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Winscombe Archaeology

Road from Shute Shelf to Sandford Hill

A north-south road runs from Sandford Hill (ST419580) to Shute Shelf (ST421560). It can be shown that this road was in use in the Romano-British period as a resistivity survey (see : Ox House Paddock) clearly indicates a small building associated with a scatter of 3rd and 4th century pottery and the survey appears to show a well-defined track leading from the building to the line of the road. Several 4th century coins have been found along the presumed course of the road (see 3.1 Finds: coins). It is possible that the trackway dates back to at least the Bronze Age as several round barrows have been identified close to it.

The route appears to leave the line of the present Sandford Road just north of Broadleaze Farm and turn towards the sharp bend at the end of Ilex Lane and the green lane north towards Towerhead, also crossing the line of another ancient road at this point. The line passes to the north west of a ploughed-out round barrow (see : Broadleaze Farm) and to the east of a probable Iron Age enclosure before it meets this crossroads. From this point the road turns south, skirting the edge of a large enclosure ditch in Great Wortice (see : Wortice) and continues towards the Winscombe/Banwell parish boundary. The resistivity survey indicates that the road ran between two ditches.


A ground resistance survey showing the line of the road north of the Winscombe/Banwell parish boundary. The line of the road can be seen south centre, and curving north to the northeast corner


This was confirmed when the boundary ditch was re-cut in 1999 and the surface of the road was visible in the section.



A drawing looking north across the exposed line of the road where it meets the Parish boundary at (GR ST 4157 5840) seen after the ditch had been re-cut in 1999.  This is not a vertical section and therefore the height is exaggerated.




The line of this road continues south through several fields, eventually continuing as a drove and lane.



  A survey of the line of the road south of the parish boundary showing an area 60m by     160m looking north. A modern fence is discernable to the left of the stony surface of the     road. To the south, where the trackway enters the next field, a small enclosure has been     constructed on the hard surface.  A second enclosure has been identified south of this     also on the same surface (not shown on this survey). The field to the north was originally     within a mediaeval deer park and it is likely that the use of this trackway was      discouraged at the time of the formation of the park. The field to the left of the road     shows a grid pattern of drainage ditches.


The trackway continues to the south along a present day drove where it follows the lane to the west of Mooseheart. It is possible that the line of the road has been altered in recent times and that it originally passed through part of the grounds of what is now Mooseheart before it crossed the present Banwell Road. Here the line becomes unclear but it is presumed that the trackway follows a present day footpath across Winscombe Farm, crossing The Lynch at a point where there was a cock-fighting yard in the 18th century (see 2.3.9 : Cockfighting year). The line from this point crosses what was an open field (Eastfield) and can be seen to continue towards Shute Shelf after it crosses Eastwell Lane following the line of the 18th century Winscombe Footpath to Winscombe Hill. South of Eastwell Lane and on the line of the trackway, a coin of Crispus (317-326) was found by a metal detectorist in 2001.