Lepe, Hampshire

Lepe contains a varied selection of archaeology and the extent of this is still relatively unknown. It therefore presents itself as a perfect place for further investigation. 

At this site we can learn about 500,000 years of history and the effects that fluctuations from very cold periods (glaciations) to warm periods (inter-glacials) has on our landscape.

We can also investigate the human story of Lepe and how this place has been utilised in some way for over 5000 years. Earliest evidence of occupation and use of this site dates to the Neolithic, the early farmers, with a series of pits containing burnt flint and charcoal. We then move on to the Romans, what were they doing at Lepe? In truth, this is still under debate but what we do know is that there is a a Roman Road, summarised by Ivan Margery (1973), running down the west side of the Solent to Lepe. Evidence of occupation all along this road has been found and at Lepe a Roman industrial site was identified during the laying of a Hampshire to Isle of Wight pipeline. Evidence of settlement at the industrial site was limited which may suggest that the settlement for those working at the site is yet to be identified. The road leading down to Lepe also presents itself with many questions regarding its purpose. Many have proposed the idea of a port which connects the Isle of Wight to the mainland at one of the best crossing points. 

Recording the remains of structures involved with D-Day preparations at Lepe
Recording the remains of structures involved with D-Day preparations at Lepe

In more recent history, Lepe played a massive part in the preparations for D-Day and PLUTO (Pipe-Line Under The Ocean). The involvement of Lepe with D-Day provides some of the most well known archaeology of Lepe. The embarkation hards and associated buildings constructed at Stone Point and Stanswood bay provided temporary structures to house, manage and transport troops and machinery to Gold Beach in Normandy (central beach of five targeted during the D-Day operations). PLUTO, code named Operation Neptune, was the allied response to the challenge of supplying allied forces in Europe with oil and petrol to continue to the invasion. Lepe was the location that this essential infrastructure left mainland England.