Archaeology & Prehistory

Archaeology & Prehistory of the Wolf Valley

In 1989, Roadford Reservoir opened to provide much of the fresh water supply for the southwest of England. This reservoir, fed by the River Wolf, encroaches upon western points of the Bratton Clovelly parish, most notably Coombe Park Farm where much of the area is now under the management of South West Water and South West Lakes Trust as operators of the reservoir and surrounding area.

One of the exciting aspects of the Roadford Reservoir development is that it led to archaeological excavations in this part of Devon before the water overtook the settlements along the River Wolf. A stunning documentary on the excavation and finds is available to UK viewers at Channel 4 on Demand where you’ll notice Mick Aston in this series which pre-dates the popular Time Team programmes. If you haven’t previously viewed Channel 4 on Demand, you’ll need to register (for free) in the top righthand corner of the screen. The team determines that there were permanent settlers in the area from about 4-5,000 years ago and steps through discoveries up to recent times, including artists’ depictions of the area in neolithic times as well as the nineteenth century and a detailed excursion into the fascinating Church of St Mary the Virgin at Bratton Clovelly.

Roadford Reservoir Excavations, with focus areas shown in red (click to enlarge)

Roadford Reservoir Excavations, excavation areas shown in red (click to enlarge)

Although no substitute for the programmes themselves, the following transcripts in pdf format can provide those unable to access Channel 4 on Demand with a basic understanding of the historical discoveries made by the team:

Keyhole-Shaped Ovens, Time Signs

Keyhole-Shaped Ovens, Time Signs