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


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Roman road on eastern edge of Beaulieu Heath, 220m north east of Hardley Bridge Ford
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

New Forest (District Authority)
Denny Lodge
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 42135 04972

Reasons for Designation

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.


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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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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


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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