Two sections of Roman road on Barrow Hill and Corfe Hills


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018195

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jul-1998


Ordnance survey map of Two sections of Roman road on Barrow Hill and Corfe Hills
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 09-Dec-2018 at 22:01:46.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Poole (Unitary Authority)

County: Dorset

District: East Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Corfe Mullen

National Grid Reference: SY 99353 96665, SY 99408 97575


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 sections of Roman road on Barrow Hill and Corfe Hills represent a well preserved example of this monument. The road will contain archaeological deposits providing information about its construction, contemporary and subsequent use and associated environment.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes two separate sections of Roman road, 500m apart, on Barrow Hill and Corfe Hills, part of the road from Poole Harbour (Hamworthy) to Badbury Rings. In the post Roman period the parish boundary between the Borough of Poole and the parish of Corfe Mullen followed the line of the road on its western side. For the majority of its course within this scheduling the Roman road survives as a raised agger (embanked road), 8m wide and rising to a maximum height of 0.5m above the surrounding ground level, flanked by `V'-profiled drainage ditches on each side 2m wide, clearly visible in places as a depression up to 0.6m deep. In other places over the years the ditches have silted up and the western ditch has been covered by a trackway, but they will survive as buried features. In parts of the northern section, on Barrow Hill, there is a bank on the eastern edge of the ditch, up to 2m wide and 0.4m high. The northern section survives as an earthwork where it crosses a ridge of high ground disappearing at both ends as it descends into valleys. The road has been truncated by trackways and fences in several places and the southern end has been disturbed by quarrying. In the southern section, on Corfe Hills, while the agger is well preserved, the flanking ditches are not clearly visible but will survive as buried features. The earthwork of this section disappears at its northern end, where it descends into a valley and at its southern end it has been destroyed by the construction of housing and roads. The parish boundary is marked by a bank and adjacent track running parallel to the Roman road on its western side. These features are not included in the scheduling. All fence posts, the surfaces of tracks and paths, the telegraph pole and a man hole 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.

Legacy System number: 29587

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing