Mike Hodder’s Walk - 2018-05-15

Mike Hodder's Archaeological Walk on the Golf Course in the Park, 15th May 2018.

On Tuesday, 15 May, members of the group joined with the Friends of Sutton Park and followed Mike Hodder on one of his famous forays into Sutton Park.  This promised to be an archaeological delight, with new discoveries and a walk across the beautiful Sutton Park Golf Course.  As usual, it was full of surprises!

Leaving the car park at Streetly Gate, almost immediately the woods threw up evidence of the Roman Road and, before long, several ubiquitous saw pits!   Moving on, we eventually reached the edge of the Golf Course, where Mike pointed out the original boundary of Streetly Wood with its now well known banks and ditches.

Returning to the Roman Road, Mike explained that the 'agger' was 8m wide, the width of the road from side ditch to side ditch was 18m, with quarry pits extending for about 8m beyond the ditches on each side.  Further signs of the road thus became more visible from the occasional deposits of gravel, dug from these pits.

However,  the highlight of the walk was a grassy mound flanking the edge of the Golf Course, disappearing into the adjacent woods but forming a discernible square when seen from above, as shown by a recent LIDAR survey of the ground.  We were told this was the remains of a Roman fortlet or signal station, thought to be built before the Roman Road itself was commenced, with an eye to providing a place of refuge for the builders and a lookout point.  The potential of this discovery has yet to be exploited!

One or two other interesting sites were pointed out.  A snake shaped furrow in some dead bracken revealed the site of an old practice trench from WWI and some overgrown mounds of earth revealed the sites of ancient golf tees and bunkers, long since abandoned.

One wonders how many more secrets the Park has yet to offer up?

Janet Jordan

Tuesday, 15 May 2018