The Saltway running from Droitwich to Finmere

Description of this historic site

The Saltway, a major Roman road running east and southeast from Droitwich, which can be traced across much of Warwickshire.

Notes about this historic site

1 Major route and saltway running east via Alcester and Stratford, then south east towards the Foss Way and eventually out of the county. The course to Alcester is very direct and the road is often raised 1-2 feet as far as Red Hill, with a parish boundary along it for 1.5 miles. At Oversley Hill, just before Alcester, the present road curves away to the north to avoid the hill, but the old course is very plainly marked by a line of hedgerows with a track or footpath, past the south side of Oversley Hill Farm, to Oversley Green. At the beginning of this line, alongside a wood, the old agger and its metalling can be clearly seen, about 21 feet wide and 1-2 feet high, diverging from the present road. The road continues west along Seggs Lane, crossing Ryknield Street. After half a mile the course onward is marked by a cart track and a line of hedgerows (partly alongside the Spittle Brook), and by a deep holloway. The road crosses the boundary at New End, heading for Shurnock.
2 Noted.
3 Located at Site E, where it is of pebble and gravel construction, some 12-14 inches thick, and 15 feet wide. It had been laid on turf containing sherds of rustic ware (late 1st century). Subsequently it was built over (WA 521). A section exposed (Site O) during the installation of a septic tank and sewer had a V-ditch. It then continues east as a hedgerow and footpath, and then following the line of a modern road. It is visible in many air photos. Work in Alcester demonstrated the probable continuation of this route east of Ryknield Street along the present line of Seggs Lane. Another parallel east-west road has been located to the south of this road in the extramural suburb of Alcester. The two roads within Alcester may represent part of a rudimentary street grid in the suburb, or they may represent two phases of alignment.
4 Line of road discovered during excavation of Birch Abbey site.
5 Archaeological observation of the laying of a new pipeline between Bordon Hill (SP 17 54) and the A46 Alcester Road (SP 17 55) revealed no archaeological features in the vicinity of the route of the Roman road (A46) and there were no associated finds made.
6 Observation of the easement of the Stratford Strategic Supply water main between the Oversley Green and Oversley Hill Farm revealed the possible remains of the Roman road at grid reference SP10355689. The area contained a c7m long spread of gravel, bounded on the southern side with a line of possible kerbstones aligned almost east-west. To the south of the kerb stones there may have been a roadside ditch. No kerbstones were visible on the northern edge. The line of the road should have been uncovered within the pipeline easement over a much longer area. Evidence for the road had presumably been destroyed through ploughing and possibly quarrying of the road surface material for use elsewhere. (EWA7313).
7 A section of the Roman road was discovered by magnetometer survey and evaluation as part of improvements to the A46. This section lies just along the south edge of the Roman settlement at Billesley Manor Farm and 25m north of the modern road. It consisted of a limestone rubble surface 8m wide with Roman pottery and animal bone trampled in it. The road sloped to the south towards drainage ditches. The magnetometer readings suggested that further remains might not extend much further to the west.
A correlation between parish boundaries and the possible line of the Roman road was noted as was the possible poor preservation of the road along other parts of its route.
9 A brief written in 1990 suggestes that roadside settlement would probably have occurred within 25m of the road along the stretch now marked by Cold Comfort Lane, Alcester.
10 It is not certain whether the surface exposed by Hughes’ site F in fact represents a road or some kind of hardstanding, as the northern edge was not recovered, and cobbled surfaces are common in Roman Alcester.
11The western end of the Roman road, running from Alcester, along Cold Comfort Lane, to New End (Worcestershire) was totally re-drawn to form a straight line rather than the former line that followed winding paths to the north. The actual road line shows on several Google Earth air photos with the best being the allegedly 1/1/2005 layer which shows hints of the agger as cropmarks. The possible area of metalling in Cold Comfort Wood (MWA 10323) can be seen to clearly be on this line. The fact that this road is recorded with a single HER reference number across the whole county makes it difficult for any notes to give useful descriptions.
12Portable Antiquities Scheme find provenance information:
Date found: 2003-01-01T00:00:00Z
Methods of discovery: Metal detector

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