Roman Road Winchester to Chichester

Up to Teglease Down

We left our two Roman lanes turning to the north at the end of Survey 11. This is reproduced on the west side of the map below, together with the large causeway on the northern lane, an additional optical terrace for the southern lane. This was reported in Ref 1, where you can view the photo showing the terrace.

The two lanes climb to the summit of the downs, where the summit is of a minimum width, at the spot where northern lane reaches the modern lane. There is weak evidence on Ref 4 air photo of thin light parallel lines [Contrast enhanced 70% view obliquely into light, weak magnifier]. These come from the terrace running under the Hill Fort - which is the dotted line plotted by the OS - there are several terraces on the west, which reduce in number to nil as they approach the central deep gorge. These terraces are thought to be part of the outer defences of the Hill Fort. The thin light line also runs over the southern terrace appearing in Ref 1 photo - but is likely to be narrower than the terrace. These light lines may be the result of revetments at the edges of the lanes.

Interaction with the Hill Fort defences

As explained in Survey 11 (Ref 3) it is thought the Northern Lane is using a fighting terrace originally constructed as the outer defence of the Hill Fort, with air photo evidence that it continues to the edge of the steep gorge. This is shown as a dashed line. Naturally this would mean that the terrace is older than the Roman Road. There is further interaction with the Roman Road and these outer defences in this region. Through the fields through which the thin light air photo streaks run there is clear binocular evidence for these fighting terraces running northwards along the west sides of the deep gorge - sometimes seen even with crops in the fields. One runs high up to join the modern lane beyond the map shown above. A second probably comes from the terrace forming the northern lane of the Roman Road, and runs quite low down on the west side of the gorge. It joins the modern lane in a similar position as the northern lane of the Roman Road - at which point this lane is likely to be a fighting terrace running northwards. These two binocular terraces are shown as dashed lines - which do not appear to be interrupted by the two lanes of the Roman Road.

Further, a binocular terrace for the northern lanes can be made out when the crops are harvested as shown on the above map - but it is interrupted by the fighting terrace going through it as shown. Where the causeway of the northern Roman Lane crosses the fighting terraces running under the Hill Fort (the dotted line plotted by the OS) it appears that the Roman causeway goes under the terrace - or is cut by the terrace. In Survey 11 (Ref 3) it is argued that the northern Roman Lane is using an older terrace because it is more prominent as it climbs up the hillside than the Roman lane descending the hill. We are dealing here with two outer defences, but there are at least three beyond the obvious Iron Age ramparts. An interpretation fitting these facts is that at least some of these outer defences were reused after the Roman period, either in the Dark Ages, or as a Saxon bough. This would result in the Roman lanes being cut in several places - which may be the reason that this stretch fell out of use - while most of the route from Winchester is still open for traffic as far Exton.

Summit of Downs

When the two Roman Lanes meet the modern lane (just above the OS Grid Marker on the above Map), we are at the summit of the Downs, and we can see the sea to the south. We can postulate that the modern lane forms the Roman route, to Point 3 on the eastern edge of the map. This is the point where there is the next evidence, given in the Sketch Section above Points 2 & 3. While the land slopes down to the south, the field boundary to the south of the modern lane is flat. There is another example of this to the east on the next Survey Map. Our interpretation is that these field boundaries preserve the previous shape of the ground, while modern ploughing has carried soils down hill, especially in the steep valley running up to Point 3 as can be seen in the 600' contour. The 40' width of these flat field boundaries is evidence we now have a 40' Roman lane. A Sketch Section drawn at Point 2 indicates that there is a ploughed out terrace there of a width that can take the 40' lane and a 25' lane.

In order to understand more we have to consider air photo evidence falling on the next Survey Map to the east - for there is no further air photo evidence on the above Survey Map 12 nor ground evidence upon the summit of the downs. Ref 5 air photo shows air photo evidence running on either side of the modern lane shortly to the east of the above Survey Map 12. One has to be careful using such evidence for there generally are such lines running beside field boundaries, and this will be considered in the next report. But the light lines running to the north of the modern lane east of Point 3 lines up with the modern lane itself at Point 1 (the cross roads). The light lines to the south of the modern lane are wider and correspond with the 40' lane seen in the boundary at Point 3. The modern lane itself to the east of Point 3 would run to the south of the modern lane between Points 1 & 2, and is probably the second narrow Roman lane - the evidence for its is in the Sketch Sections at Points 2 & 3. Thus we have the three lane system restored, with the wide 40' lane to the south of the narrow lanes. The modern lane carries one of the narrow Roman lanes - and they swap over in the region of Points 2 & 3.

Yet the position is unsatisfactory. We are used to seeing major evidence on the ground and from air photography. On reaching the summit of the Downs there is none. There is a level way south of the modern lane as indicated in the above Survey Map 12, but no constructional evidence seen in the modern lane itself. To the east of the Level arrow the modern lane falls from the summit of the Downs, and one cannot see the sea, there is not room for two lanes, and no optical evidence of terraces or aggers. Thus we have no evidence of where the two lanes system we have had since Exton becomes the 3 lane system. A Sketch Section made at Point 1 shows the modern lane on a terrace, but otherwise the land rises up to the south, and is rounded over the summit of the Downs.

Philip Rowbotham suggested that the main 40' Roman lane may have taken a different course, going to the south of the three steep valleys which cause the two lanes to divert northwards. Examination of the straight modern lane at the bottom of Survey Map 12 shows that it is a substantially constructed terrace and causeway across the valley head of a steep valley running up to it. It is 40' wide, and to the west further engineering work is visible, with widths of 30 - 40', with some hollow ways occurring. As it goes off the Survey Map there is a level way to its south, with the lane itself in a small hollow way. A dark line runs to the south of this lane on Ref 4 & 5 air photos, shown on the above Survey Map 12. The first edition OS map (Ref 6) shows this lane continuing eastwards to join the northern lane in the region of Point 3, shown as thin lines on the above map. There is weak optical evidence in this field for a ploughed out terrace. This route will be explored back to Exton.


The new technique of LIDAR is available from the Environment Agency free to non-profits, and coverage was obtained over this region (Ref 8). The method is to take RADAR soundings of the earth's surface from aircraft. The form we obtained is reckoned to remove vegetation and buildings, and only reflect the earth's surface. It has found archaeological remains including Roman Roads especially through woods. It was used to see if any evidence could be obtained where we have none on the summit of Teglease Down. While this LIDAR did not provide any further evidence for our Road, it does indicate the reason for lack of evidence. For the modern lane disappears from view from the OS Grid Marker to Point 1 on the above map. Instead the area is pot-marked with pits, some elongated into trenches pointing down hill along the very steep escarpment that this lane runs. Some can be seen in binoculars on the lane's surface, and in the cultivated field. This indicates that surface material is being washed by water action through the strata below. It is possible that the course of this lane was the summit of the downs in Roman times, but this form of erosion has removed all traces of the Road.

Principal Surveyors

Donald Ashdown, Jerry Revell, Philip Rowbotham. Thanks to the Environment Agency for supply of LIDAR. Richard Whaley

Map Caption Survey Map 12, OS Hants Sheet 59 NE, 6" : 1 mile, 3rd edition revised 1908. For meaning of symbols see Ref 2.


1. News on the Chichester Roman Road, FAB e News 9 Summer 2014
2. Survey 1 & map symbols, NEHHAS FAB e News 6 Winter 2013,
3. Survey 11, FAB e News 9, Summer 2014
4. Gettamapping 2011, Old Winchester Hill - Teglease Down
5. Gettamapping 2014, Teglease Down
6. OS Hants Sheet 59 1st edition 1872
7. Introduction to the Chichester Roman Road, FAB e News 5 Autumn 2012
8. Environment Agency LIDAR SU6420_DTM, SU6530_DTM, SU6519_DTM