Updated: 26th January 2011


Roman Road

The spots on the road correspond to the number on the images on the right hand side. Click on image to see the full size version.
Updated: 3 November 2004

The presence of Romans in the area is most visible in Sutton Park, where a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) long preserved section of Icknield Street passes through. Whilst the road ultimately connects Gloucestershire to South Yorkshire, locally, the road was important for connecting Metchley Fort in Edgbaston with Letocetum, now Wall, in Staffordshire. The road is most visible from the Royal Oak Gate of the park, where the 8 m (26 ft) wide bank that formed the road surface is most prominent. Excavations at the road have showed that it was made from compacted gravel, never having a paved surface. Along each side are intermittent ditches, marked by Roman engineers, and beyond these are hollows where gravel was excavated to make the road surface. At least three Roman coins have been found along the course of Icknield Street through Sutton Park, as well as a Roman pottery kiln elsewhere in the town. Next to the Iron Age property at Langley Brook, the remains of a timber building and field system were discovered. Pottery recovered from this site was dated to the 2nd and 3rd century, indicating the presence of a Roman farmstead. This is from Wikipedia.

Images below equate to the numbered spots on the Roman Road
on the map to the left

An Excellent site, with the Roman road highlighted.

This is a one and a half mile length of the road usually known as the Ryknield Street. It was built as part of the Roman conquest of the West Midlands, just a few years after the Roman army landed in Kent in AD 43. It was a military road and joined forts at Wall, near Lichfield, and Metchley, on Vincent Drive in Edgbaston. The most prominent part of the road today is a bank or agger, about 8m wide, which was the main road surface. Excavations have shown that it consists of compacted gravel and never had any sort of paved surface. Where it is best preserved, the agger is high and rounded. Along each side of the agger there is an intermittent ditch which was not for drainage but was a laying-out line dug by Roman surveyors to mark where vegetation would have to be cleared to construct the road.

The soil under the road shows that in the 1st century AD the area would have been heathland, like parts of Sutton Park today, so there would have been heather, gorse and bracken. Beyond the side ditches there are pits and hollows which show where gravel was dug out nearly two thousand years ago to make the road.

Sutton Park

The Roman road is so well preserved here because in the 12th century AD it was included in Sutton Park, a deer park, and therefore put out of use. The park was bounded by a ditch, bank and fence, and the ditch and bank are still clearly visible along Chester Road North, Thornhill Road and Streetly Lane.

The Roman road had probably already gone out of use long before this and had been replaced by the road through Erdington and Sutton Coldfield to Lichfield, the present A5127.Source: Birmingham Council.