Visit to Stockton Woods – 16th March 2017

On Thursday 16 March a group of volunteers explored the trackways and other landscape archaeological features in the vicinity of Stockton Camp. We examined the large circular feature in Stockton Woods with its entrance, or at any rate gap, to the North – also the side with the most pronounced ditch and bank

Not far to the South and very close to the A303 we followed a section of Grim’s Ditch and pondered why this linear feature should make 2 sharp 90 degree turns in quick succession for no apparent topographical reason.

We also considered the ancient trackways which meet just to the West of Stockton Camp, one traversing directly North South from the Wylye to the Nadder Valley and the second traversing from the North-West to the South East. In both cases, whenever the trackway encountered a pronounced gradient the effect of many centuries of passage and consequent erosion had produced a sunken or hollow profile. In the case of the valley crossing at Sherrington Pond this actually produced multiple sunken profiles on either side of the valley, a common occurrence on the chalk. In the case of the North-South trackway the sunken profile can be seen where the trackway crosses Grim’s ditch just short of the A303. Little frequented today, these trackways were intensively used until relatively recently and may well have their origins in prehistory. Ironically, the Roman road, dating to the same period as Stockton Camp, could not be observed anywhere on the ground in the area we covered.

 

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