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Milton Ernest Before 1086

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway. The record mentions several ring ditches in the parish. These are usually thought to be the remains of round barrows and so date to the Bronze Age.

One of these sits on a gravel terrace in the C-curve of the River Great Ouse west of Radwell Road and was visible on one aerial photograph, though not on other subsequent photographs [HER 733]. Another ring ditch may lie just north of the section of the river in the middle of the area it performs an S-curve and west of the railway line [HER 751], again it is visible on some aerial photographs and not on others. two more possible, incomplete, ring ditches lie just to the west of the last [HER 13965].

There is a large rectangular enclosure showing as a crop mark just north of the wind tunnel site of the former Royal Aircraft Establishment. It lies in an area of former open fields and so is unlikely to be any medieval enclosure and no enclosure is traceable at this point in post medieval maps, leading to the conclusion that it may well be a prehistoric enclosure, though without excavation no period can be ascribed to it [HER 16583].

There are a number of Iron Age sites in the parish. One of these is an collection of small irregular enclosures in an area from which slag, from iron working, and Iron Age pottery have been found when field walking [HER 913]. The site is north of Little Oakley Wood and south-west of Yarlswood. Another Iron Age site highlighted by field walking [HER 911] lies south-east of Wigney Wood on the east side of Thurleigh.

There is a site [HER 8549] in the C-bow of the river Great Ouse opposite the junction of Radwell Road with New Road which may be Iron Age, or Romano-British, or both. It comprises a ring ditch within a rectangular enclosure, lies on a gravel terrace and is visible on aerial photographs. Some indistinct crop marks north of Thurleigh Road and east of the A6 seem to show a large rectangular enclosure "which may be Roman but this is unproven". A potential Roman occupation site has been identified just east of the railway line on the south bank of the river in the north of the parish [HER 906] where field walking has turned up Romano-British material.