An ancient Roman villa has been re-discovered on a nature reserve in west Dorset.

A dig was carried out by experts from Bournemouth University this summer on Dorset Wildlife Trust’s (DWT) Nunnery Mead nature reserve, Frampton, where the Roman villa was known to exist.

Thought to be destroyed in the mid-19th Century, the team were ‘delighted’ to find a well-preserved site. 

Dr Miles Russell, senior lecturer in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology at the university, said: “The opportunity to survey, record and better understand the Roman villa at Nunnery Mead was one we couldn’t miss, given that the building was thought to have been destroyed in the mid-19th century. “Working with the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Historic England - as the site is a protected scheduled ancient monument - and the team at the BBC’s Digging for Britain was a unique experience and the results, finding well-preserved walls and areas of surviving mosaic, were truly exceptional.

"We very much look forward to working in future partnership with the Dorset Wildlife Trust in order to obtain a more complete understanding of this exciting and nationally important site.”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

The roman villa mosaic at Nunnery Mead        Picture: Rob Brunt

DWT’s land manager, Rob Brunt said, “It was really incredible to see the mosaic paving and it was such a relief to discover that so much was still there under our feet. We really enjoyed working with Miles and the team and would welcome them back anytime.”

Alongside Nunnery Mead having some of the richest mosaics in Britain, it is also the site of a medieval settlement and is rich with wildlife.

The results of the dig were shown on the Digging for Britain series on BBC4 last night at 9pm.