the route is
very steep, especially for heavily laden carts...so Roman it must be.

According to old maps of the Wansdyke this is the likely Roman route running straight to London.
We followed the raised road all the way up to the number 13 camp at Monkton Farleigh, behind
Main East buildings.

I had always wondered what became of the buildings in this area from the WW2 period, and had my questions answered by convieniently stumbling accross the
remains which had been bulldozed down the back of the steep wooded hill, covering the "lip" of the Roman road. I may visit there again to look through the "rubbish" but for now I'm in the wrong era.

The road comes out near the edge of Farmers fields (Hobhouses land?) and disappears from
view...years of working the land has covered the remains...the only clue is a wall running past the fields (with a few remains of barns built into it), this comes out near a spring in the centre
of the field under a large pylon. The land around here has many earth features...bumps and
mounds, and is the site of a Tumulus. I think the route of the road runs along the edge of the wooded area, heading out to the horizon Devizes direction. I plan to research this more, and
anyone with any help would be greatly appreciated.

After dinner a visit was paid to the Quarrymans Arms in Box, Wiltshire, cheers for the drink guys
and a copy of the central survey of the quarries was bought...I didn't realisee that place was
so big! Also bought a copy of Deep, Dark and Dusty a video documenting the story of Bathstone quarries and the workers.

We drank up and decided to check out the Backdoor entrance way, behind a tennis court in an
elaborate garden. We decided to not venture far and crawled through the small squeeze,
inside we decided that it was best if we checked our brains and return with a qualified tour
guide, this quarry was ancient and VAST!

In the evening time just a dusk, we drove through Neston past Ridge quarry and around past
Rudloe area, all very quiet here.
After many back alleys and wrong turns we stumbled accross the East entrance of Box tunnel,
recently cleared away exposing the East portal area running into the hillside and also the pill
box along the trackway, light was failing us so decided that it was time to turn home.

Copyright 2003, 'Wayne'. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


VortigernStudies and Wansdyke Project 21 are copyright Robert Vermaat 1999-2007.
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