Ancient History

The earliest remains of man are carved deep in South West England. From forts and clapper bridges on Dartmoor to barrows and ancient mine workings on Exmoor . Ice Age relics from Kents Cavern in Torquay and Gough’s Cave in the Cheddar Gorge to stone rows and circles across the Salisbury Plain. Remnants of the Neolithic, Iron and Bronze Ages are there for all to find.

The Romans left their mark more than most - most spectacularly in Bath but also with many smaller but no-less impressive landmarks. Roads criss-cross the region in unmistakable arrow-straight lines. Castles, villas, mosaics and camps can be found from Carn Brae in Cornwall to Amesbury in Wiltshire. The Romans adapted what they found creating a 10,000 seat amphitheatre from the Stone Age Maumbury Rings in Dorset.

The Saxons followed the Romans and forced the Britons west. Cornwall became a Celtic bastion creating an independent spirit that remains to this day. The Normans followed the Saxons – and established strongholds and founded market towns across the region.

But it is the millennia before man that have focused the world’s eyes on the South West in recent times. The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site and covers 95 miles of the Devon and Dorset coastline. We have Mary Anning, a carpenter’s daughter, to thank. Her find of an Ichthyosaurus skeleton in a cliff near Lyme Regis in 1811 started it all. Time and geology have since made way for visitors to explore.