The Estuary

Footprints in the Sand

These remarkable footprints are believed to be form a Mesolithic human adult walking across a valley once situated where the estuary is today. This moment in time, captured 6,000 years ago and preserved in the silt and mud, represents the start of a fascinating heritage of man and the estuary, and how they have shaped each other’s destinies.

Estuary timeline – click on the links to find out more about what was happening on the estuary at this time.

Mesolithic 5,000 BC

Hunter-gatherers roam the estuary
Goldcliff footprints laid down

Neolithic 4,000 BC

Small scale farming
Wooden trackways in Somerset built
"God Dolly" made

Bronze Age 1,000 BC Larger settlements
Landing stage at Caldicot
Iron Age 400 BC Grazing animals
Huts at Goldcliff
Roman rule AD 50-400 Start of land draining to create grazing and agriculture on Somerset and Gwent levels
Medieval AD 1000-1500

Extensive land draining by monastries and landlords.
Rise in prominance of ports such as Bristol
Fish traps, Newport ship

Industrial AD 1600-Present

Age of exploration and industrialization
Coal and Timber shipped all over the world
Modern cities and links - e.g. Severn tunnels and bridges

Future Future

Climate change?
Sea level rises?
Increasing pressure on estuary?
Renewable energy?

Link to Severn Estuary Who's Who - Culture and Achaeology