Section of Roman road on Pertwood Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020379

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Mar-2002


Ordnance survey map of Section of Roman road on Pertwood Down
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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 16:08:43.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Brixton Deverill

National Grid Reference: ST 88177 36842


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 Roman road on Pertwood Down represents a well-preserved section of a once important route used for carrying lead mined in the Mendips to the south coast, providing an important insight into the economy of Roman Britain.


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


The monument includes a 1060m long section of the Roman road which ran between the Mendips and the Roman town of Sorviodunum near Salisbury. It is aligned ENE to WNW across the chalk downs to the south of the Wylye valley. This section of the road crosses the south facing slope of Pertwood Down, a ridge of Upper Chalk to the east of Monkton Deverill. The extant section of the road runs from a point 35m to the west of the A350 road to a fenceline west of a conifers belt, beyond which it has been reduced by ploughing and is not included in the scheduling. The eastern section of the road is straight and survives as an agger 0.4m high. Here only the south side of the road is visible from the southern edge to the middle of the cambered road surface. The north side of the road has been covered by soil movement and survives as a buried feature. The total width of the road in this section is 12m. West of this straight section the line of the road runs north west for 150m to avoid a small steep-sided dry valley cut into the hillside. It then turns west to join the original line. Here the agger is up to 0.6m high and 11m wide. The western end of the road overlies part of an extensive field system which survives on the southern slope of the hill. As the road descends the eastern spur of the valley, it follows a pre-existing double lynchet trackway associated with this field system. The road is thought to have been used to carry lead mined in the Mendips to Old Sarum and eventually to the south coast for export. Several pigs of lead have been found dropped along its course. There are three breaks in the course of the road caused by modern trackways but it is thought that some of the road material will survive in these areas and they have been included in the scheduling. The surrounding field system is not, however, included in the scheduling. All fences and fence 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.

Legacy System number: 34194

Legacy System: RSM


Crawford, O G S and Keiller, A, Wessex from the Air, (1928)

End of official listing