In 2014 Oakford Archaeology was commissioned to undertake a staged programme of archaeological work, consisting of a desk-based assessment, geophysical survey and evaluation at Wessex Close, Topsham.
The desk-based assessment highlighted that the site was located in an area of intense prehistoric and Roman activity, while the geophysical survey identified a number of linear and discrete anomalies.
The subsequent evaluation established evidence for Romano-British activity from the late 1st century and continuing perhaps into the 4th century AD. The presence of pits and postholes along the northeastern edge of the site, and the general presence of Roman building material such as tile and stone, indicates that the main focus of occupation is likely to extend beyond the site to the north, along the Roman Road frontage.
In addition elements of a metalled post-medieval track or driveway with flanking ditches were exposed, possibly contemporary with the development of sugar refining activity and perhaps of the Retreat House itself in the late 17th century, prior to the re-alignment of the driveway by 1796.