Port Way

Roman Road

Port Way (also known as the Portway) is an ancient road in southern England, which ran from Silchester (Calleva Attrebatum) in a south-westerly direction to Old Sarum (Sorbiodoni). Often associated with the Roman Empire, the road may have predated the Roman occupation of Britain.

By the time of the Roman occupation of Calleva Atrebatum and Sorbiodunum, the road formed part of a longer route between London (Londinium) and Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum). The term “Port Way” is sometimes used to refer to this whole route, although the section between Londinium and Calleva Atrebatum is correctly known as The Devil’s Highway, and the section between Sorbiodunum and Vindocladia (Badbury Rings) is Ackling Dyke.

The road was studied by antiquarians such as Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Henry MacLauchlan, Charles Roach Smith, Thomas William Shore, Thomas Codrington, and Ivan Margary, and much of the route can still be traced. The section east of Hannington in Hampshire, however, has not been definitively traced in over 100 years and sources differ on the precise route into the Roman town at Calleva Atrebatum.

Margary’s Roman road numbering system, devised in the 1950s, gave the route from Londinium to Isca Dumnoniorum the number 4; the Port Way section is 4b. He recorded the distance of this section as 36+1⁄4 miles (58.3 km).

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