Archaeological investigation work to start in Dorset AONB

NEWS RELEASE - September 2017

A programme of archaeological trial trenching will take place in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) from the week commencing 2 October.

The work, which will last for up to three weeks, will support the development of plans to replace approximately 8km of overhead line and 22 pylons near the villages of Winterbourne Steepleton, Winterbourne Abbas and Martinstown with underground cables.

Oxford Archaeology, a specialist contractor acting on National Grid’s behalf, will carry out the trial trenching at agreed locations across the proposed route of the underground cables.  All of the work is taking place on private land with the full permission of the landowners concerned.

This strategy was developed and the specific locations for excavation identified in consultation with the Dorset County Archaeologist, Dorset County Council’s archaeological advisors and Historic England.

Trial trenching is a method of investigation used to estimate the archaeological potential of a site.  The aim of the programme is to define the extent of known archaeological features and identify any previously unknown remains that could be impacted during the proposed construction works.

A mechanical excavator will be used to dig a small number of trenches, approximately 50m long, 1.6m wide and 0.5m deep.  The trenches will then be assessed by professional archaeologists for archaeological features or natural geographical deposits, which will be fully recorded.  No further excavation will take place at this stage.

The results of the trial trenching will be used to inform the planning application for National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project in Dorset, due to be submitted to West Dorset District Council in November 2017.

National Grid is committed to treating any finds made during the project works in accordance with the strict guidelines of Historic England and local experts.

If you would like more information, then please get in touch with the VIP project team on FREEPHONE 0330 134 0051 or by email at