Remains of a settlement dating back thousands of years have been uncovered during work to widen the M25 Juntion 10 intersection with the A3 near Wisley.

At least five roundhouses, the largest of which was about 10m (33ft) in diameter, were found just south of the A3. The settlement is believed to date from around 1,000 to 500 BC and the site contains evidence of post-medieval agricultural practices.

Jonathan Wade, project lead for the M25 Jct 10/A3 improvement scheme, said: “The  farmstead and artefacts we have unearthed near Painshill are hugely exciting and significant finds as it helps to further shape our understanding of what life in the region was like over this period in history. We can see how the site developed through different periods of time.” 

John Boothroyd, from Oxford Archaeology, said: ‘‘It’s great to find such an interesting site and a reminder that through modern progress we can gain fascinating insights into our past.’’

Since summer 2022, Balfour Beatty, which is constructing the new junction, has been working with Oxford Archaeology on a number of archaeological investigations as part of the scheme.   

The ancient dwellings are defined by ring ditches, which were found to overlap each other, exposing the longevity of the settlement.

The team also found re-cuts within a pair of parallel ditches that enclose the site, showing that the settlement was maintained over a prolonged period of time.  

Junction  10 of the M25 is one of the busiest in the region with over 300,000 vehicles passing through every day. 

Years of long queues and heavy congestion led to National Highways starting a £317-million upgrade aimed at reducing congestion, creating a smoother flow of traffic and provide safer journeys for thousands of motorists travelling between Surrey and London. 

The area is also used by people travelling by road to and from Gatwick Airport.     

As a part of the scheme, National Highways will restore an area the size of 47 football pitches of heathland at Wisley and Ockham commons, aiming to help to bring the area back to life with long-term benefits to rare and unusual wildlife.