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A history of the Antonine Wall and a guide to the surviving remains of Rome’s Northernmost Frontier

Bar Hill to Kirkintilloch

Bar Hill


Once you have finished exploring Bar Hill head to the opposite end to the hillfort. The line of the Wall continued across the field heading towards the vicinity of the canal bridge at Twechar. The footpath down takes a slightly more circular route leading you down to Main Street - turn right and head towards the canal.

Travel and Parking

Continue to 'Kirkintilloch'

Key:

Known Fort Location (No Visible Remains)

Fort (Visible Remains)

Other visible remains

Bar Hill Roman Fort


Head down from the summit of the Hillfort towards Bar Hill Fort which lies within the wood ahead. The remains of the Headquarters and Bath House are visible. Uniquely on the frontier, the fort was set back from the Wall itself; the Military Road that ran the length of the frontier ran between it and the fort. The modified positioning enabled the Headquarters to be built on the summit and this may well have been the defining influence.


Bar Hill was occupied for the entire duration of the Antonine Wall. The first garrison was the First Cohort of Hamian Bowmen (cohors I Primae Hamiorum Saggitariorum), a unit that traditionally recruited in Syria, who had been moved north from Carvoran Fort on Hadrian’s Wall. By the late AD 150s they had been returned to Carvoran and their replacements were the First cohort of Baetasians (cohors I Baetasiorum quingenaria peditata civium Romanorum ob virtutem et fidem). This Regiment, raised in Germany, had earned Roman citizenship for “valour and loyalty” and had previously been based at Old Kilpatrick on the western terminus of the Antonine Wall.

This section of the Wall comprises of a footpath to Twechar and then a walk along the Forth to Clyde Canal towpath. Parking is available at Croy, Twechar and Kirkintilloch.

Getting There

Towards Bar Hill


Head up the sign-posted farm track accessed from Howe Road. The Line of the Wall ran adjacent in the field to your right (trace earthworks are visible especially near the junction with the main road).

This article details the line of the Antonine Wall from the site of Bar Hill, through Twechar and onto the site of the fort at Kirkintilloch. The approach to Bar Hill and the fort itself are fantastic but thereafter virtually all traces of the Wall and its components are lost.

Twechar


Head north along Main Street (towards the canal) to intersect with the line of the Wall. As you approach the canal bridge you will see a segment of ditch on your right. At this point the Wall adjusted its course to one running parallel along the south bank of the Forth and Clyde Canal. There are footpaths on both sides so you can follow either way.

Towards Bar Hill

Looking back towards Croy Hill

Forts and Fortlets

Barh Hill Roman Fort:

(Headquarters and Bath House visible)

Lat/Long:  55.958789N 4.071955W

Grid Ref:   NS 7074475913

Postcode: N/A

Auchendavy Roman Fort:

(Site of - no visible remains)

Lat/Long:  55.949271N 4.119979W

Grid Ref:   NS 6771474945

Postcode: G66 1RU

Ditch and Hillfort


The track continues taking a gentle approach to Bar Hill Fort but, if you follow it, you will miss a fantastic section of ditch and an Iron Age hillfort the defences of which the Romans re-used integrating them into the Wall. Accordingly follow the sign-posted footpath shown above.

Ditch approach Bar Hill

The Headquarters

The Bath House

Line of the Wall followed treeline on the right heading towards the canal

Divergence


Around 500 metres after the canal bridge the B8023 and the canal, which up to now had been running parallel, diverge. Unfortunately the line of the Wall followed the former which is a high speed road with no footpaths and inadequate verges. A number of steps up from the canal tow path (on the northern side) allow a fairly scenic view of where the Wall goes but following on foot is not advisable. Instead continue following the canal towpath - you’ll rejoin the line of the Wall in around 1000 metres.

Site of Auchendavy Roman Fort

Site of Auchendavy Roman Fort

Convergence


The line of the Wall and the canal re-align their paths shortly after the site of Auchendavy fort although nothing is visible. The Wall ran on the site of the current south bank of the canal. Follow the towpath until Kirkintilloch.

Line of Wall - left hand side

Wall ran behind this church

Climb to Bar Hill

Right to the Wall!

The defences of an existing Hillfort were incorporated into the Wall

View to the north

Footpath to Twechar...

...which exits here

Segment of ditch near canal bridge

Segment of ditch

Twechar Canal Bridge

Line of Wall (on left hand canal bank)

Looking back to Bar Hill

The view north

Wall went straight on here

Line of the Wall towards Auchendavy

Auchendavy Roman Fort


The site of Auchendavy Fort is found just to the north of the Forth to Clyde canal straddling the modern road. It enclosed 2.7 acres and very slight traces of the outline can still be seen as earthworks. Based on its location - 8 miles west of Castlecary and 7 miles east of Balmuildy, some historians moot that Auchendavy was a primary fort intended to be part of the frontier from the initial concept. Whilst the spacing supports this, it is more likely the superbly sighted Bar Hill was chosen instead. The larger size, the fact it was detached from the Wall and the multiple garrisons known at the latter supports this analysis. By contrast the garrison at Auchindavy is unknown although, based on archaeological finds, it seems it was at one stage comprised of troops drawn from the Second Augustan Legion (Legio II Augusta).

Line of Wall - left hand side

Another Grahamsdyke Road

Kirkintilloch


As you approach Kirkintilloch the line of the canal swings south which means you’re still on the line of the Wall when you access the bridge to take you into the town. If you go left you’ll find Grahamsdyke Road - a corruption on the English title Grimes (meaning Devil's) Dyke as the Wall was known to the local populace due to its vast scale. However, as you exit the canal towpath, look to your right and you will see a spire/clock tower in the distance. That is in proximity to the Auld Kirk Museum and the site of the next fort in the line. Head towards it following Eastside and High Street to Peel Park.

Auld Kirk Museum

Line of Wall

Line of Wall


LAT/LONG

OS GRID REF

POSTCODE

Bar Hill Access

55.961238N 4.047345W

NS 7228976140

G65 9JF

Bar Hill Fort

55.958789N 4.071955W

NS 7074475913

N/A

Auchendavy Fort (Site of)

55.949271N 4.119979W

NS 6771474945

G66 1RU

Kirkintilloch Fort (Site of)

55.940110N 4.161642W

NS 6508174006

Peel Park,

G66 1DW

Kirkintilloch Roman Fort:

(Site of - no visible remains)

Lat/Long:  55.940110N 4.161642W

Grid Ref:   NS 6508174006

Postcode: Peel Park, G66 1DW

Distance Slabs

Auchendavy

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP CAESARI T AELIO HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG PIO P P VEXILLATIO LEG XX VAL VIC F PER MIL P III


"For Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, a detachment of the Twentieth Valiant and Victorious Legion built [this] over a distance of 3000 paces."


Found near Auchendavy Roman Fort, East Dunbartonshire

Visit the Antonine Wall

Carriden to MumrillsMumrills to RoughRough to CastlecaryCastlecary to WesterwoodWesterwood to Bar HillBar Hill to KirkintillochKirkintilloch to CadderCadder to BearsdenBearsden to CastlehillCastlehill to Old KilpatrickBeyond the Wall

Visit the Antonine Wall