Roman Road Winchester to Chichester

Under Old Winchester Hill

The route enters Survey Map 11 below at the NW corner as it left Survey Map 10. As explained in Survey 10 (Ref 2) the long alignment of air photo light lines seen on Ref 3 air photo continues on the southern slopes of Old Winchester Hill. There are two lanes, which have air photo light lines from 40' to 100' wide, but are shown on the Survey Map 11 below as 40' wide. This may represent their original width each. The white centred triangles represent optical escarpments seen in binoculars from either above (North) or below (South).

Near the western side of Survey Map 11 it can be seen that the two lanes become wider apart, by the northern lane moving further northwards. However, on the air photo (Ref 3) when viewed obliquely from the east, it appears that there is a fork in the light line. One fork goes northwards (and climbs up the hill), the other fork goes southwards (and is losing height) and is shown on Survey Map 11 bringing the two Roman lanes closer together. In binoculars viewing from the south, the northern fork is a prominent terrace climbing up the hillside. The southern fork is only visible in vehicle tracks in the crops - and is not visible when viewed from the north. From this we must assume that the southern fork (the Roman Road lane) is of lesser construction that the northern fork.

Hill fort outer defences

Donald Ashdown (Ref 6) took the Roman Road to be the field boundary immediately south of the Hill Fort on the above Survey Map 11. This is a terrace way, but has since been found to be two terraces - one is prominent above the footpath when the ground is cleared. When we tried to connect this by air photography to the findings at Exton, we found that this terrace feature went round Old Winchester Hill. Subsequently this upper terrace has been found to climb (in a ploughed out state) to the point B.M. 466.2, where a well preserved fighting terrace runs northwards along the field boundary there, to approximately the dotted line running E - W - here the ground becomes very steep. This fighting terrace has a level way cut out of the hillside, built up on the west - on which would have been a palisade. We are looking at secondary defences (or possibly early defences) of the Hill Fort. At the time of writing the foot path terrace below the Hill Fort has been traced all the way round the Hill to its northern side - with long lengths in good condition. Further more it is joined by the northern fork from our Roman Road off the map to the north, to run as a double terrace one above the other along much of the northern side of Old Winchester Hill.

The interpretation is that there is a substantial network of secondary defences to Old Winchester Hill, and the Romans adapted one of these as a second lane to their Road. These secondary defences are being mapped, in a similar way to those on Beacon Hill (Ref 4) - which were mainly or wholly fighting terraces. It seems the purpose of the Old Winchester Hill system was to enclose and protect land which could be used by livestock of the Hill Fort. A drawback to this interpretation is that the terrace branching off from the northern lane of the Roman Road, when seen on the north side of the Hill, is not much more than 10' wide - far less than the 40' we assumed for the Roman lanes from air photography. We do not however have direct evidence for the width of these Roman lanes, which are wholly passing through cultivated fields, where terraces and stonework are likely to be scattered by the plough. More information may come from mapping the secondary defences.

A length of prominent swelling can be seen in binoculars from Mile End Lane, shown as double white centred triangles (it is not possible to show both light air photo line and a swelling - the light line continues in this region). At the end of Mile End Lane there is substantial build-up - far larger than one would expect for an un-metalled cart track. This may be a fragment of the original engineered Roman terrace preserved from the plough by the track.

Change of direction

Survey Map 11 shows a significant change of direction at the east end of the alignment. That some change of direction was likely is due to three valleys which run across the line - the centre one is a huge gorge which is unlikely to be crossed. The evidence for the change of direction is strong. The wide light Ref 3 air photo line swings round to the north for the southern lane. It does not appear that this light line continues on its previous direction - and at the time of writing it does not appear that it is associated with any of the secondary terrace defences. The northern lane shows a large causeway which is crossing the first valley head - now much rounded by ploughing. The broad light line is shown continuing on its previous direction - in fact it does so to the western side of the central valley. A future report will asses the evidence of it linking with the network of fighting terraces.

From here the evidence is weak. Two thin light Ref 5 air photo lines carrying on the two items of strong evidence as two parallel alignments onto Survey Map 12. These show on 70% Contrast enhanced viewed obliquely into desk light.

REFERENCES

1. Survey 1 & map symbols, NEHHAS FAB e News 6 Winter 2013, http://www.nehhas.org.uk/rrch1.htm

2. Survey 10, FAB e News 9, http://www.nehhas.org.uk/rrch10.htm

3. www.bing.com Gettamapping 2011, Old Winchester Hill - White Way

4. Richard Whaley, A hill fort on Beacon Hill , FAB e News 9 http://www.nehhas.org.uk/bhhf.htm

5. www.bing.com Gettamapping 2012, Old Winchester Hill

6. Introduction to the Chichester Roman Road, FAB e News 5 Autumn 2012 http://www.nehhas.org.uk/rrch12-9.htm



Survey 11a

Newly found 40' Lane to Westend Down

As discussed in Survey 9a (Ref 2) the newly found 40' Roman lane is being added to the Survey maps already published of the two lanes under Old Winchester Hill.

The new route is following Stocks Lane, which is entering the above Survey Map 11 by the Grid Marker. Survey 10a thought the Dark Air Photo Line suggested that the Roman Road kept to high ground going round the hollow containing Stocks Farm (Ref 3). This Dark Line is shown approaching the Grid Marker. Some terracing may be visible to the south and above the modern lane. A further Dark Line occurs to the east of Stocks Farm and to the south of Stocks Lane, which shows up as a ditch in binoculars.

Zig Zag

The Road then turns to run SEE up the slope to Westend Down, and engineering of a terrace occurs as shown by the black triangles, along the side of a steep valley. A Sketch Section is shown to its left. The modern lane is in a hollow way. It is possible that there are two terraces, one 18' wide containing the modern lane, and a second 27' wide as a terrace in perfect condition in the field to the east of the modern lane. Or it may be one Agger Terrace 50' wide (Ref 1). The final stretch to the summit of the downs becomes steep, and the Road turns to the west to ease the gradient - forming a sort of Zig Zag.

On reaching the summit of the downs the Roman Road runs NEE, and is assumed to be followed by the modern lane. There is no constructional or other evidence until just off the eastern edge of the above Survey Map 11, where on Survey Map 12 it runs near the edge of the steep valley. The modern lane has two alignments - but may not necessarily be following the exact Roman line.

Principal Surveyors

Philip Rowbotham. Richard Whaley

Map Caption Survey Map 11, OS Hants Sheet 59 NE, 6" : 1 mile 3rd edition revised 1908. The top of Hants Shet 59 SE is spliced onto the bottom to give the course of the Roman Road over Westend Down. For meaning of symbols see Ref 1.

REFERENCES

1. Survey 1 & map symbols, NEHHAS FAB e News 6 Winter 2013, http://www.nehhas.org.uk/rrch1.htm

2. Survey 9a, FAB e News 14 & NEHHAS Jn 8 No 9 forthcoming, http://www.nehhas.org.uk/rrch9a.htm

3. Survey 10a, FAB e News 14 & NEHHAS Jn 8 No 10 forthcoming, http://www.nehhas.org.uk/rrch10a.htm

4. Introduction to the Chichester Roman Road, FAB e News 5 Autumn 2012, Jn 8 http://www.nehhas.org.uk/rrch12-9.htm

5 Survey 11, FAB e News 9 & NEHHAS Jn 8 No 11 forthcoming http://www.nehhas.org.uk/rrch11.htm