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The Way We Were by John Taylor: Gods and sandals

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Between 1956 and 1962 a great deal of excavation work was carried out for sand an gravel in the riverside meadows of Emberton.

When the workings were eventually exhausted the remaining pits and spoil heaps were left to scar the countryside, until in 1956 Newport Pagnell Rural District Council purchased the area with a plan to make it into an outdoor leisure amenity.

This new country park opened at Whitsun in 1956, with a series of ongoing improvements following and responsibility for the site eventually passing to the new city borough.

In recent years a great deal of archaeological investigation has taken place in the park, and one of the initial discoveries was a collection of sooty-looking stones.

They were first thought to have been part of a fireplace, but on closer inspection the surface deposit was found to consist of decomposed algae which showed that the stones had been used to build a well.

Many other wells were subsequently found, along with associated items such as earthenware post, the remains of a leather sandal, cattle bones, and a limestone carving of the Roman god Mercury patron of merchants.

Some of these were sent to the County Museum, and the building evidence suggested that this had once been a Romano-British encampment. This was suppoered by the course of an old Roman road, which had once passed through the village.

Covering 175 acres, and including four lakes and a mile of river frontage, the facility is today a popular venue for all sorts of leisure and recreational pursuits. A manmade rock-climbing facility was opened severla years ago by a famous mountaineer.

 

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