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Prehistoric Trackways

In 1873 the first of the prehistoric trackways were discovered. Running from Westhay to Burtle it was called the Abbots Way since it was thought that the Abbot of Glastonbury had ordered it made. Since then, better dating methods have shown it to be neolithic and of an age circa 2800 BC. It consists of alder branches meshed together to form a walkway.

There are over 40 of these tracks and the oldest of them are known as the Sweet Track and the Post Track which have been dated to 3806 BC using a method of counting tree rings called dendrochronology. The Post Track is one of the oldest trackways in the UK and runs from Westhay going South toward the Polden Hills.

There is a modern reconstruction of it along part of its original course on the Shapwick Heath nature reserve. Another significant trackway is the Meare Heath track which runs from Meare heading South which is bronze age dating circa 1800 BC.

Five dugout canoes have been uncovered from the peat of which four survive and it is possible to visit some of them in either the Museum of Somerset in Taunton or the Tribunal in Glastonbury.

 
Reconstruction

Reconstruction

 
Shapwick Canoe

Shapwick Canoe