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The Roman Road in Sutton Park

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.

Findings from Excavations

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The Roman road had probably already gone out of use long before this and had been replaced by the road through Erdington and Sutton Coldfield to Lichfield, the present A5127.

Sutton Park is also one of Birmingham's Scheduled Ancient Monuments

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Last Updated : 15th October 2013