Lexden Earthworks and Bluebottle Grove

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When it comes to Colchester, its history is often seen through red and gold glasses.

But really that comes as no big surprise when you discover it was once the capital of Roman Britain.

Flowing capes and shining helmets aren’t the only history that flows through the streets of Colchester.

Head to Lexden Earthworks and Bluebottle Grove to discover a time before gladiators and talks of empires turned up.

A different side of Colchester’s history

The earthworks are so engrained in nature, it'd be easy to pass them by with a curious glance, never to think of them again.

But the moment you discover the history and origins of the earthworks, that soon changes.

Trees which grow out of the rising banks look ancient, but really the earth below was moulded and shaped way before they were even close to shooting their first leaves.

They date back to the late Iron Age period, around the 1st-century BC and were likely constructed by tribes who lived in the area.

When time goes back that far though, facts are hard to come by.

Who built them and for exactly what reason is still a big old mystery.

Paths to get lost down

Follow Gryme’s Dyke which once stood as the outer rampart of the earthworks, stretching all the way from the Roman River to the River Colne.

The dyke dips and rises, in some places looming above you like a giant wall and at others barely reaching waist height.

What a difference 2000 years makes

Bluebottle Grove was the southern defence of the earthworks which in total covered an astonishing 12-square-miles.

But luckily you don’t have to worry about Roman chariots or fighting clansmen charging at you anymore, which gives you plenty of time to explore Lexden Park nearby.

Access is separate to both earthworks. Make your way down Straight Road to its junction with Garden Drive to get to Lexden. To get to Bluebottle Grove, park up on Magazine Farm Way and head northeast where you’ll find a small path which cuts through the houses.

The countdown to your return

A trip to Colchester isn’t just for discovering its Roman history - all you have to do is look that little further and soon you’ll be headed into a time even before then.

There are so many intriguing things in Colchester to see, to get everything you want done in a day is a stretch.

But we think that just gives you a wonderful reason to come back. If you needed one in the first place that is.

Lexden Park,
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