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Roman Circus Management Plan

Share your views on plans for the management of Colchester's Roman Circus over the next five years.


  • About the Roman Circus Management Plan
  • How to leave your comments

The Colchester Roman Circus is a unique archaeological monument in Britain.

The buried archaeological remains of a Roman Circus or chariot racing track were identified during archaeological investigations in advance of the redevelopment of the former Colchester Garrison in 2004/5. Chariot racing was the oldest and most popular sport in the Roman world and the Colchester Circus is the only example in the country and it is one of only six locations in the northwest provinces of the Roman Empire where circuses have been securely identified. The Roman Circus was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 2007.

The Circus is located c.450m to the south of Colchester town centre and is orientated on an east / west alignment between the garden of the former Officers Quarters, north of Le Cateau Road and the grounds of Flagstaff House on Napier Road (now Nero Court, Arena Place). The overall size of the Circus c.450m in length (E to W), which is within the average size range (normally 350-500m long) for Circuses across the Roman Empire. The Circus is however unusually narrow at c.71-74m in width (N to S). The Circus had an estimated seating capacity of c.8,000; this compares to a possible population of c.5,000-10,000 for the town as a whole at its peak in the mid 2nd to mid 3rd centuries AD. The building, i.e. the above-ground structure, is poorly preserved and there are no upstanding original walls or earthworks (which is the reason why the Circus was previously unknown). All that survives of its walls are foundations and these were extensively robbed out in the medieval period; in many places, robber trenches mark the position of the wall foundations.

Purpose of the Management Plan

The purpose of the Management Plan is to set out an overarching strategy for the management of the Roman Circus and to define the roles and responsibilities of the Council and other stakeholders. The Plan sets out a framework for the conservation, enhancement, interpretation, presentation and celebration of the Colchester Roman Circus for the next five years. The Plan is intended to be a dynamic document and the actions may be adapted in response to changes in management context over the life of the plan. It is proposed that each year an action plan is developed that outlines the actions that are to be delivered over the forthcoming year by the relevant partners. It is intended to adopt the Roman Circus Management Plan as a Supplementary Planning Guidance document.

Comment on this consultation

You are invited to help shape how the management of this important asset is undertaken by commenting on the draft Roman Circus Management Plan.

Comments should be emailed to

This consultation by Colchester Borough Council runs from 8 February 2021 and closes on 8 March 2021.

Draft Roman Circus Management Plan (PDF, 737KB)

Roman Circus Management Plan Figures (PDF, 3.94MB)

Draft Roman Circus Management Plan (PDF, 5.77MB)

Roman Circus Management Plan Appendix (PDF, 733KB)

Roman Circus Management Plan Appendix Plan (PDF, 664KB)


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