An exciting discovery of an enormous system of ancient tracks trodden by medieval man has been made on a Purbeck heath. Trackways probably in use between the 13th and 18th centuries have come to light on the RSPB’s Stoborough Heath and they cover an area almost a mile long.
Created over decades by carts, sledges or stage coaches crossing sloping country in wet weather, the churned mud is eventually washed away, creating a sunken lane, also known as a holloway. These ancient pathways, which survived near the Blue Pool at Furzebrook because the heathland was not ploughed, have been unearthed by modern technology.
Retired former director of Poole council’s museums archaeological unit, Keith Jarvis, with assistance from Alan Hawkins from East Dorset Antiquarian Society, uncovered the paths using GoogleEarth and Dorset County Council photos while space-based GPS provided accurate positioning.
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