Vespasian then led a campaign to the south-west in which he is said to have fought 30 battles and captured over 20 hillforts on the way to Exeter, which he besieged for eight days before it fell in 49 AD.
After this, there was no further resistance from the local Dumnonii and it has been suggested that they may have had a treaty with the Romans.
Some 4th century pottery has also been recently found in Combe Martin and some tracks to the east of the main road, previously thought to be drovers tracks, are thought to have been deep strip mines that may have been in use in the Roman period (6).
The Romans first came to Britain with an army in 55 BC and again in 54 BC, led by Julius Caesar, but they returned to Europe to occupy Gaul.
Almost a hundred years later, in 43 AD, during the reign of Claudius, they came to Britain again and this time they secured the south-east of England in four years.
Recent excavations at Brayford and Sherracombe have found considerable evidence of Roman-British iron smelting in what may be one of the biggest Roman industrial sites in Britain.
Apart from what probably represents hundreds of tons of slag waste, a coin from the 3rd century was found and a large number of Roman pottery shards, indicating that north Devon was an important part of the Roman economy.
By local tradition Watermouth Castle was built on top of a Roman fort; there was a Roman encampment on the southern slope of Hillsborough and there was a Roman cottage, now submerged, in Samsons Bay (4).
None of these claims are at all likely, but a fragment of Roman sculpture has been found in Ilfracombe, and Roman coins are said to have been found at Watermouth Cove (5).
They are thought to have been serviced from the sea.
No Roman roads are yet known in north Devon (below left); but it has been suggested that they may have been made of brushwood on clay, rather than stone, which would leave almost no trace (3).